I'd like to discuss a delicate subject with you today. It's delicate because I'm going to try to build a case for challenging one of the few perpetual guilt trips we are placed on from almost the moment we speak our first word until we inhale our dying breath. Here it is:
Giving donations to various charities. Making large capital contributions to churches, hospitals, libraries, colleges and on and on. Giving our kids and grandchildren chunks of money "because I want to be here to see them enjoy it."
And those fund raisers learned our hot button years ago: Suggesting that our benevolence to them will be a memorial to a deceased love one, and that donation will be memorialized by a plaque on the wall or their name put on the front of a building.
None of this is a bad thing. In fact it's all a good thing. The error is making those contributions during our lifetimes. And the same goes for giving chunks of money to our children and grandchildren. Making those donations without knowing how our personal financial cards are going to be dealt us during the remainder of our lives is, quite frankly, irresponsible.
Because if we come on hard time, whatever they may be or their cause, those foundations and charities are not going to step in and help us. They aren't going to even give us our donations back. We're sunk and they are looking for new people to offer memorial plaques to.
So really it seems to me that it is somewhat irresponsible on our part to gamble our financial futures by making significant donations while we are alive.
Instead, perhaps the best idea would be to set up a special bank account. Every time we want to make a consequential donation to a charity, a school, library or hospital, put that donation in the special bank account. Let the money accumulate.
And then in our wills, by annual codicil, specifically enumerate precisely how that money is to be doled out at our death.
You see this is a far more responsible approach. The charities are never not going to need your money, so whether you give it to them today or at someday in the future doesn't really matter.
But should you come onto financial hard times before your death, you'll have a second chance. You can reallocate what you had planned to give away. It'll help you get over the hump, hopefully without having to depend on your children and relatives, become a charity case yourself or a ward of some government program.
Make modest donations throughout the year. Save the big ones for after you have passed away. That's my advice.
Does this advice include tithing? Of course not. God ordered us to tithe and that's exactly what we should do.
BILL CHERRY, REALTORS
Our 44th Year Selling America