WT Blog

Money: How Much Do I Really Need? by Greg Hammond, CFP, CPA

January 13, 2014 0 comments Finances, Financial Freedom

Many people could easily write big checks, but something holds them back. Most of our clients are age 60 and over and have a net worth generally in the range of one million to thirty million dollars. They could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more than they spend now, but they can’t bring themselves to do it.  When shown that they have excess wealth, they might travel more or perhaps buy a second home, but they’re not likely to do a whole lot more than that. It is just not who they are.

Ask yourself this:  How much do I really need for what I’m going to do? Is my goal to see how much money I can pile up? Or do I want to leave my mark on how it is spent, on what my money can do?

Here’s the truth about legacy planning and philanthropy: Including a charity or nonprofit in your planning does not have to mean that you will leave less to your family. One does not need to exclude the other. It can be done through alternative methods that are quite legitimate.  It is just not the traditional way that most people plan.

By taking advantage of incentives that are in place – and that aren’t typically employed in traditional planning – you can leverage your money for what you care about. Most people don’t know about these strategies. For example, most people don’t know that at the federal level you can zero out your estate taxes. How? By diverting what would have gone to the government to your chosen causes and organizations. It is a zero sum game: What the federal government loses in taxes, nonprofits gain in legacy-creating contributions.

Let’s emphasize again:  Your philanthropy can be voluntary, or it can be involuntary. The government is a kind of quasi-charity. It is a social organization. Through taxes, your money is going into the social capital funnel. In our experience, most families don’t want their hard-earned savings to go there. It is not because they’re unpatriotic – they just don’t think government programs and spending is the most efficient way to get their money to where they believe it is needed the most. They want to maintain control of the impact they have with their wealth.

Why, then, don’t people do more, if these methods are legitimate and well within their grasp? Often it is as simple as this: Most people are under the misconception that every dollar left to charity is a dollar less that their family will receive. They see all their goods and assets as if they were part of a pie, and if somebody else gets a slice of that pie, the other portions will be smaller.

It doesn’t work that way. Through a variety of strategies – financial, legal, tax, and leveraging techniques – we can make the pie and its slices bigger.  That is the virtue of the comprehensive strategy we call Life & Legacy Planning. Just one slice of the bigger pie can actually feed more people than the entire smaller pie.

Your children or beneficiaries don’t have to end up with less. Quite frankly, through proper planning, they often can end up with more, if that is what you want. When people come to understand that providing for charitable causes does not require them to shortchange their heirs at all, they feel a new freedom to reach out with a helping hand.

-excerpt from chapter 4 

You Can Do More That MattersDownload a FREE chapter of the book at www.domorethatmatters.com 

Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA is a wealth impact strategist who works with individuals, families, closely‐held and family‐owned businesses, helping them grow and preserve wealth, plan for retirement and  manage their charitable giving. You can reach Greg at 1-800-416-1655 or info@hammondiles.com  for financially intelligent guidance or a Wealth Impact Assessment to show how you can build a legacy of your values, influence, and money without sacrificing your own lifetime goals and objectives. www.hammondiles.com


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Greg Hammond
Greg Hammond is passionate about helping people make a greater impact in their lives, their families, and in their communities. Using his remarkable range of experience, Greg helps individuals establish what’s most important, then set and pursue goals toward preserving and growing their wealth. He believes everyone should have a chance to “do and achieve what matters most.” As a wealth advisor, Greg has counseled hundreds of individuals, families, and business owners on developing strategies for investments, intergenerational wealth transfer, building a legacy, reducing taxes, protecting the value of their estates, and charitable planning. A sought-after charitable giving and financial educator, consultant and speaker, Greg has been in financial management for more than 20 years. He is frequently interviewed by the media; recently by the Wall Street Journal for “Earning Income While Making a Gift” and the Hartford Business Journal Nonprofit Notebook for “Planned Giving.” Greg co-hosted the radio show, “Planning for Tomorrow” on WTIC News Talk 1080AM covering topics such as creating lifetime income, charitable use of life insurance, and philanthropic planning. He has been interviewed on WTIC AM news, published a special report on nonprofit challenges, and regularly speaks on “Building a Legacy” at national and regional conferences, estate planning councils, religious and nonprofit organizations. A graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in Accounting, Greg is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and Certified Public Accountant. Greg is also a certified True Wealth Consultant, a member of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP), The Planned Giving Group of Connecticut (PGGCT), The Financial Planning Association (FPA), Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP). Greg’s commitment to making a difference has guided him to participate in Habitat for Humanity and to lead groups on mission trips in the United States and Mexico. Greg contributes to his local community as a board member for PGGCT, Treasurer for Westminster Presbyterian Church and Advisory Board member for The Connecticut Forum. Greg and his business partner, Scott Iles, sponsor many annual fundraising events for nonprofit organizations including a golf tournament to benefit ALS and fundraising for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. A published author, Greg lives in West Hartford, CT with his wife Karen and their two daughters. Greg enjoys research and writing, tennis and a challenging game of golf when he is not at the office or enjoying time with his family.

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