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Centennial Giving

When Giving is a Win-Win Proposition
by Susan Bondy ’70

You are considering how much to give to your beloved alma mater, the school that helped shape you and opened so many doors, but…There are always buts.

But I don’t have the cash right now.
But I might need the money for retirement.
But I need income for today.

But, but, but…

But, you might be surprised to know that there are many ways to give which take your own needs into consideration – tailor made to your specific needs – needs for income, for tax-deductions, retirement expenses, and estate planning benefits.

Ok, so how exactly does that work? Let’s look at but a few great ways to win, because this is truly a win-win situation.

Forget for a moment the great pleasure you will get from giving back to the College you love. Let’s concentrate on the financial benefits to you.

OK, so let’s assume you want to make a donation to a really good cause – like Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ new capital campaign. Of course, you can write the Colleges a check for say $25,000, and they will certainly appreciate that gift and put it to good use.

But here are a few other ways to give:

1. If you don’t have cash right now:

  1. Give appreciated securities – Look at your portfolio. Do you have any stocks which have appreciated from when you bought them? (If not, consider changing money managers).  If yes, you can donate the securities themselves, get a tax deduction for the entire current market value of the stocks, and save the capital appreciation tax as well as the transaction commission.
  2. Bequest upon death. You can include the colleges in your will or trust, by designating a specific amount or a percentage of the estate.  Beyond $2 million estate taxes are confiscatory and their impact can rival the worst down markets in history.

2. If you need income:

  1. If you or a second person needs income right now then a Charitable Gift Annuity or a Charitable Remainder Trust may be gift options for you.
  2. If you or a second person needs income at a future date then a Deferred Charitable Gift Annuity or a Charitable Lead Trust may be for you.
  3. Another life-income gift option which provides income for yourself and your beneficiaries is a gift to the Colleges’ pooled income fund which allows you to receive a variable rate of income.

3.  Life insurance can be used as a gift. You may wish to make the Colleges the beneficiary (or a contingent beneficiary) of a life insurance policy. While you may retain lifetime ownership of the policy, keeping the right to cash it in, borrow against it, and change the beneficiary, you may also wish to make the Colleges the owner of a fully paid insurance policy and receive a charitable gift deduction. Life insurance can be a great and simple way to support the Colleges.

This is the time to step up to the plate literally – no ifs ands or buts.

It’s like the Minister who said to his congregation:

“The bad news is the church roof is leaking.
The good news is we have the money to fix it.
The bad news is the money is in your pockets”

To that I would add: The good news is that Hobart and William Smith Colleges have developed an outstanding website which is easy to navigate and easier yet to use. It also describes all the tools available to fit your specific situation.

The Campaign for the Colleges has just been announced.  The needs are many, but the cause well worth it. So give generously and give wisely.

Some say there are no free lunches, but, for sure, there are win-win situations.

Susan Bondy opened the financial world to women. Through her nationally syndicated column "Bondy on Money," she shared down-to-earth financial advice and humor with a readership exceeding 20 million people. Her column appeared in more than 600 newspapers from 1981-2004.  She gained her knowledge by working as an investment analyst for some of the world's most prominent firms.

Bondy began her Wall Street career in 1970 at Manufacturers Hanover Trust. By 1980, she worked at A.G. Becker where her client base consisted of 37 corporations whose combined retirement assets exceeded $43 billion. That same year, she founded Bondy Financial Services Corp., a firm devoted to helping individuals gain control of their own finances.

Bondy has given financial advice and commentary on more than 200 television shows, including numerous appearances on Good Morning America and the Today Show. She has been a guest of more than 300 radio shows, and for a time gave a weekly commentary on NPR's "All Things Considered."

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