As we enter the holiday season and reflect warmly on our memories of Thanksgiving, many of us are feeling lucky and grateful for the blessings in our lives.
Soon we’ll get into the bustle of buying gifts, sending out cards and taking part in other cherished seasonal traditions. And, although we don’t mean to, sometimes our sincere intentions of sharing our time and financial abundance with those who are less fortunate get pushed off to the side.
But today, we have a special opportunity to put philanthropy and generosity front and center in our minds. GivingTuesday, held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a worldwide day of giving that encourages individuals, communities and organizations to improve their local communities by supporting their favorite charities and causes in meaningful ways.
Although there are no special tax benefits to investors for donating on this particular day, there are some general strategies that investors can utilize so that any donations they make today — or any day, for that matter — will have the greatest impact.
1| Investors who have capital gains on stocks or other appreciated assets should consider donating those assets directly to a charitable organization. If you donate appreciated assets that you’ve held for more than a year, you can avoid paying taxes on the gains that would be due if you sold the assets yourself and donated the proceeds. In addition, you can take a charitable deduction for the assets’ fair market value on the day of your donation.
2| Retired individuals or couples who have money in traditional IRAs can take advantage of qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) for their charitable giving. Using a QCD, an investor who is age 70 ½ or older can give up to $100,000 a year to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization directly out of their IRA. Donations can fulfill the donor’s yearly required minimum IRA distribution without counting as adjusted gross income for tax purposes. The money goes directly to the charity of the donor’s choice, allowing them to receive the full amount without anything being taken out for taxes.
3| Although the process can’t be done overnight, charitably minded investors can open a donor-advised fund (DAF) through a local community foundation or other sponsoring organization. Donors can fund their DAF with cash or other assets (starting with as little as $5,000), then decide when the money is distributed and to which charities. Although the donor does relinquish control of the money permanently and can’t decide to take it back, they do receive a tax write-off for the assets right away, even if they haven’t chosen a recipient yet.
At Argent, we work to foster an attitude of generosity both as a company and among our individual employees all year long. We’re proud of our efforts to create the Lincoln Parish Fund of the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, a donor-advised fund that was used to aid area residents affected by a devastating 2019 tornado in Ruston, Louisiana, where Argent’s corporate offices are located. The fund also helped pay for an effort this year by the Dallas-based nonprofit RETREET to replace more than 2,000 trees lost in the storm. More than 150 Argent volunteers joined RETREET members and others in Ruston to plant 171 trees across some of the town’s hardest-hit areas.
GivingTuesday comes just once a year, but as we celebrate the joy of this season, we encourage everyone to adopt a mindset of generosity not just today, but in our daily lives. There are countless ways to help those around us that go beyond making financial contributions — making meals for the homebound, babysitting for a friend, running errands for an elderly neighbor. Let’s use today as an excuse to be outwardly focused, to take stock of how fortunate we are and give back however we can.
Take the next step:
If you’d like to discuss in more detail the charitable-giving options available to you, contact your Argent Relationship Manager, or give one of us a call via our main number at (800) 375-4646. We look forward to hearing from you.