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The Signatry BlogConversations from our thought leaders
3 Ways to Get Your Clients Talking About Legacy
We are on the verge of a generational wealth transfer that holds immense implications. Experts forecast anywhere from $30 trillion and above will be passed on to next generations over the next 30 years as the Baby Boomer generation ages. However, nearly 60% of Americans do not have estate plan documents in place. Regardless of age, many still believe estate planning is a process which comes later on in life. You can encourage your clients to have a future-focused mindset and to start thinking about the legacy they want to leave today. Estate planning is a big step, but you can help your clients move towards a perspective that will impact future generations. Below are 3 tips you can pass on to your clients to help them start thinking about estate planning. Communicate your values The first steps of estate planning are building relationships and teaching your children about the values and causes you hold dear. Inheritance without a relationship is not a legacy. For more tips on starting the conversation with your family, check out our post 5 Generosity Conversation Starters For Your Family. Where can you alleviate stress? Consider the areas of stress you would like to relieve for your family when they undergo the changes after your passing. What are the keys they need to have in place? Setting up an estate plan now will take care of your loved ones financially and help eliminate additional emotional stress when you are gone. A thorough estate plan includes wills, trusts, power of attorney, and guardianship for your dependents. Include charitable giving Giving can play a strategic role in your estate plan. There are multiple solutions available which allow you to support the charities you love long after you are gone. One such solution is the “child called charity” approach where you can add an additional equal share in your estate plan. For example, if you have 4 children in your estate plan, adding a fifth “child” designated for charity increases the amount you are able to give to charities. Therefore, the estate would be split 5 ways instead of 4. Creating an estate plan is an excellent opportunity for your clients to impart their beliefs and principles of generosity to future generations. Ease the tension by communicating to your clients that estate planning not only takes care of their loved ones, but also can be used as a vehicle for furthering kingdom minded work through charitable giving.Read More
The Power of Family Celebration
One of my favorite things about this time of the year is the coming together of family. No matter how young or old, the beauty is in being together. Every family is unique, each with its own rhythm and different dynamics, but sometimes we can tend to focus on our differences more than what unifies us. As you begin the new year, I encourage you to consider how the current generations in your family can unite and learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives. Moving past surface differences begins with learning to listen. When we listen, we often fixate on…Read More
Creating a Culture of Development
Develop: advance, establish, flourish, expand, grow, progress. When you think about the development role, those might be the idealistic synonyms that come to mind. However, more often than not, we think about development as bringing in money, knocking on doors, sales tactics, and not as a holistic concept with a heart for flourishing. By instilling a culture of development throughout your entire organization, rather than just an isolated role, it begins to shift perspective. Your customer service experience, the way your staff talks about their job to their friends, and inter-office communication are just a few pieces which shape your culture and its development potential. To challenge your mindset or to evaluate where your organization is at, consider these questions: How equipped is your staff to talk about the initiatives you are working on? By keeping all staff informed, you speak value to them, and you build a core base of advocates to promote your work. Suddenly, your reach is expanded beyond just a designated development officer. Even a casual conversation with an entry-level staff member has the opportunity to open doors with new donors. On a larger scale, your organization develops a reputation based off how your employees speak of it. Evaluate how you are educating all your staff and including them in conversations about your mission and the heart of who you are. What about when mistakes happen? While we all want to plan for the best, the reality is at some point, we all drop the ball. Mistakes happen. Emails get stuck in the drafts folder. A check gets lost. Are you prepared to serve your donors well even in your less than glorious moments? Having a culture that works hard for the victories, but also serves just as passionately in the messy and the mundane moments will take intentional leadership to coach and model these attitudes. How do people describe your leaders? Creating culture is not an overnight change, and it can even require painful shifts on occasion. To start reviewing where your organization is, consider how outsiders view and describe your leadership. Accessible? Authority? Servant? Caring? Leader, but without connection to their people? What your leaders live out at the top sets the standard for the organization, and it is also the most visible piece to those outside. These questions are just the start of the journey towards inspiring a development culture, so keep in mind that this truly is a process. It will take time, continued evaluation and course corrections. However, each authentic change is another piece to establish how you flourish, progress, grow, advance, and establish. Looking for more practical details? Join our webinar on January 16 to learn how leadership can set a culture.Read More
The Promise within a Name
Between the closing of the Old Testament, with the book of Malachi and the opening of the New Testament there is a 400-year prophetical silence. After Malachi pens his letter to the Israelites, we do not hear God speak for another four centuries when the angel of the Lord appears to Mary and Joseph, separately. Joseph, a Jewish carpenter from the lineage of David and a man of honor, finds himself in a dilemma. Mary, his bride to be, tells him she is miraculously pregnant. Undoubtedly, his friends and family are whispering in his ear to leave the woman he loves, because the baby certainly isn’t his. If he follows through with the marriage his reputation will certainly be tarnished, his status in the Jewish community will be impacted, and his livelihood will be hindered. Joseph surely felt alone and torn, as he pondered one of the most difficult decisions of his life. Then, amongst the other voices and Joseph’s own doubt, God breaks the prophetic silence. In Matthew 1:20-21 the Lord says, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” He goes on to remind Joseph of a prophesy written over 700 years earlier in verses 22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). In the midst of his doubt and confusion, Joseph is told to not be afraid, and the promise wrapped in the name “Immanuel” unlocks hope for his future and all of creation’s future. Think back to a time when you were facing a tough decision and felt alone. Were you afraid? Did you ask why you could not hear the voice of God? Notice, it was not until after Joseph had made up his mind to quietly divorce Mary, that God speaks. The phrase “Do not be afraid” occurs 366 times in the Bible and is always accompanied by the idea that God is with us. Immanuel is more than just a name, it is an enduring promise and prophesy, that God is and will always be right beside us. During this Christmas season, we not only celebrate the birth of our savior, but we also rejoice in the promise that was given us through His name, “Immanuel.”Read More
Starting the Generosity Conversation
It is no secret that charitable giving benefits your client and your community. Now more than ever, clients are open to discussing philanthropy and rely on the expert advice of their advisor. Engaging in conversation and sharing your knowledge of philanthropy furthers relationships and adds value to your practice. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss tax solutions that can also accomplish meaningful work. According to the 2018 U.S. Trust study of high net-worth philanthropy, most high-net-worth individuals are already giving, but only 49% of donors have a strategy for their giving. There is a significant opportunity here for advisors to grow their practices. By participating in the generosity conversations, you can further the relationships with your clients as you help them achieve the greatest impact towards the charities most important to them. Understanding your client’s passions allows you to tailor your expertise to their unique interests and pinpoint how they imagine their lasting legacy. Year-end meetings are an excellent opportunity to share the advantages of charitable giving. A good way to start the conversation is to ask engaging questions about charity. Here are some examples: Are there any charitable interests or community needs you would like to address? What issues are you passionate about? Have you considered donating public stock as a way to use all your resources for giving? Giving stock gifts not only helps you save on taxes but also supports the causes you love. Are you currently making gifts to any charitable organizations? If so, which ones? What causes and values do you want to pass on? Initiating this conversation will benefit everyone involved. This opens the door to discuss year-end tax strategies with your clients and will invite them to create a lasting legacy of generosity. It will also strengthen your relationships and credibility with clients and their family. The long-term effects of their generosity will reach beyond your office; impacting your client, their family, and the community. Sources: https://blog.commonwealth.com/how-to-talk-about-philanthropy-with-your-clients https://cnycf.org/page.aspx?pid=836#.W_Ctj5NKjq0 http://www.foundationsource.com/wp-content/uploads/resources/A_Whitepaper_HowToTalkTo.pdf https://www.aefonline.org/blog/how-have-conversations-about-charitable-giving https://www.ustrust.com/articles/2018-us-trust-study-of-high-net-worth-philanthropy.htmlRead More
Creating a Family Mission Statement
Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, says, “A family mission statement is a combined unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about – what it is you really want to do and be – and the principles you choose to govern your family life.” Creating a mission statement for your family is a key act that can set the tone for how your family lives out values individually and collectively. By committing to a common purpose, it shapes even everyday actions. To take next steps in crafting a mission statement,…Read More