One of my favorite clients spent several years writing his about his childhood stories, and he paired them with photos from his youth. He hired an editor to tweak his drafts and then published a book that he gave to his children and grandchildren at the holidays. With remarkable new technology, books can easily and inexpensively be printed, so the only major investment was the time dedicated to this work of love. I was fortunate enough to read the book and was in awe of how many valuable lessons were shared in this beautiful gift. This is a very close family with strong generational relationships and open communication, but this book full of detailed stories and pictures added so much more to the orally transmitted tales. What a gold mine. My grandparents passed away before I was born, so I wasn’t fortunate enough to know them. I’ve read many stories about the migration from Ireland to America, but I’d love to know how my grandparents did it and how that helped shaped me.
Not everyone can sit down and write a memoir, and there are easier ways to strengthen family connections and pass valuable lessons to the next generation. Family trivia games, reenactments of old stories, tried and true traditions, and stimulating conversation can help you discover more about your children and grandchildren’s interests and passions. The simple act of being genuinely interested is key.
This year at Thanksgiving, in addition to passing the turkey and potatoes, pass them an opportunity to connect with you by giving them the good fortune to make a gift to a charity that fits their passion and addresses the issues they care about. Several of our clients have set up and contributed to a Donor Advised Charitable Fund (DACF) this year for that purpose. One couple wants to give each of their 11 grandchildren the opportunity to donate $500 per year over the next 5 years, so they added $20,000 of appreciated stock to the DACF. The contributed stock plus future earnings should be enough for the 55 gifts that will be made to charities over the next 5 years. The only requirements these grandparents made was that before a donation was made, each child had to research and visit the charity and report back to the grandparents why that charity was chosen and how the funds would help the organization or cause. We assisted the clients with whole process, from setting up the DACF to offering checklists for evaluating charities. It is much easier than it sounds.
Engaging your family with this process will bring the family together and help you build a legacy. It might also be entertaining when they come to you with charities like “The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” or “Stop Bieber.” Yes, those are actual non-profit organizations, so be prepared to probe your grandchildren about the criteria of worthy causes.
Your goals and dreams change. Financial products do not. Clients work with us because we don’t sell products – we create customized plans based on each client’s unique goals, and we continuously reevaluate client plans to ensure they are aligned with changing needs. Our clients rely on us to protect their futures, and we take their trust to heart.
Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals.”