Author: Rick Hill
If an investor makes a concentrated bet, he thinks he knows something that the market doesn’t. If an investor diversifies, he admits he doesn’t know what comes next. We are the latter, and the data constantly reminds us to be humble. Here is an image showing the developed markets’ ranking and respective returns over the last twenty years. Would we have predicted Denmark as the standout market or Ireland in the last position? And who will it be twenty years from now? Guess what? As you know, when you own global capitalism, you’re the winner, and guessing isn’t required to succeed.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment; therefore, their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio. Diversification neither assures a profit nor guarantees against loss in a declining market.
“Rick, what are some interesting activities that others are doing that bring joy to their lives?” This is a question that many of my older clients often ask me. I suggest family vacations, volunteering at a charity, and being with your grandkids.
I would now like to recommend something that was never on my bucket list until COVID forced me to spend more time indoors – writing a book about my life!
This process started when my son gave me a Christmas gift in December 2021 called StoryWorth, a website that simplifies writing and publishing a book. Every week for 52 weeks, I received an email with a question. I then would answer that question. I could also eliminate their suggested questions and ask ones I felt were more relevant to me.
Below are some questions asked by StoryWorth:
– Tell me about your parents and grandparents.
– How is life different today compared to when you were a child?
– How did you meet your wife?
– What advice would you give to your children and grandchildren?
I added some of my own questions, such as:
– Why was a trip to Russia on your bucket list?
– What factors do you feel attributed to your long, continued marriage?
– What is one of the scariest situations you’ve faced in your life?
You can add pictures throughout the stories. This motivated me to go through stacks of old photo albums, many of which were in black and white, of my parents, grandparents, and my younger self.
My wife and two children were my editors. They added additional information and accuracy to my stories and added more pictures. The book is now 307 pages and includes many priceless photos.
Challenges of my experience:
- Takes time, especially for me, because I tend to write in bullet points, not paragraphs. However, there is no deadline to complete the book…it took me 18 months. The support group at StoryWorth was very helpful in answering my questions.
Benefits of writing a book:
- My grandkids and future generations will know more about my life stories, including several stories that were new to my wife and children,
- The book contains the “greatest hits” pictures rather than losing them somewhere in the basement or on someone’s iPhone,
- Immense personal satisfaction from having written a book.
I wish my parents and grandparents had written a book about their lives and advice for me and future generations. Now, with current technology, writing a book is much easier. Being older is an opportune time to tell one’s life stories while we still remember them. This is also a perfect gift for parents and grandparents. If you want information on writing a book using StoryWorth, I would be glad to talk with you!
Numerous studies have tried to measure the psychological benefits of giving to others. Whether giving to another person or organization or helping a friend with a project, the donor’s psychological benefits are typically even more significant than the recipients. In that light, let’s discuss three of the most common ways to give money to various charitable organizations and their respective benefits.
Cash: The most common method is to write a check from one’s checking or investment account. Then, you accumulate all of your documentation of charitable giving throughout the year, and you may get a tax deduction. We say “may” because you will only receive a tax deduction for your charitable giving if all your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction.
Qualified Charitable Distribution: Another option is to make a charitable contribution directly from your IRA. This option is only available for those over 70.5, and the maximum amount is $100k/year. There is no tax on the IRA withdrawal and no deduction on the tax return. This option is attractive for those whose standard deduction is larger than one’s total individual deductions.
Additionally, for those 72 and older, the withdrawal from their IRA will count toward their required minimum distribution for that year. Not having the full required minimum distribution amount count as income will lower one’s taxable income, which may have other benefits such as lower the Medicare surcharge on Social Security.
Donor-Advised Fund: A third option is to establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) and contribute taxable assets to the fund that will supply several years of future donations (we suggest 5-10 years of one’s annual contributions). We typically recommend clients contribute appreciated securities that they have held for over one year to the fund to avoid realizing the gain on the position. You will take a tax deduction within the year you fund your DAF. You can make contributions at any point in the future or bequeath the fund to specific organizations at your death. There is no additional tax deduction when you grant the money to charities, and there is no need to track the donations. Additionally, because the money inside the fund is invested, it can continue to grow and allow you to give more to charitable organizations that are important to you.
These are just three of the many ways to give to charitable organizations important to you. For more information on methods of charitable giving please reach out to us.