As you develop your 2021 business plan, Wealth Advisor Holly Mathiesen suggests a variety of solutions to support your charitable conversations with clients.
Create your own donor-advised fund
First, Holly recommends that you begin with your own giving strategy.
“The best way to start is to establish your own donor-advised fund,” she says. “We learn better when we do it for ourselves.”
The Hall of Honor inductee established a donor-advised fund with her husband in 2010. Upon their passing, up to half of their assets will go into their fund, from which their daughters will help designate gifts to charities they choose during their lifetime.
Help clients visualize their legacy
Holly shares her end-of-life strategy with clients to help them visualize leaving their own legacy. “One of the privileges of my life is the deep trust my clients have in me to manage their money now and make sure their legacy intentions are implemented,” she says.
Holly encourages clients to think ahead to when they will be done with their money. “There are inherent insecurities no matter how many reports I run because they do not know how long they will live,” she says. “I can’t completely fix their uncertainty, but I can focus on their exit strategy for what is left behind.”
But she also cautions, “You have to wait for clients to be ready. In their 40s and 50s, you manage ideas more than assets.”
As for her 2021 business plan, Holly says most of her first-quarter appointments are set a year ahead of time. Clients leave their annual review with written recommendations and a meeting invitation. “Building deep relationships grounded in managing their strategy is a very referable practice,” she says.
Utilize the 401(k) as a charitable strategy
The 401k is a vehicle Holly uses to pivot to charitable conversations, especially now that the SECURE Act means heirs must withdraw funds in just 10 years. Many of her clients expect to leave assets to their children, just as their parents did. But the difference is, they likely inherited real estate and other assets without immediate tax consequences.
“This generation’s main savings mechanism is all taxable later, so I tell clients they will have to be intentional in order to give tax-free inheritance to their kids,” Holly says. She then explains how they can use pre-tax dollars to buy life insurance to leave to their human heirs and name Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing the beneficiary of the retirement account.
‘Think outside the box’
Holly appreciates the “continuing education” she gets from gift planners. “They think outside the box and inevitably bring up different strategies than you have when you connect with them,” she says.