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Veteran FA offers 4 charitable conversation starters

May 2023

Incorporate charitable planning into your practice for 20 years, and you’re bound to learn a few lessons to share with colleagues. That’s the case for Jonathan Behnken whose advice may help you meet the needs of your clients.

Take your own recommendations
Jonathan joined his father’s Thrivent practice when he was 23 and soon thereafter had purchased two charitable life insurance contracts on his own life through Thrivent Charitable. “I knew the small premium would create a much larger gift,” he says. The death benefit will eventually be distributed to his church and other Christian organizations from a donor-advised fund over several years.

“There’s credibility when clients hear you followed your own recommendations,” he says.

Jonathan recently collaborated with Thrivent Charitable to assist a couple who will use $6,000 of qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) to pay premiums on a second-to-die life contract. “If they pay premiums for 20 years, the total amount paid from their IRA will still be about $30,000 less than the initial death benefit,” he says.

Don’t lead with tax advantages
Jonathan’s charitable clients are rarely seeking the tax advantages their generosity may provide. “Having these conversations opens their eyes to the much greater impact their dollars can have for the organizations they care about,” he says

“More than tax savings, clients like the flexibility and control they have to choose organizations, decide whether to remain anonymous and make sustaining gifts long after they have passed away,” he says.

Look for both/and situations
That said about taxes, clients are motivated to help their heirs minimize potential tax consequences. Jonathan introduces the concept of charitable life insurance in those situations. It’s an option that appeals to pre-retired clients who are planning ahead as well as retirees faced with required minimum distributions (RMDs). It’s a tool clients can use to help position their assets to benefit children down the road.

Learn from experts
Jonathan credits his ready access to Thrivent Charitable gift planners for planting seeds for future cases. “We can learn concepts from the experts and be ready when we meet with clients who could benefit,” he says. That’s how he was able to recommend to a family that they donate farmland to Thrivent Charitable and generate quarterly income with a charitable gift annuity.

“They avoided capital gains on the sale and replaced their rental income during retirement. Then, upon their death, the remaining proceeds will be granted to charities they have identified,” he explains.

Contact our team of gift planners to discuss unique solutions for your clients. Email us or call 800-365-4172 to get started.