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Conversation starters

Current year planning

What could I have done differently last year to maximize my tax savings?

Tower of rocks

Chances are you’ve been asked this question by your clients. If they haven’t asked, they’re probably thinking it. When discussing current year planning and reflecting on the outcomes of the previous tax year, you can help clients better meet their financial and philanthropic goals by identifying missed opportunities and recommending the best strategies for the future.

Taking advantage of a higher deduction through charitable giving is an easy solution for many of your clients, especially those who are already highly philanthropic.

Don't wait until it's too late. Have the charitable conversation now to avoid a rush at the end of the year.

Conversation Tips

Tip #1

The tax benefits of charitable giving are an important discussion point, but research1 shows that your high-net-worth clients prefer an advisor to approach this subject in a more personal—balanced with the tax benefits discussion.

  • Ask your clients about their passions and philanthropic goals.
  • Find out how they give today.
  • Determine if they think their current financial plan reflects their values.
  • Discuss your own philanthropic activities.

Tip #2

Start the conversation by asking about clients’ philanthropic goals; then offer solutions to lessen their tax burden for the current year.

  • Think beyond cash as a donation and consider donating long-term appreciated securities instead.
  • High income year? Planning for retirement? Your client can accelerate charitable giving by funding a donor-advised fund now, turning a currently high tax bracket into an advantage.

Tip #3

If you’re working through an estate planning strategy with a client, ask about the legacy the client wants to leave with charitable giving—then explain the benefits of a donor-advised fund with regard to legacy planning.

1US Trust Study of The Philanthropic Conversation, Oct 2013

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