Deadline for April issue is March 25
‘TisThe Season For Giving
By Jonathan Fortenberry
I have very fond memories of flipping through the newest Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs each year and circling the letter of the toys I wanted most. Then I would give the catalog back to my grandmother and wait in anticipation until Christmas morning to see if she really read through the whole thing to make sure she gave me what I wanted most. That isn’t too far away from what we experience today. There are numerous causes and reasons that need funding and they each call out to us asking for gifts to keep their missions alive. Then they wait in an anxious hope to see if we were able to make a gift.
This holiday season, I encourage you to consider where you could best place the money or gifts that you have budgeted for giving away. If you have not budgeted for this, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about it and then to take action. Ask yourself the following questions and you may find that there is more opportunity than you think.
Besides myself or my family, who could make the best use of my money? Each of us know of at least one not-for-profit organization that could use some additional funding to fulfill the mission it has set out on. Consider a religious organization, a food bank, an equine rescue group, or a camp that serves families in need. You will be able to find at least one of those probably within a stone’s throw of your own community. There may even be a particular family or person you have in mind as you’re reading this that you know could use some extra joy this time of year. Having served in leadership positions with my local Rotary and United Way, I can assure you that the need is great even here in our backyard.
Have I fully planned for the years I am not able to make money? We all have this in common – one day we either will choose not to continue working or will be forced to not continue working. Many of you will care for your horses until your very last day, and I would expect nothing less from you. The ability to fund the years where all you do is care for your horses, or teach your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to love them as you have, is yours to relentlessly grab on to now. Imagine taking five dollars out of your right pocket and using four of those dollars now for various expenses, and placing the other dollar in your left pocket to use later. Your left pocket money could be used for income, healthcare, comfort, or dignity through life’s challenges. Whether you have five dollars or five thousand dollars, making the disciplined left pocket gifts is vital.
How would it change my legacy if I could give this to my children or grandchildren? One of the best speakers I’ve ever heard told me a story about a man named Ira who helped a family with a plan for their money. They didn’t have much, but they knew it was important to plan. The father passed away suddenly, leaving the plan to the family. The son was inspired by this and made his own plan. Then grandson made his own plan. The grandson was stricken with a terrible illness and ultimately passed away from it before he could graduate from his beloved college. His wishes were that this money he planned with would go to help someone else graduate from that college. Just a few years ago, a lady with ten siblings was the first in her family to ever graduate from college. The power of just one plan changed the course of multiple families!
This time of year is a wonderful time for many of us. There are many ways to give – to groups in need, to our future selves, and to our loved ones. Giving truly is one of the greatest joys that we may know in this present world. Aside from the purpose and the joy of giving, there are some financial benefits you can enjoy this year. A qualified tax professional can help you determine what, if any, portion of your gifts to others or yourself can save you money on this year’s tax return. I hope blessings, joy, peace, and mornings of warm coffee or hot chocolate for you and the ones you love this wonderful time of year.
About the author:
Jonathan Fortenberry is a licensed insurance producer in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Registered Representative of and securities offered through Securities Management & Research, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.
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