By: Jay Stark
At no time did the adage ‘we’re all in this together’ ring so true to me than at the first in-person event I attended since the start of the pandemic. There were just 20 of us there and to say we were all elated to be in the same room together would be a huge understatement.
The event was organized by Saskatoon’s chapter of the Donor Motivation Program, which works with charities and donors to show how you can take advantage of Canada’s generous charitable tax incentives to make a meaningful impact on the people and causes you care about. After nearly two years of lockdowns, mask mandates, and public health restrictions, it was a relief to be able to get together with friends and colleagues at last. But it wasn’t long until the conversation shifted to the devastating effect the pandemic has had on much of Canada’s charitable sector.
Charities are struggling because more and more Canadians have had to turn to them for assistance during the pandemic and many charities have simply not had the capacity to keep up. According to Imagine Canada, more than four in 10 charities in Canada have faced declines in revenue and among those, the average revenue decline is 44 per cent. The net result is that many people have had to wait longer for the services they desperately need or have not been able to get the help they need at all.
However, as devastating as the pandemic has been, we must take comfort in all that we have achieved. As a society, we have been forced into action. We must take advantage of this momentum and use all our powers to keep pushing until we can finally put this crisis behind us. Now is not the time to stop supporting our communities and those in need.
As a wealth advisor, it’s my job to counsel clients on how to manage their money, save for the future, and make sure their families will be taken care of after they’re gone. For many of them, the pandemic has also given them pause and encouraged them to think about ways they can continue to contribute to helping those who are less fortunate. This is where planning your giving comes in and a big part of that is planning a gift to charity in your will. It’s a great way to ‘pay it forward’ while still making sure you have all the resources you need from now to retirement and that your family is looked after.
There’s a national campaign called ‘Will Power’ that is actively working to show Canadians the power they have to make a difference with their wills. One of the biggest takeaways is how even a small percentage of your estate left to charity (leaving most of it to your family) could very well be the biggest single charitable gift you will make in your lifetime. What’s more, a gift left to charity in your will can dramatically offset your estate’s tax liability, leaving most of your assets intact for your loved ones.
Peace Of Mind
Advisors often talk about the need for a financial plan to achieve peace of mind. One of the things I try to tell my clients is that if you add charitable planning to the conversation, then you are achieving peace of mind for your head and your heart.
To learn more about the Will Power movement, see how much you could leave to charity from your estate while still supporting loved ones, and explore the tax benefits, visit WillPower.ca
is a Saskatoon based wealth advisor at Assante Wealth Management