November 15 marks National Philanthropy Day. It’s no surprise that it falls right before the holidays, a time of year when we tend to engage in more charitable giving. In Colorado, we even have Colorado Gives Day on December 5, an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy.
Beyond simply feeling the holiday cheer, there are additional benefits to giving; some that we may not even realize.
Philanthropy for Your Health
No matter when or how you give, we all know that helping others feels good. As it turns out, it’s scientifically beneficial for your health, too. Research shows that philanthropy is connected to our human biology – boosting physical and mental health. It can also extend our lifespan. One reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is because it helps lower the effects of stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. There is growing evidence that when you give, the “feel good” chemicals in our brains are released into the body, inducing warm feelings of connection to others.
People who give to others tend to report fewer aches and pains, have more energy and feel stronger. By contributing time or money to a charitable cause, our generosity and abundance produces far-reaching effects on the well-being of others and on our personal happiness.
Many charitable gifts provide a current-year income tax deduction. Check to see if the charities are registered with the IRS in order to make tax-deductible contributions. While a tax deduction may not be your intent when making a donation, it’s a benefit you should take advantage of when available.
You should keep receipts and records for all donations. To receive tax deductions, you’ll have to show proof of your donation and send an itemized form to the IRS. There are different rules that apply for different types of donations, so be sure to check the IRS website for more information.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
There are several types of charitable beneficiaries including public charities, pooled income funds, private foundations, donor-advised funds and Charitable Remainder Trusts to consider. One effective and popular choice for individuals who wish to leave a lasting legacy to their favorite charity, but also reap various financial benefits, is the Charitable Remainder Trust. In exchange for leaving a substantial monetary gift to charity, the Remainder Trust provides you with several major tax and economic benefits, and allows you to:
As you gather with friends and family to celebrate this holiday season, considering spreading the holiday spirit in your community through charitable giving.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters.
Shelley Ford is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.