Q: My husband and I are secure enough financially to start thinking about how to achieve our charitable goals. He wants to put charities in his will, but I’d rather give now. How do we figure out the best way? - Liz

A: I don’t think there’s either a good way or a bad way. They are your goals, and as long as they work for you, that’s what matters.

I could certainly argue either side of the coin, but I think it’s important to understand that your different approaches probably come from your relationships to money in general. Someone who would rather wait to do their giving by incorporating it into an estate plan is likely someone who sees money as their source of security. As a result, they would rather hang onto it during life to address things that come up as we go through life. Loss of jobs, needing to relocate, health concerns as you age, etc. Conversely, someone who wants to make their gifts now is probably more on the spectrum of seeing money as their source of fun. While I doubt you’re a spend-thrift, I am willing to bet that you are more of a spender than your husband. And considering that most charities would probably prefer to get their money now instead of later, that’s certainly not a bad thing.

I think it’s important for both of you first to understand these differences and the motivations behind them. Depending on how you have your overall household expenses arranged, you might be able to find ways of doing both. For instance, if you both work, I would hope it would be possible for you to decide how at least a portion of your income is used, outside of joint financial needs like mortgages and utility bills. In addition, as you’re creating your estate plan, you could certainly consider separate trusts rather than a joint trust. Your husband can set his up to benefit charity as he wishes without impacting the manner in which you prefer to give. Good luck, and thank you for considering the needs of your greater community in your financial planning!

 

 

Q: How do I get in on the recent rise of crypto-currencies? - Tad

Tad, if you’re only asking where to buy some cryptocurrency, your best bet is simply to google it and find an on-line currency exchange. However, that doesn’t mean that you should. Nor does it mean that such currencies are going to continue to rise.

As the current leader in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was launched in 2009, but sat relatively unused and un-noticed by many until early 2017. It hit its lifetime peak on December 17 of that year, and has been bouncing around ever since. So if you’re asking how you could have seen that peak coming to buy into it, or how you could do so in the future, the only answer I could give you is to look into your crystal ball and hope for the best.

Whether you’re trying to predict a news event that might affect your favorite blue-chip, get in on the early stages of Bitcoin, or buy stock in an IPO from the future Apple’s or Amazon’s of the world, you’re taking a huge risk that may or may not pay off. There are literally millions – if not billions – of dollars of Bitcoin in the world right now that were bought by people who thought it might take-off someday. After years of nothing, they gave up and misplaced their security keys. As a result, they will never be the millionaires they hoped to be when they first bought in. There are also millions of people have bought into the 1400 cryptos that have been created over the last decade with the hope of being part of the next Bitcoin adventure. A tiny fraction might succeed, but the vast majority will not. But if you’re someone who plays the lottery, you’re probably someone who’s willing to take the chance. The rest of us will sit back and humbly enjoy the 7 to 8 percent that our Dow Jones index funds return. We’ll likely never be instant millionaires, but we also likely won’t see our retirement disappear before our eyes.

 

— Eric Litwiller has spent the last seven years of his professional career helping people achieve their financial goals through the use of budgets, retirement vehicles, and estate planning options.  He is a firm believer in the importance of using Earthly riches to fulfill a mission of Christian stewardship.  Eric is not a licensed financial planner. If you have a question for Ask Eric, tweet it to @AskEricKSUN, send an e-mail to AskEric@mail.com, or like “AskEric” on Facebook.