I often meet with families related to issues of planning their wills and trusts. Frankly, it is often a dreaded event for them. The truth is that most are well equipped when it comes to running their business at high performing levels. But few are equipped at passing on their business. Similarly, they all typically have some idea of how much wealth they’ll pass on to their children.
This week I sat down with a long time friend of mine. He’s well into his 80s. About 10 years ago, he made his first major gift. At the time of the gift, he called me and told me that he finally felt like he could die. He felt such relief and freedom in making the gift.
Since that time, however, his giving has slowed to a trickle. While his income has also slowed, his net worth suggests the need for more current giving. But our talks have stalled.
Not long ago, I witnessed a group of men give away a van to a woman who was transporting inner city kids to school. The kids were there when the van was given away. When the keys were presented to the woman, I heard one of the kids in the background exclaim, “Who does this sort of thing?”
It is just one line. It’s uttered by a pagan, a Roman soldier. But as an eyewitness to the crucifixion, he is indelibly captured for all of history: “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15.39)
I talked with Joel not long ago about getting his estate plan in order. He gave me a pained look. His look spoke of something like going to the dentist—knowing that it needs to be done but not wanting to do it.
In reality, we need a new vision of estate planning. While estate planning certainly involves some very technical legal issues, it can be so much more. And yes, the estate plan is necessary to mechanically pass on your assets to children and loved ones.
But what is the something more?
Not long ago, I sat in a ministry presentation. The ministry was clearly trying to win the crowd to gather support for its ministry.
It was a fairly typical presentation. They described who they were, and they listed the numbers behind the impact they were making. And they made a call for support.
But they failed to present the big why. Most importantly, they did not understand that their ministry was not the big why. It never is.
Generous—to be liberal in giving or sharing. It is marked by abundance. Such is the definition of generosity.
How many generous people do you know? What are their characteristics? Do you know any unhappy generous people? I think not.
Have you noticed that the stock market has been topsy turvy? Well, investors have noticed as well, and are accordingly turning to alternative investments.
I’ve got one critical piece of advice to the business owner: take care of your spouse first.
I’ve seen it too often. It’s the story of a giver. He or she is someone who is just sailing along. The business is going well. The team is in place, and they are beginning to enjoy the freedom of being able to step away from the business. And their giving is at all time record numbers. They are having fun.