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How women can take advantage of their giving power

Research shows that over the next few decades, women are poised to inherit roughly 70% of intergenerational wealth. Making these numbers even more impressive is the fact that some of these women (traditional couples) may inherit twice: from their parents and their spouse or partner, as women tend to outlive men.

With this increase in wealth also comes an increase in philanthropic giving power.

Women are more likely than men to view charitable giving as the most satisfying aspect of wealth, and are more likely to value their wealth as a way to create positive change, according to recent reports. However, I’ve found that many women are unaware of their giving options and don’t know how to bring up the topic with their financial advisor. When giving is discussed, women may be unsure of how to start exploring the many options available to them. With March being Women’s History Month, now is a great time to highlight how women can take advantage of their giving power. There are three key questions women should ask themselves (and their advisers) when it comes to giving.

1. What is my motivation? What is driving you to donate? Is it the prospect of tax savings, or simply the joy of giving? It’s important for women to sit down and consider why they want to get involved in philanthropy, as this will help their advisers tailor options that fit into their overall financial plans. It’s equally important to discuss the benefits certain charitable vehicles have on tax savings, and which giving methods could provide longer-term support to charities selected.

2. What are my options? There is a myriad of options for charitable giving; it’s just a matter of finding which one suits a person’s desires and needs. Utilizing donor-advised funds, making direct gifts and changing beneficiaries on assets to charitable organizations are currently the top three choices we’re seeing. With the substantial giving power women will have in the coming years, it’s important to work with an adviser to understand each option and determine if they should choose one tactic or take a multi-faceted approach. Consider the organizations you already support with your time and energy, perhaps locally, that you may want to provide financial assistance to in the future.

3. Am I financially secure enough to give? Roughly two-thirds of women between the ages of 40 and 79 have experienced a major negative financial transition. With this in mind, it’s important for women looking to incorporate philanthropy into their financial plans to take care of themselves first before giving any money away. They should talk with their adviser to understand any financial needs or obligations they may currently have or encounter down the road. Once they have ensured their financial security, they can put their focus on helping others.

It’s essential to feel comfortable with and educated in all options. Often, women can be left out of the financial conversation, but it’s important to provide financial education and empower women in their philanthropic endeavors should they inherit money or have their own hard-earned income to spend. Working with wealth management specialists and trust experts can help female philanthropists lay the foundation and examine giving options to guide them in the right direction.

Eva Victor is senior vice president and director of wealth planning at Girard Advisory Services, LLC, part of the Univest Wealth Division.

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