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Increase (Meaning) In Life

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill

There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. [1] but the coronavirus pandemic has put more than 1 in 3 of them in danger of closing within the next two years [2]. In a time where the world is overwhelmed with issue after issue, now more than ever is a time to lean in and help be a solution. Make thoughtful giving a part of your life.

Help who?

Narrow down the 1.5 million by not overthinking it. Start by considering your own interests and find an organization that shares your values. Supporting a cause that is a passion of yours will help others, while bringing an added level of joy into your own life. Win. Win.

How can you help?

Volunteer your time, energy, and talents; organizations are short staffed. If you are a business owner, consider providing your employees the opportunity to serve. At Van Hulzen Financial Advisors we actively volunteer time and resources to organizations such as Amador County Interfaith Food Bank, Operation Gratitude, and Habitat for Humanity. Employees are empowered to donate additional time volunteering to organizations of their choice by providing two business days a year to serve.

Give a gift! Heading into the end of the year is the time to make a gift or charitable decisions. We can help facilitate a gifting strategy that best fits your needs. Strategies we regularly recommend to maximize tax benefits for donors include:

1. Appreciated Stock. Gifting appreciated assets creates an opportunity to save on capital gains taxes independent of the donor's ability to qualify for a charitable deduction. This is especially beneficial for stocks that have been inherited or gifted from previous generations for which the cost basis is very low or even unknown. 

2. Bunching. One strategy to consider is to "bunch" gifts into a single year. If a donor intends to gift $5,000 a year but will still be below the standard deduction, it may make sense to gift 2 or 3 years' worth of gifts at one time to itemize the gifts in one year and then take the standard deduction in the following two years. Bunching can also help offset taxes in an abnormally high-income year and can be accomplished either through cash gifts or appreciated stock. 

3. Donor Advised Fund (DAF). Donors that would benefit from the tax deduction on "bunched" or appreciated stock gifts often want to have more control over the amount and timing for providing the gift to their charities of choice. If this is the case, using a Donor Advised Fund structure could be the solution.

 In many ways, DAF’s are similar to a private foundation in that the donor and recipient's specific needs are met independently of each other. Donors can give when it is the most tax advantageous, and the needs of charities can also be addressed at the time of need and not just when it is convenient for the donor. Using a DAF is an excellent strategy for families with strong, long-term philanthropic desires and can even be multi-generational.

4. Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). For donors with required minimum distribution (RMD) obligations from their IRA account, there is the potential to do a QCD directly from their IRA to a charity. The QCD will be distributed tax-free from the IRA and will count toward the RMD requirements. After a government-imposed hiatus in 2020, RMDs are back in 2021. If donors are age 72 or older as of December 31, 2021, they must take the RMD by year-end to avoid the 50% penalty (unless this is the first RMD, in which case they have until April 1, 2022). It is important to know that the gift will not be tax-deductible as an itemized line item, but reduces income for tax purposes and thereby, the donor gets the benefit of tax savings on the distribution without concern for whether the donor will itemize or not.

5. Engage Family Giving. If you want to inspire the next generation(s) to give but do not know how, you are not alone, and we can help. Instilling values and educating on how to make effective charitable decisions is rarely simple. We are here to be resource and have even attended family meetings to help navigate this exact topic!


Whatever amount of time, talents, or finances you can offer to others is meaningful. Generosity has no lofty requirements; however, if you are already philanthropic, perhaps consider additional ways you would enjoy making an impact? Or, is being an active giver a new adventure for you? If so, welcome! I am excited for you to start the journey! Either way, Mr. Churchill would be proud.

Cheers to not just living but making a meaningful life!

Written by author: Paul Nederveld | Director of Business Operations, Chief Compliance Officer 

[1] How many nonprofit organizations are there in the U.S.?: Knowledge base. Candid Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://learning.candid.org/resources/knowledge-base/number-of-nonprofits-in-the-u-s/.

[2] Castronuovo, C. (2021, March 3). 1 in 3 nonprofits in danger of closing due to pandemic: Study. TheHill. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://thehill.com/homenews/news/541416-1-in-3-nonprofits-in-danger-of-closing-due-to-pandemic.

*The foregoing content reflects the opinions of Van Hulzen Asset Management DBA "Van Hulzen Financial Advisors" and is subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that the statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. Securities investing involves risk, including the potential for loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment plan or strategy will be successful.