According to the Women Give 2017 study, donors, especially women, who give 2% or more of their income, are happier than those who don’t. Many times, other than simply writing a check, people don’t know how to give. First, I help them identify a charity or simply the cause that they want to support. Many people have a particular area that they want to help in but don’t always know which organization(s) support that cause.

Since every person has different needs and different desires when it comes to giving, next I help them determine the method that is appropriate. Here’s a list of several ways that you can give.

1. Qualified charitable distribution (QCD) — In my opinion, one of the best ways to give is to gift your IRA or your required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA. You can gift up to $100,000 per year this way. Also, you must be age 70½, and you cannot gift funds from an employer-sponsored plan.

2. Life insurance — You can give a current or new policy. This option allows you to give more than you otherwise might. Gifting a policy you no longer need or want is a great option. The charity can keep and maintain the policy or possibly sell it. Many times it can be sold for much more than the cash value, and you may get a much larger deduction if they do. Consult your tax adviser!

3. Charitable lead trust (CLT) — With a charitable lead trust, the charity gets all the income from the trust, and upon death, your beneficiaries get the trust assets.

4. Charitable remainder trust (CRT) — This is the opposite of a CLT. You get the income, and the charity receives the assets upon death. This may be good for people who need the income and deductions to possibly reduce taxes but have no heirs.

5. Charitable gift annuity — This gives you a guaranteed income for life via an annuity and a portion of it goes to the charity. The balance goes only to that charity unlike a CRT, etc. which can fund multiple charities.

6. Real estate/collectibles — You gift the property (usually highly appreciated), then the charity sells it. Caution, not all charities have the resources to handle these transactions, so discuss it with them first. Regarding collectibles, they must be highly marketable.

7. Appreciated stock — You gift your stock to a charity, and they can sell it tax free. You get a deduction without paying the taxes due if you were to sell it yourself.

8. Donor advised funds — The fund is managed by the organization, but you direct which investments within the funds you want. They do all the work (for a fee!). Your deduction is limited to 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash donations and 30% on donated securities.

9. Pooled income fund — This is similar to a DAF, but you have no investment control. There is a limited deduction based on your life expectancy and the fund’s performance.

10. Private foundation — You are the DAF. The deduction is limited to 30% of your AGI for cash donations and 20% for securities. This is designed for ongoing family giving.

As you can see there are many ways to give and make a difference for a cause that is important to you!

T. Eric Reich, CIMA, CFP, CLU, ChFC is president and founder of Reich Asset Management and can be reached at 609-486-5073 or

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Reich Asset Management, LLC is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

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