Live Wellthy: Five Steps To Giving

Supporting a cause financially is possible, even if you’re on a budget.

 

Supporting a cause financially is a wonderful thing to do, and with many nonprofits hurting because of the pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to give back. The largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $292.09 billion—that’s 68% of total giving. Next up were foundations at 18%, bequests at 9% and then corporations at 5%.

 

So, the stats say: It’s the individual person that can help make a difference. But it requires putting together a plan and taking a close look at your budget. We talked with Katie Mettler, Assistant Vice President and Senior Wealth Advisor of First Hawaiian Bank, who shared her five insights on giving back to the community and how you can get started.

 

1. Determine Your Budget

 

Start by taking a look at your budget and determine which expenses are discretionary versus fixed. “Everyone has something that is important to them, so start by prioritizing, especially if giving is part of what they want to build into their budget,” says Mettler. You can use a budget tracking app like Mint or PocketGuard.

 

2. Make Changes 

 

Start small. Even if it’s spending less money eating out and cooking at home instead, little changes can help make room in your budget for giving. “Things like your car payment, mortgage or health care are fixed expenses, so changes can be made elsewhere,” says Mettler. “You can also make a combination of changes in your spending—it doesn’t just have to be in food expenses.” Also, if your charity of choice allows for a scheduled credit card payment or bank deduction, that can help you stay on track with your budget.

 

3. Talk to a Tax Advisor

 

The standard deduction for married filing jointly is $24,800 for tax year 2020. That’s up $400 from 2019. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the deduction rises to $12,400, which is up $200 from 2019.

 

So, how would these tax deductions work for you? Mettler says that’s a popular question. “Everyone has their own unique situation. It’s hard to give guidance regarding how a donation will impact their tax situation, so I always advise people to check with their trusted tax advisor,” says Mettler. “They will be the best person to ask what type of an impact, if there is any impact, with donations.”

 

Food Bank

 

4. Research Your Nonprofit

 

Research your nonprofit by visiting websites like guidestar.org, which makes sure the organization of your choice is legitimate. “It’s important to give back to the community and find an organization that tugs at your heartstrings,” says Mettler. She adds, “It can also help to volunteer at these places where you make a donation because you can see what impact your money is making.”

 

5. Talk to a Wealth Advisor

 

Wealth advisors at First Hawaiian Bank can help with not just understanding the numbers behind your budget, but also help you create a strategy and optimize your options. “You can even make a small gift into a larger gift by utilizing life insurance,” says Mettler. Even if you only have a small amount to give, the advisors can create a plan and structure your giving. At First Hawaiian Bank, there are more than 30 experienced and trustworthy advisors who can start that conversation with you.

 

Call and make an appointment first. If customers already have an account at First Hawaiian Bank, contact a trusted banker who will introduce you to a wealth advisor. “You can also just stop by and talk with anyone. It’s just making that step to talk and the advisors will help guide that conversation,” says Mettler.

 

With these simple steps, anyone can make a difference. And, it’s worth mentioning that even if money is tight, a donation of your time can still be your way to give back to the community. Take a look at both your budget and your schedule this year, and see how you can make a change and do your part in making Hawai‘i better.