Conversations around “expanding the circle of giving” need to happen now, say advisors pointing to the “Bill Gates” trend taking root among their clients.
“There is a tendency now not to leave everything to the kids,” says Norma Cameron, the owner of the Narrative Company in Victoria, B.C. “We call it the ‘Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’ trend, with high-net-worth individuals wanting to see their money doing good work in the community while they are still alive.”
That attitude complements a growing sentiment among boomers; namely, their children should be made to work for some, if not all of their money, Cameron told WP
“I’ve met with a lot of donors who are giving a lot of money away during their lifetime, and putting it into trusts,” she says. “So if you don’t expand the circle and have those conversations with the children while they are alive, many of those gifts will fail – because the wills are being contested.”
This change in attitude has placed a greater emphasis on advisors having a strong skillset in the area of managing philanthropy.
Claire Costello, an advisor who specializes in philanthropic solutions, says that from her experience, “we find that one out of three of our clients choose a financial advisor specifically because that advisor is good at the philanthropic stuff.”
Victoria-based Raymond James advisor Sybil Verch agrees that advisors need to be asking the question on philanthropic and charitable donations.
“It should be part of the information gathering process to really know your client,” she told WP. “You know about their family but do you know about the other causes they support. What’s important to them?”
If you don’t ask because you feel uncomfortable, she says, you’re missing an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your client. “And if they do have causes that are important to them and they’re spending money on, that is an important thing to note when doing their financial plan.”