10 Financial Resolutions for the New Year
The new year is the perfect time to put into motion resolutions that will have a lasting impact on your financial well-being. Check out these 10 timely tips that have your family’s best interests at heart.
- INVENTORY YOUR ASSETS AND REVIEW YOUR WILL AND BENEFICIARIES.
Keep in mind some assets like bank and retirement accounts may transfer outside of your will. Is your plan to give to family, friends, and the church up-to-date? Make a date to discuss your plans with your loved ones and executor. While we are not lawyers or financial planners, we can help you explore possibilities.
- CONDUCT AN ANNUAL INVESTMENT CHECKUP. Are you on track to meet your long-term goals? Is the risk in your portfolio in line with your life stage? Have your needs changed? Are you saving enough?
- DEVELOP A BUDGET AND STICK WITH IT!
Resolve to save more money and to spend less. Before every purchase, ask yourself if it’s a want or a need.
- REDUCE YOUR DEBT.
Develop a plan that includes making extra payments toward your student loan, car loan, mortgage, or credit card debt.
- INCREASE YOUR RETIREMENT PLAN SAVINGS.
Did you get a raise? If you put that additional money into your 401(k) or 403(b) retirement account, you will never miss it!
- CONDUCT AN ENERGY AUDIT OF YOUR HOME, CHURCH, OR WORKPLACE.
You will be amazed at how much money and energy you can save! Good energy conservation is good stewardship. Google energy audits on the web or contact your power company to learn about programs to help.
- IDENTIFY NEW WAYS TO SAVE MONEY.
Have a brainstorming session with your family to identify ways you can work together to reduce spending. Pack your lunch. Eat at home instead of going out to a restaurant. Make your own coffee. Turn off the lights. Stick to your grocery list. Cancel memberships you never use. You get the idea!
- CONDUCT ANNUAL REVIEWS OF YOUR SERVICE PROVIDERS.
At the beginning of the year, compare rates for insurance, cell phone plans, utilities, TV, internet, and entertainment packages, and other providers to make sure you’re receiving the best rates possible.
- START AN EMERGENCY FUND.
Build a 90-day emergency fund. This way you will be prepared in the event of unexpected expenses such as a job loss, illness, repair bills, or unplanned travel.
- CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT.
It’s important to maintain good credit. Check your credit report annually.
Do Not Be Afraid!
By Mathew A. Pinson, Georgia United Methodist Foundation President and CEO
Earlier this year, I wrote a short piece on why I believe that loyalty, good common sense, and passion are the three most important traits for a person to embody in their professional and personal life. To remain focused on these three important concepts, I find it essential to remember that fear is the worst form of distraction. Fear causes us to cease being loyal. Fear makes us walk away from good common sense, and fear stands in the way of our ability to live into our God-inspired passions.
During Advent—a season of holy waiting—I am trying my best to remember that fear is dangerous. God recognizes this truth, which is why I believe that God first sends the angels each and every time God breaks into the world. The angels always proclaim, “Do not be afraid!”
I love hearing the children read these lines from the second chapter of Luke:
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."
As we prepare for Christmas, I invite you to walk away from fear and encourage others to do the same. Walk away from fear and walk toward the life we are called to live together in the joy of Christ, the Messiah, the Lord!
Know that we at the Georgia United Methodist Foundation give thanks to God for each of you and for the ways we elevate and advance the mission of the church together.
May HOPE, JOY, PEACE, and LOVE be yours this holy season and always!
Year-End Giving Strategies
The Advent season marks the beginning of the church year and ushers in the close of the calendar year. As we anticipate the birth of Christ, this is a time to thoughtfully consider the ways you financially support the church and ministries that are close to your heart.
Since each individual has a unique financial situation, the Georgia United Methodist Foundation always encourages people to talk with a trusted legal or financial advisor to determine the most effective charitable giving plan for your circumstances.
We hope the following information is helpful. Please reach out if we can assist you.
Grace to you and peace,
Mathew A. Pinson
President and CEO
Dr. Laudis H. "Rick" Lanford
Regional Vice President
SPECIAL TAX-FREE IRA GIFTS
For those aged 70 ½ and older, it is possible to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from IRA accounts to the charity. A total of up to $100,000 per year can be transferred directly from IRAs to one or more qualified charities, such as the church, free from federal income tax. With a QCD, donors do not have to worry about tax deductions because this type of deduction does not flow through their income for the year. There may also be state income tax savings. NOTE: Special benefits under this tax provision do not apply to donor-advised funds.
For those 72 and older or those who have begun taking their Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), donations given in this way count toward their RMD for the year of the gift. For those donating from an IRA, it is important to donate directly from the IRA to the church or the Foundation. For those with check writing privileges on their accounts, this may be the most efficient way to make gifts directly from an IRA.
ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES FOR CONSIDERATION
The Foundation can assist you with establishing a permanent endowment that will benefit your church or a Methodist-related organization in perpetuity. Contact the Foundation at 770-449-6726 or email email@example.com for information.
The Foundation offers individuals the opportunity to establish a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). DAFs offer donors a way to be strategic with their giving over time. With a DAF, individuals combine all giving into one fund, and you may receive an immediate tax deduction when you open the fund. You can then recommend grants from the fund throughout the year to your church and other ministries or charities that are close to your heart. Contact the Foundation at 770-449-6726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
This is an excellent time of year to be thinking about how to be generous. Ask yourself these questions: How does the act of generosity transition into a thoughtful strategic plan? How can I model generosity? How can I serve as a witness to my faith through acts of giving?
To learn how you can embrace strategic giving this season and year-round, please:
1. Contact the Foundation at 770-449-6726 or email@example.com.
2. View our “Giving with the Foundation” brochure here.
3. Visit gumfplannedgiving.org.
A Reassuring Word From the Foundation
In this brief video, Georgia United Methodist Foundation President and CEO Mathew A. Pinson and Regional Vice President Dr. Rick Lanford provide a word of reassurance to our partners about the Foundation's ability to serve the entire Methodist family of Georgia.
Play the video here or read the transcript below.
Mathew: Hi friends, I’m Mathew Pinson, president and CEO of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.
Rick: And I’m Rick Lanford, regional vice president and clergy member of the South Georgia Annual Conference.
Mathew: Rick and I spend a lot of time in conversation with one another and with Methodists across the State of Georgia talking about the Foundation and our purpose. At the Foundation, our purpose is totally focused on elevating and advancing the mission of the church.
Rick: That’s right, Mathew. The Foundation is here to add to the ministries of the church as a partner offering faith-based financial solutions that enable us all to be good stewards of the financial resources that are entrusted to us by God. One of the questions we often receive is “what happens to GUMF and the funds invested by a congregation if a church does decide to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church?”
Mathew: And the answer, Rick, is simple. Nothing! Several years ago, the Foundation’s board of trustees took steps to amend appropriate governing documents to allow us to be ministry partners with congregations or agencies with historic ties to the Methodist Church in Georgia. This means, that the Foundation is able to remain a trusted partner for you as we advance our mission to provide faith-based financial solutions that align with Christian principles. Again, our purpose is totally focused on supporting you, your mission, and we believe that this is inspired by God.
Rick: Thank you for trusting the Foundation. Know that we pray for you, your ministry and we are here to support you in any way possible. Please give us a call if we can assist you, your church, agency, school, college, or even university.
Mathew: We are intentionally standing here at this baptismal font because Rick and I, along with our Foundation colleagues, believe that God is doing amazing work in the world and across the State of Georgia. The water in this font reminds us that we are baptized and called by God, and through the covenant of baptism, we are all one in Christ Jesus! Grace to you and peace!
Rick: And may God bless.
Gifting Securities to Your Church
Giving appreciated assets such as publicly traded stocks, mutual funds, or bonds held more than one year is a great, tax-effective way to support your church. Please reach out if you would like the Georgia United Methodist Foundation to assist you with directing appreciated securities to your church, which eliminates potential capital gains taxes to the donor. The tax code is very generous toward this form of giving. This strategy also results in a more significant gift to the church.
Here are some tips to ensure your transaction goes as planned.
- If your church has a brokerage account for this purpose, provide your broker with transfer instructions from your church.
- If your church does not have a separate brokerage account but does have an account with the Foundation, call us for instructions to give to your broker to transfer the shares to the Foundation for your church’s account. Unfortunately, brokerage houses often do not disclose the donor’s name or the beneficiary when transferring stocks. Therefore, please alert the Foundation and your church in advance of ordering the transfer. Be sure to provide the stock name and number of shares.
- Contact the Foundation at 770-449-6726 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.