More Than Money
Issue #10

Learning From Each Other

Table of Contents

“Eat My Cake and Have It, Too”

I worked all my life selling cancer insurance. When I retired, the stock the company gave me way back had grown to $400,000. Although the dividends were only $4,000/ year, I couldn't sell the stock and reinvest for higher income because the capital gains on it were so high.

Then I learned about Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT's). They were explained to me like this: whatever money you have consists of two parts. The first part you get to keep--your personal financial capital, which you can spend and pass on to your children. The second is destined by law to go towards uses beyond you and your family--usually through taxes. No matter what, you can't keep this "personal social capital." But if you set up a Charitable Remainder Trust, you can have control over where this money goes, which is certainly not the case if you give it to Uncle Sam.

I liked that a lot, so I got help setting up a CRT. Although that officially means I have "given away" the $400,000, it doesn't feel that way. First of all, I now receive $40,000/year income from it for the rest of my life (as well as years of major tax breaks for the donation.) That's ten times what I used to receive, because the charitable trust could sell and reinvest that stock with no capital gains. Secondly, I am directing my personal social capital to fund cancer prevention when I die. That feels mighty good, given that my livelihood all those years was based on people's fear of cancer. Given all the benefits, why don't more people know about CRT's and use them?

Are there other More than Money readers who have charitable remainder trusts or are considering them? I'd be interested to hear from you. You can reach me, Francis Breard, c/o More than Money 2244 Alder St , Eugene , OR 97405

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