The Giving-While-Living Shift
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The Giving-While-Living Shift

Three times the number of donors adopted giving-while-living timelines in the last decade.

By Karen Hube
Tue, Dec 14, 2021 11:35amGrey Clock 3 min

A sense of urgency to solve global environmental and social issues is driving profound changes in how wealthy families are structuring their philanthropic plans. Traditional models, which aim to pay out charitable gifts for generations, are increasingly being replaced by plans that emphasise immediacy over perpetuity.

Three times the number of donors adopted giving-while-living timelines in the decade beginning in 2010, compared with the 1990s—38% of respondents versus 12%, according to a 2020 survey by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York City. Of those, 76% chose to spend down philanthropic assets within 15 years, the survey found.

This trend is likely to continue, says Olga Tarasov, Munich-based director of knowledge development for Rockefeller Philanthropy. “There’s anecdotal evidence that the inequalities brought to the surface by the pandemic have accelerated this trend,” she says.

While the issues addressed by donors are the same regardless of time frame, environmental causes are particularly benefiting by the rising spend-down trend, Tarasov says. “When you look at reasons for giving, the environment is a higher priority for spend-down philanthropic plans.”

The giving-while-living trend is driven by a desire by donors to witness the impact of their gifts, says Dien Yuen, assistant professor of philanthropy at the American College of Financial Services. “The Gates Foundation started this and many have followed. They want to push money out the door now to see things in action.”

Tax planning is also a factor, especially during the longest bull market in history, when investors are sitting on enormous investment gains.

“There’s a big tax benefit to using securities to make gifts while alive,” says Andy Rosenberger, head of tax managed solutions at Orion Advisor Solutions in Omaha, Neb. “You don’t have to realize gains when you give them away and you create a charitable deduction that can offset income elsewhere.” When bequeathed at death, a charitable deduction isn’t permitted.

For folks who have a multigenerational charitable foundation but want to shift to a spend-down strategy within a shorter time frame, legal issues may have to be addressed.

“Charters of a foundation or family office often stipulate a timeline, and the default setting is in perpetuity,” says Tarasov. “But changing is difficult if a family is divided.”

Embracing Lifetime Giving

Most wealthy families aren’t committing to sunsetting all philanthropic assets by the end of their life expectancies, but are doing some of both—giving now and setting up foundations for giving over generations—says Caroline Hodkinson, head of philanthropic advisory at Bessemer Trust in New York. “There’s a spectrum, and most of our clients are in the middle.”

There is a notable difference in how clients approach giving during life versus at death, most notably, a stronger desire for both control over how gifted assets will be used and evidence of impact, says Crystal Thompkins, head of philanthropic solutions at BNY Mellon Wealth Management. “The lifetime mission involves a more dynamic conversation. Clients want to see diversity in leadership. Track records on success,” she says.

The Lifetime Giving Tool Kit

Lifetime donors must carefully weigh various charitable tools, Thompkins says. “It used to be that the uberwealthy focused on private foundations and donor-advised funds were considered only good for chequebook philanthropy,” she says. “But that’s shifting, because you can use donor-advised funds in really creative ways to meet lifetime planning goals.”

Charitable lead trusts are attractive when interest rates are low. Donors get a larger income tax deduction for the amount transferred to the trust when rates are low, Thompkins says.

The trust pays annual income to charity, and at the end of its term, remaining assets go to beneficiaries. They require in-depth planning because they have tax, estate-planning, and legal implications, Thompkins says. “That trust conversation has been deprioritized at a time where there is a sense of urgency around meeting need.”


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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