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Why and How to Give

By Steve Gaito

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For those of you who regularly read my column, thanks. This month will be a little different. I want to share a way to help non-profit organizations with your qualified retirement plans (IRA,401(k), and 403(b)). But first I would like to share why the YMCA is such an important organization to me and how you can help them.

In full disclosure, I have a long history with the YMCA. I also help them raise funds to support community programs. For most people, they think of the YMCA as a place where basketball started, a pool where they teach people to swim or a gym where people work out. While all this is true the YMCA is so much more.

In general membership fees pay for the operation of the facility and staff. This is why I have a membership with the YMCA. It helps keep the doors open. But that is only half of the story. I mentioned I have a long history with the YMCA. In fact, it goes all the way back to my grandparents. While cleaning out some boxes while we were moving I found a letter from my grandfather that said all he ever wanted to do was work for the YMCA. My grandmother actually played for one of the first women’s basketball teams. I started swimming with the YMCA when I was 6 years old and went through the youth program until I left for college. I have worked with their camps and was the Sr. Vice President for Camping for two of the largest YMCA camps in the world.

There are many stories that I can share, but there is one that stands out the most and the reason I raise money for the YMCA. When I was an assistant operations director. I worked out of the old downtown YMCA and since I had my commercial driver’s license I had the privilege of picking up inner-city boys and girls for an evening program. These were some rough kids, but they loved going to the YMCA. They would get picked up early in the evening and would swim or play in the gym. They would tease me as I drove the bus and criticize my basketball skills. I never had a problem in the pool but loved the fact that these kids would trust me to teach them how to swim. Many years later when I was at a fundraising event for the YMCA one of these kids came up to me and said you probably do not remember me, but I remember you. You saved my life. At first, I was a little confused because I surely would have remembered something as significant as saving a life. He later explained that he was one of the kids in that Y Guys program and that was the highlight of his week. It kept him in school and now he was an after-school counselor at the YMCA.

It is funny how things come full circle. When I was the assistant director I had little idea that this program was funded by the generous gifts of local businesses. It was and still is a program that changes lives. As I look at the YMCA here in Marion, I see a need. Not the same need, but a community leader that has and will always have more need than resources. I see the YMCA feeding the community in a time of need. I see them teaching kids how to swim. I see them hosting Bible studies, I see them caring for children. I see them encouraging healthy lives through spirit mind and body. I see the YMCA as so much more than a membership. It is also why I give and encourage others to give to this great organization. This is because my membership is for me to use the facilities, but my gift is for others to benefit from all they have to give. In these challenging times if you have the resources will you consider partnering with the YMCA to help those in need in our area? I personally am trying to raise $20,000 for a youth leadership program and I need 20 businesses or individuals to give at least $1,000 each to make this happen. This can be paid in several ways that fit your budget.

Like the young man who now works for the YMCA in Raleigh, you have to invest in them now to make a difference tomorrow. Please join me.

If you are age 70 or older this is important to know if you make charitable contributions. With the Trump tax laws came the increase in the standard deduction to $12,200 per person for 2019 or $24,400 per couple. This made tax filing much easier, but also minimized the impact that charitable contributions have on your taxes. Before every contribution was taken from the amount of your income that was taxed, with the change it only makes sense if your contributions and interest exceed your standard deduction. This change has had an impact on charitable organizations. But what is not widely known is that if you are over 70 and have a qualified retirement plan you can still claim your standard deduction and a gift from your Qualified plans to benefit from both. Normally any distribution from your IRA for example is subject to income tax and up to this year you had to withdraw a certain amount of money to satisfy your required minimum distributions (RMD’s) starting at age70 ½. With the SECURE Act, this age was moved out to age 72 if you had not reached age 70 ½ by January 1, 2020. These distributions often created additional tax consequences for money that was not needed. Here is where you can benefit from what is known as qualified charitable distributions (QCD). This allows you to directly give to a qualified charity without having it characterized as income. So as an example. Let’s say that you want to give $10,000 to the YMCA to help develop young leaders. If you don’t take advantage of the QCD you would give the $10,000 and if it is less than $24,400 for a couple receive no additional tax break. If you pull it out of your IRA you will pay the taxes and still get no further benefit on your taxes. So, in essence, your gift costs you the taxes you pay on the gift to the YMCA. Now if you are over age 70 you can still get your standard deduction and if you gift it directly from your IRA you do not have to pay the taxes on the money. This saves you money, helps a great organization and you still get all your standard deduction. The net result is you can give more without any tax consequences. There is a limit to this of $100,000 per year, but if you want to give more give me a call and I can connect you with people that can help structure your gifts to minimize your taxes. Is this not a great deal? If you have questions please feel free to reach out to me. I am glad to help you give to the YMCA, your church, or any other charitable organization.

You can read more from Steve Gaito HERE.


Steve is owner of Faith Based Health Care and Retirement Resource Management. He is a National Speaker on the topic of Social Security optimization, quoted in national publications like Money Magazine, US News and World Reports and Fox Business. Steve loves to educate and teach on financial topics like taxation of retirement accounts, long term care, healthcare, and efficient savings plans for small businesses. He has provided financial planning for missionaries through the International Mission Board. You can find Steve at 68 South Main St. in Marion, NC by calling 828-559-0299, email or visit his website at