Bank stocks cooled, and a better-than-expected jobs report strengthened expectations of an interest rate hike this month. But the markets appeared to have already priced the increase in, resulting in little change in stocks. For the week, the Dow rose 0.22 percent to close at 19,170.42. The S&P fell 0.91 percent to finish at 2,191.95, and the NASDAQ lost 2.65 percent to end the week at 5,255.65.
A Lock? – As of the close of trading on the Friday before the presidential election (Nov. 4), the bond market was showing a 67 percent chance of a rate hike at its Dec. 14 meeting. As of the close of trading on Friday, Nov. 25, the bond market was showing a 94 percent chance of a rate hike at its Dec. 14 meeting (source: Federal Reserve, BTN Research).
Whether we’re buying a personal item or investing in stocks, we try to achieve the best return for our expenditures. Some of us aren’t as careful when it comes to charitable giving. With over a million public charities in the United States and an ever-flowing stream of appeals, it’s easy to react emotionally to those that move us. But to have the greatest impact, we need to use our heads as well as our hearts. So here are a few tips for becoming a discriminating giver.
While diversification is usually a smart strategy for portfolios, the opposite is true for philanthropy. Concentrating on causes you care about most makes it easier to evaluate organizations’ effectiveness, achieve substantive change and avoid being inundated with subsequent solicitations.
You can look for a prospective charity on the three major charity watchdog sites: charitynavigator.org, charitywatch.org and give.org. These sites reveal how organizations spend money, protect donor privacy and govern themselves. To provide a measuring stick, Charity Navigator’s data shows nine out of 10 effective charities spend at least 65 percent of their budget on the programs and services they provide. You can also read a nonprofit’s annual report, audited financial statement and IRS Form 990, which will show salaries of the highest paid employees. But bear in mind, $150,000 is a typical salary for a talented leader of a multi-million dollar organization.1
Make your donations stretch further by seeing if there is a matching program through your employer or a generous donor. And give directly; professional fundraisers often keep 40 to 80 percent of the donations they take in.
To achieve tax advantages, verify the organization is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity by asking for a copy of its IRS determination letter. Be sure to keep a bank record, credit card statement or receipt along with the date of your donation for tax records. Remember, contributions are deductible in the year you mail a check or charge a credit card.
For more information on targeting your charitable efforts, give our office a call. We can also work with your tax advisor to help you and your causes get the most benefit from your gifts.
(We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.)
1“Top 10 Best Practices of Savvy Donors,” www.charitynavigator.org/
The Dorion-Gray Team
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning is a trade name of Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Dorion-Gray and the Securities America companies are separate, unaffiliated entities.
Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes. Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.
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