How to start planned giving under 40

Remember learning about how to set up a budget, apply for loans, and be financially literate?

If you’re scratching your head right now thinking, “No, um, I actually don’t,” then don’t worry, you’re not alone. We learn all about math, science, literature, and maybe even art during school but few of us actually had a class dedicated to personal finances.

The result? You might be really good at finding the area under a curve or distinguishing syntax from diction, but putting a budget plan together or deciding how to financially support causes you care about can feel like the equivalent of assembling a new dresser and nightstand from a certain nondescript Scandinavian furniture company.

Yet knowing how to set up a budget, stick to it, and become financially literate will come in handy more than knowing how many wives Henry VIII had (the answer is six). So we think it’s time someone started talking about it.

The good news is you don’t have to enroll in a four-credit college course to start learning about budgets, estate plans, wills, and the like. And the best news? You don’t need to have a budget 100% figured out to start thinking about planned giving.

For those of you who are interested in starting your journey to creating a budget we recommend the following:  

Mint (free)

Wally (free)

YNAB (small fee)


Budgets, while not 100% necessary for planned giving, can help you avoid the oh-dear-what-are-my-finances face that Brad is making in this photo.


How to include giving in your finances

Whether or not you have a solid budget plan in place, you’re probably wondering, “How can I include planned giving or giving in general?”

Below are some options to think about with yourself, your spouse, a good friend, or family member. If any of these tips seem like a good fit for your current season of life, download our Christian guide to planned giving under 40 and get a free template to help you have a successful meeting with your financial planners.


Including planned giving through a will or trust

Level of budget-related stress required (2 of 5 stars)

You don’t need a finely tuned budget to involve planned giving in your will or trust. And no matter your age, having a will in place is a good idea. A will informs people exactly how you want your belongings and finances to be used to bless others after you have gone home to be with Jesus. In your will you are able to list certain people or nonprofit organizations as the “beneficiaries” or recipients of certain items or funds.

Setting up a will takes time, but you are far better off having a will in place than you are without one. Plus, having a will sets you apart from 60% of Americans who don’t have a will in place according to a 2019 study by SSRS and

Learn more about how to set up your will here.  


Fitting recurring gifts into your budget

Level of budget-related stress required (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Recurring gifts are one way that you can ensure a monthly gift is made to the organizations and/or nonprofits of your choosing. Working this kind of giving into your financial plan may take some adjusting as these gifts are made while you are still living whereas planned giving gifts are made after you have passed away. Because these gifts are made on a regular basis it is important to make sure the amounts you give fit into your current financial budget.

We recommend starting with a percentage, say 5% of your income, that you set aside for giving monthly or annual gifts. As you are able, increase that amount to help support the causes that you care about.

The more you are able to make it a routine practice, the easier it will be to see it fitting into your budget.


Using your life insurance plan as part of planned giving

Level of budget-related stress required (3 of 5 stars)

In an earlier blog guest blogger Alicia talked about the importance of having a life insurance plan in place, especially as a young parent. Similar to involving planned giving through a will or trust, using life insurance is another way to set aside funds to be gifted to an organization or nonprofit in the future. Having a more solid understanding of your budget here will help you make the most informed decision as to how much money you should set aside to go into your life insurance plan.


With these tips, you too can be just as excited about your financial future as Jessica, Brittney, and Chip are about being done with finals. 

While having a budget is helpful for decreasing your level of budget-related stress, you don’t need to have everything figured out 100% before you start thinking about planned giving. As you discuss each option you can start to formulate the questions you might want to ask a financial advisor, attorney, or wise family member or friend.



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