Planned Giving for Christian Millennials: 4 Easy Ways to Plan Today
“Christians shouldn’t talk about money.”
How often have we heard that statement thrown about? Whenever a Christian organization brings up finances, this seems to be the refrain uttered throughout the narthex and the chapel. However, I beg to differ: because we are Christians, we must talk about money. Why?
Because it’s not ours. We’re managing God’s money here on earth, teaching our kids how to manage God’s money here on earth, and being examples of Christ through our everyday living (which, at least in my city, requires money).
Recently, my husband and I began exploring another element of managing God’s money: planned giving. These are four ways we’ve started to plan for giving our money in our future (whether we’re alive or after we’ve passed), and I think these planned giving techniques could be applied to any millennial life.
Talking about planned giving with your spouse is even more enjoyable when paired with a warm cup of coffee.
1. Create a will or estate plan
Create a will or estate plan that specifies exactly who in your life should receive any assets you leave behind. Recipients (called “beneficiaries” in a will) could include your children, parents, other relatives, and organizations you care about, such as your church or Kingdom Workers.
2. Talk to the people in your life
Talk to the people in your life about the plans in your will. You’ll designate one person as the executor of your estate; this person is responsible for actually implementing your plan, so it’s important they understand what you want done and why, so they’re able to make the most informed decisions if needed. Additionally, talk to the people listed as beneficiaries in your will. Yes, this conversation can be both awkward and a bit morbid. It was for us (there was a lot of glancing around and heavy sighs and some foot shuffling). But consider how much better off you and your family will be if something happens to you. I read a statistic somewhere: 100% of people managing God’s money have a chance of dying. Be sure your positive management of God’s money continues by having conversations around your planned giving now, rather than leaving your family to guess.
3. Have a life insurance plan in place
Have a life insurance plan in place. As a young(ish) parent, I find this one incredibly important, if only for peace of mind. In the event of your death, life insurance money becomes part of your will. You’re able to name people or organizations as beneficiaries, and once again can carry out any legacy giving you have planned. Life insurance can provide for your spouse or children long-term, while also ensuring they have enough income that they can continue any giving you were doing together.
4. Start giving now
Start giving now. We can’t give much, but we’re establishing habits—both for ourselves and for our one-and-a-half year-old son to see. Right now, we give to church and we donate occasional one-time monetary donations to organizations that align with beliefs we hold dear. For us, that includes things like mission work, local homes for women with children, helping natural disaster victims, and dog shelters (seriously, who doesn’t want to help puppies in need?). For you or your family, that might be different—and that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re talking about it and establishing that these are important causes to you.This will make carrying on your legacy that much easier in your future.
Now, I’ll readily admit it: I’m a total nerd when it comes to researching finances and planning for the future. My husband is not; any conversation about finances or planning that lasts longer than 60 seconds causes his eyes to start to glaze over. So I need to be really efficient in our discussions on these topics.
We started with a conversation about our dreams for the future. Then we got really specific— what causes are important to us? What do we want to use God’s money to support?
We pray about these causes. We pray for our church and its leaders, that the money we’re giving would be used wisely. We pray for the recipients of our money, that it’s helpful to them and doesn’t somehow bring harm to their lives.
We’ve also started teaching our son about why giving—whether it’s an offering, a donation, time, talents, or something else—is important to us. We talk about it out loud and address what we’re doing and why. We’re hoping that this will help instill those same values in his life. This is also a form of planning for the future because we’re telling him about how we give now and plan to give in the future. I feel that because of our sinful nature, generosity and giving are learned and practiced, rather than natural behaviors. That’s why for us, it’s important to start teaching these skills at a young age.
Generosity and kindness are two important qualities to instill in your children.
These feel like really small steps right now but, God-willing, we have a lot of life to live and a lot of practice to get in as we get older. Between these positive giving habits and our planned giving steps, we pray that God will bless our efforts. And we pray the same for you as you consider how you, as a millennial parent or single person, might be able to do something similar!
For more information on how to go about the steps of putting a planned giving plan in place as a millennial, read our latest ebook.