Helping your clients do well by doing good
By Lauren Janus of Thoughtful Philanthropy
As a financial adviser, your clients count on you to help them remain financially secure throughout their lives. And that’s a massively important job—it’s a lot harder to live a fulfilling life if you run out of money by age 70.
But once your client is on firm financial footing, you are in a unique position to guide him or her in using all of their assets—their time, their treasure and their talents—to achieve a greater sense of wellbeing.
A number of years ago, Marcia retired from a rewarding career in social work. She looked forward to spending her golden years relaxing with her family, becoming a better book club member and lingering over art exhibitions on long holidays abroad.
But Marcia also knew that she wanted to continue supporting troubled youth in her community, despite no longer working for social services. Through the course of her career, Marcia had witnessed the misery that poor mental health can bring, particularly to young parents. She even had a granddaughter who struggled with depression.
So, when Marcia set out to plan her retirement, she intentionally set aside some of her time and financial assets for a local charity that works with young parents overcoming mental and emotional challenges.
Now approaching 80, Marcia still serves as a trustee of the Hampshire-based charity. She’s a dedicated volunteer at their weekly counselling session for young mothers. And she makes a generous donation to them—as well as several other charities that work on mental health—each Christmas.
The research on giving
Marcia will tell you that what she gets from her commitment to these charities is a sense of purpose and fulfilment. And a growing body of research supports Marcia’s experience. Neuroscientists using high resolution brain scans have found that the pleasure centres of the brain—those associated with food and sex—light up when we give to charity. Essentially, we as humans are hard wired to help each other, even when it means we lose something of value in return.
What’s more, social scientists have found that generosity at any stage of life is associated with good physical health, a lower incidence of depression, a greater sense of purpose in life, and a stronger sense of personal growth. Being useful and engaged in someone else’s struggle helps us live happier, healthier lives.
Starting the conversation about giving—resources for Financial Advisers
As a philanthropic adviser, I partner with financial advisers when they have clients who want to become more intentional, fulfilled philanthropic givers. Here are a few of the resources I’ve developed to help you guide your clients toward more meaningful giving and a grater sense of wellbeing overall.
• How to talk with your clients about charitable giving (and yes, their values)
• Do your clients want to volunteer in retirement? Here’s how to help.
• How to help your clients develop a charitable giving plan
If you have questions about giving or how to talk with your clients about what’s important to them, do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on twitter @laurenjanus.
Hear Lauren speak at The Financial Wellbeing Conference
Financial wellbeing is a subject that examines all aspects of the relationship between money and happiness.
A lot of financial wellbeing research and articles focus on the negative aspects of money, for example debt and budgeting. Whilst this is undoubtedly important, we also want to educate people on how they can use their money to make themselves happier.
This is the purpose of the Financial Wellbeing Conference. To provide advisers with the tools to create financial plans that will make their clients happier, not just wealthier.
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