I was born and raised in Southern California. I graduated from USC in 1971 in Accounting and Statistics and went overseas to work in Iran for a couple of years. Back to USC for a Masters in International Business in 1975. Got married and went to work for KPMG, a large accounting and consulting firm and while there I got my CPA.
Living overseas and many years of consulting made me appreciate different ways to make things happen. Being open minded has served me well in looking at how best to solve issues. When one focuses on the needs of the individual, then better solutions appear.
I left KPMG and started my own consulting firm in 1985. Over the next 30+ years I kept our first client I had through all the years. Having learned to listen to people and help them solve their problems served me well.
Last year our two daughters took over full ownership and control of our company and I retired. So what do I want to do with the rest of my life?
In 2017 my wife and I decided to sell an office building we had owned for many years. The good news is the building had gone up significantly in value over those 20+ years. However, this can cause a Capital Gains issue. Being a CPA, a data nerd and having a well-developed curiosity, I went looking for alternatives.
I attended many of the sessions from the Financial and Estate Literacy seminars. Having known Pete Kote for many years through some non-profit boards, we met and he suggested looking at a Charitable Remainder Trust to defer, not remove the tax issue.
Over a couple of months, attending seminars and licensing the software that run charitable options for you, we elected to create a Charitable Reminder Unitrust and funded it with the building. The building was sold, the funds invested and now paying us an income. The trust has operated for several years and we remain convinced it was the right thing for us to do.
Before doing the trust we did not realize that you can give something away and still get money for life. That sounds a bit odd, but if structured effectively it all works. We get an income for the rest of our lives, the government gets their taxes over that time and when we have both died, the remainder of the money goes to the charities we designate.
The most important thing to us was to talk about what we wanted to do. What was best for our family. And give something to charity when we die. The trust accomplishes all that for us.
So after all this research and talking to a lot of people, I will be teaching the Charitable Giving sessions at this fall’s It’s Your Estate seminars around the county. A few years ago I would not have guessed that in my retirement I would be teaching seminars on charitable giving, but coming from a family that always believe in giving, I guess I should not have been surprised.