By Ken Fink & Sheryl Hill

There are tried-and-true financial processes to help you support your family and increase charitable giving while reducing tax liabilities and ultimately leaving a long-lasting legacy. Using sophisticated strategies, you can redirect taxes to the people and causes you care about.

It does not take a family fortune to leave a meaningful legacy and create impact.  Despite will bequests, it is amazing to note that only 9.5% of individuals who give $500 or more per year to charities do not have any provision in their will or estate plan for leaving funds behind to charity.  Why?

Failure to have an end-of-life plan is like gifting your legacy and life achievement to the Internal Revenue Service. Legacy can be defined to establish your values or accomplishments to help others find future success.

Take the time to plan your legacy.  Amazingly most people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do their lifetime legacy.  There are countless ways to leave a meaningful impact.  You can create a wealth impact with deep consideration to how and where your assets will benefit the people and causes you care most about.

At Depart Smart, the ‘WHY’ starts with a life-saving mission to help people like you who travel abroad identify and mitigate risks so you can get help and home safely in a $7.8 trillion travel and tourism industry with poor consumer protections.  Depart Smart is the only nonprofit working to solve the problem.

Small nonprofits, like Depart Smart, are good stewards and worthy recipients of year-end gifts.  They operate with low overhead maximizing charitable gifts to the greatest degree.

“Most people do not protect themselves with travel insurance, vaccinations, or even by registering their trips with the State Department or knowing important emergency numbers for fire, police, and ambulance.  It’s an awareness problem we are trying to solve.

“We know this problem personally.  Our sixteen-year-old son, Tyler, died a preventable death on a People to People student trip to Japan.  We are not looking for sympathy but to help people travel safely.”

“Traveling is an exciting enticement.  We want to give our loved ones the world.  We also want them to come home to us,” said Sheryl Hill, Depart Smart Founder and Executive Director.

“A charitable gift annuity is wind in our sails to achieve our dream of helping more than 25,000,000 Americans Depart Smart. We are very grateful to Ken Fink, CEO of Tamar Fink, for mentoring us. He helps us understand the benefits our family can yield with planned giving for a cause we believe in,” she said.

How will you be remembered?
What impact will your legacy have when you are gone?

Ken Fink shares some of the leading questions he has fielded to help families donate more than a billion dollars of their wealth:

  • If I leave a charitable legacy how will my children feel about my decision? How much is enough for my children?
  • Should I tell my kids?
  • Is there more than money to a legacy?
  • If I am only 50 or 60 years old, am I too young to think about leaving a legacy?
  • If my charitable legacy doesn’t get paid out for many years, how do I know it will have the impact I want it to have?
  • What’s the best asset to leave to charity? Do I have to decide now or can I leave it to my wife or my kids or even my lawyers to decide?
  • Should I leave retirement assets or stocks and bonds?
  • What about my house and my business?
  • How do I decide?
  • Who can I ask?


These are clarifying questions, followed by, “How can you use the time, resources and energy you have to create the MAXIMUM IMPACT possible? After helping many families contribute more than a billion dollars in charitable gifts, Ken Fink, CEO of Tamar Fink, says, “The simple answer is maximum leverage.”

Creatively blending tax, estate planning and financial tools together to minimize taxes and create maximum charitable impact are strategies used by some of the wealthiest people in America to achieve the greatest legacies. It is a choice.

Would you rather pay more taxes or give more to your family and a charity you believe in?

Like planting a tree, initial financial planning is the beginning of growing your life’s legacy. As the tree matures, like your portfolio, you can leave a legacy for future generations that will be around long after you are gone.

Here are some helpful aides:

  1. Create a vision. What kind of legacy would you like to leave? How do you want to be remembered? What are the most important things you would change if you could about this world?
  2. Discuss and decide how much is enough to leave for your kids and grandkids.
  3. Choose a charitable target and set goals. Some families treat the charity as if it were an additional child in their estate plan by dividing the estate by the number of children.
  4. Don’t wait, get your kids involved. They will love and respect you for leaving a legacy and be happy you chose to help make a difference for others.
  5. Give away assets that are highly taxed, such as low basis stocks, IRAs and retirement assets.
  6. Before you sell a business, find out if a charitable plan will result in more for you and your family after taxes.
  7. Maximize retirement income. There are charitable strategies that will generate guaranteed lifetime income and leave a legacy.
  8. Create the maximum impact with your wealth by exploring the many charitable strategies that our government has encouraged.
  9. Consider the MULTIPLIER IMPACT PLAN (See chart above.) It’s possible to create 3x, 5x or even 10x more impact than just writing a check through some specific financial products.
  10. Talk to your advisors about the options. If you don’t have an advisor who can help, find one.


There are plenty of good advisors that understand many of the options to help you create and leave an impactful legacy. can assist you. Please consider giving to Depart Smart, working to prepare you and the people you love for safe travels. Everyone should all come home to the people and places they love.


“It’s not how much we give but how much LOVE we put into giving.

― Mother Theresa


Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. 

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
― Ray Bradbury