Giving Success story: The value of generosity
Laura Kuntz, CPA/PFS, MBT
Senior Wealth Manager / Founder
Laurel Wealth Planning
Laura Kuntz has used DAFs to help both her family and clients support important causes while saving tax dollars.
Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Laura has worked as a financial advisor since 1982. She joined Raymond James in 1998 and transitioned to an independent advisor with the firm in 2013. Throughout the years, she’s relied on both her professional and personal experience with DAFs to serve her charitably inclined clients.
“We are looking for the opportunity to utilize the DAF and make charitable gifts of appreciated property because it adds a lot of quantifiable value to a client’s situation,” she said. “What we can then report back to the client in our regular meetings is, ‘This has saved you X amount of capital gains tax or X amount of incremental tax benefit.’ Many times, these funds even have tax-free growth. And clients love that – they love seeing the value of what we do quantified.”
One of Laura’s clients – a consultant whose annual salary is $400,000 – plans to build her DAF for the next 10 years while she’s working and in a higher tax bracket. Laura explains that not only will this allow the client to have the money she needs for her charitable giving once she’s retired, but also to make her charitable contributions when she’s in a much higher tax bracket than when she’s retired.
In addition to helping clients meet their philanthropic goals, DAFs can be instrumental in estate planning, with some of Laura’s clients designating their DAF as the beneficiary of their individual retirement account (IRA) or using it to set up a scholarship fund in the name of their alma maters. Laura has also found that DAFs enable her to learn more about the causes that matter most to her clients, helping foster closer relationships.
“Years and years” ago, Laura opened a DAF through Raymond James for herself, a decision that was inspired by her desire to give to charity without having to discuss it with her husband each time. “A DAF can be a marvelous way to negotiate just once a year the amount of money you’re going to put aside for charity,” she said.
Opening a DAF has made charitable giving a straightforward, organized process and has inspired her husband to be increasingly generous. She and her husband even prefunded about four years of their annual giving during a time when charitable deductions were completely deductible, the markets were high and they had big, unrealized long-term gains.
“Charitable giving is all about feeling like you’re making a difference in the world – and a DAF is a beautiful, tax-efficient way to do that,” Laura said.