Of Counsel: Winton C. Smith, Jr., JD
Quote for today: "We are thankful for the food we are about to eat." so begins the annual appeal of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina which services 34 NC counties.
Salute to Clients and Friends: In recognition of the continued support of clients and friends Connell & Associates has made a major gift to purchase 2,500 meals for hungry North Carolina residents.
Wishing you peace and good will in the new year.
Picture of the Christmas Tree above is from a 2010 trip to Prague: Illuminating the Gothic facades of Prague's Old Town Square. It casts its glow over the manger display of the famous Christmas market. It is a grand tree cut in the Sumava mountains in the southern Czech Republic.
What does it cost for the 12 days of Christmas?.....PNC Bank annually tracts the price index for the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and for the first time it passes $100,000. The most expensive item is Seven Swans-a-Swimming at $6,300. The lowest cost is Eight Maids-a-Milking at $58.00 as it is represented by the minimum wage for unskilled laborers @ $7.25 per hour.
New Gift Annuity Rates Effective January 1, 2012.....The American Council on Gift Annuities has announced new gift annuity rates for 2012. This is the result of the decreasing return on fixed income bond component of the ACGA investment return assumption. Handouts from both the Sharpe Group and Crescendo further explain the rational for change.
If you would like a laminated rate chart for the 2012 rates simply request one using the following E-mail request.
Tax Planning for 2012.....Although many of us don’t start thinking about next year’s taxes until after we pay this year’s, for many taxpayers — both seniors and those of us who work with seniors —it is often helpful to look ahead. This is especially true if we have income that we are not sure whether to take this year or defer into next year.
In late October, the IRS released 2012 inflation-adjusted tax numbers, taking into account the 3.6% inflation rate between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.
In addition to the income tax changes noted below, 2012 will see the first inflation adjustment to the exclusion amount for estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes, which will increase from $5,000,000 to $5,120,000.
Some of the 2012 income tax adjustments include:
Additional Standard Deduction
for Aged and/or Blind
Personal Exemption All taxpayers (for each dependent).......$3,800
2012 Tax Bracket Breakpoints
Random Thoughts on Marketing to Seniors.....Any marketing to a senior has to make them identify with the item, product or program and make it feel as if they can benefit personally for it.
Focus your marketing message on the "Feel Age" not the "Real Age." The expression you're only as old as you feel actually has some scientific truth and brings with it a lesson for marketers. Focus on their cognitive age or feel age with your programs. Those with younger outlooks than their actual age generally are in better health, in turn, influences personal economics, life satisfaction and attitudes toward aging and activities.
Build Trust and use peer influencers. Seniors generally buy what everyone else buys, but they tend to spend more time on researching the value of the product or program in determining how they will spend their money or make a gift. Customer satisfaction is high on their list in building trust.
Age segmentation is a critical factor in creating relevant and appropriate messages on your web site or in e-mail messages. In e-mail messages keep it short and have a call to action in a prominent place. Consider a short e-mail that directs them to your web site where they can do a personal example of how a gift annuity would work for them.
ALWAYS list a person to contact on your web site about planned gift information. Seniors like to talk to people not departments. Fewer than 30% of my recent random searches of planned gift web site information had the name of personal contacts listed, bad practice.
Legacy Society Examples.....Peridically I like to link to examples of Legacy Society web listings that capture the simplicity and the sprit of legacy giving. The followings is taken directly from the Texas Children's Hospital planned gift section. It is a little hard to find so scroll down and you will be able to link directly to the society listing. A small suggestion is it should be more prominently listed on the left side menu as an optional link. Note how it has the personal link and contact information mentioned above.
The Abercrombie Society
The J.S. and Lillie Abercrombie Society was created to recognize and thank those individuals who have included Texas Children’s Hospital in their estate plans. Members of this honorary group have named Texas Children's Hospital as a beneficiary of a will, trust, life insurance policy, retirement plan or other deferred gift arrangement. Texas Children’s Hospital is committed to carrying out, with utmost care, the charitable plans of these friends.
The Abercrombie Society was established in 1994 to honor J.S. and Lillie Abercrombie, whose kindness, foresight and generosity helped create Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest freestanding pediatric hospital in the country. In addition to receiving notices to seminars, lectures and events, Abercrombie Society members are recognized in publications of Texas Children’s Hospital, unless they choose to remain anonymous. The Society also hosts gatherings that enable us to show our appreciation to these individuals.
To join the Abercrombie Society, please share with Texas Children’s Hospital your intention to include the hospital in your estate plans. Membership in the Abercrombie Society is not based upon gift amount. We are very grateful for your remembering Texas Children’s Hospital – for all gifts – no matter their size. We hope that you will contact us about your plans and that you will allow us to thank and recognize you – providing an inspiration to others who may follow in your footsteps.
Call Geri Jacobs at 832-824-2718 or e-mail email@example.com for more details about the Abercrombie Society or to join.
News and Notes....NERVOUS FOLKS - Less than 1 in 4 Americans surveyed (23%) are “very confident” that they will have sufficient assets to pay for basic living expenses in their retirement years. Just 1 year ago, almost half of the Americans surveyed (42%) were “very confident” in their ability to pay those same basic living expenses. Nearly 1,500 workers participated in the latest survey in September 2011 (source: Sun Life).
BIGGEST CONCERN - 31% of over 2,000 Americans adults surveyed indicate their greatest financial concern in retirement is running out of money (source: Franklin Templeton).
AT THE TOP - The wealthiest 1% of American households have 36% of the total net worth of all citizens, i.e., the wealthiest 1% out of 119 million households have a collective net worth of $20.7 trillion out of the $57.4 trillion total net worth nationwide (source: Census Bureau, Federal Reserve).
WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? - 30% of “middle class” Americans ages 60-69 have accumulated retirement savings less than $25,000 (source: Wells Fargo).
MORE TO THE TOP - The top 10% of taxpayers in the US reported 43% of the nation’s adjusted gross income (AGI) based upon 2009 tax data. The remaining 90% of taxpayers reported the other 57% of AGI. In 1980, the top 10% of taxpayers reported 32% of the country’s AGI and the remaining 90% of taxpayers reported the other 68% of AGI (source: Internal Revenue Service).
BUYING POWER - Inflation has increased the level of prices in the USA +64% over the last 20 calendar years, an annual increase of +2.5%. Thus, an individual retiring on 12/31/90 on a fixed-income (i.e., with no cost-of-living adjustment) would have 61% of the purchasing power as of 12/31/10 that he/she originally had (source: DOL).
CRAZY NUMBERS - A child born in 2011 that begins kindergarten in the fall of 2016 would attend college between the years of 2029 and 2033. If that child attended an average private 4-year college and if the annual price increases for private colleges experienced over the last 30 years (+6.2% per year) continued into the future, the aggregate 4-year cost of the child’s college education (including tuition, fees, room & board) would total $501,000 or $125,000 per year (source: College Board).
In this section I periodically highlight some recent gift expectancies and gift program elements I think will be helpful and informative, not all gifts are included.
Will return in 2012 with the good news from clients of the gift successes.
James E. Connell and Associates is a national consulting service devoted to increasing resources for charities using the power of charitable estate and gift planning techniques.
office: PO Box 3335, Pinehurst, NC 28374
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