Kent Blossom, CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) with the Everence Financial Advisors office in Kalona, said he can see the new tax laws helping to motivate people to think about their charitable giving patterns.
Because of a higher standard deduction allowed under the new tax laws, people may not be able to itemize their deductions (which includes their charitable contributions) like they have in years previously. This creates an opportunity for more extensive charitable planning.
Although he is not a tax advisor, Blossom noted some ways he has helped his clients explore ways to maximize their charitable giving under this new reality.
Gifting of commodities (like corn, soybeans, and milk) or cattle is a tremendous way for farmers to think charitably and provide a tax advantage.
Individuals or businesses who own stock or mutual fund shares that have experienced appreciation of value would also be a great source of gifting, according to Blossom. Also, for those who are age 70 ½ or older and who are required to take a minimum distribution from their IRA (individual retirement accounts), they may consider directing those distributions to a charity and not have to recognize the income in doing so.
“These are just some of the few examples to elevate the opportunity to think charitably,” Blossom noted.
Blossom added, “I’ve seen an increase in socially responsible investing opportunities, as well. The industry has shifted to bring more focus and attention in companies with regards to environmental, social and governance (employee management) issues. “
There will be a continued emphasis on how employers treat their employees as investors continue to engage in these conversations through shareholder advocacy voting and meetings with the companies they own through their investments, he added.
“We also specialize in senior benefits, including Medicare Supplement insurance,” he pointed out. “Joyce Garvin, our client services representative, has quickly become our leader in this area in helping individuals navigate through the nuances of the Medicare system. We are equipped to help individuals and businesses with their other insurance needs, including health, life and disability.”
“We also provide investment management services, Blossom said. Whether that is through mutual funds (including Praxis Mutual Funds, a socially responsible fund family owned by Everence) or other fund families available.”
Blossom pointed out that other investment management services provided by Everence include a retirement planning, trusts and estate administration, and a more robust investment management platform through their Everence Trust Company or the purchasing and selling of individual securities, including stocks.
“We are best known for our charitable services arm,” Blossom noted. “This includes providing charitable planning through advice, planned giving and endowment administration. We also can offer banking services, except teller transactions, through our Everence Federal Credit Union, a fully certified federal credit union.”
“We can offer checking and savings accounts, loans and other financial services as well as our new MyNeighbor Credit Card program that allows you to name a charity (neighbor) where they will receive a check in the amount of 1.5% of your total purchases for the year”, Blossom said. “Some credit cards allow you to collect points or rewards. This one allows you to give back to your favorite charity or church in a unique way.”
“Our goal at Everence is to help individuals, church congregations, businesses integrate their faith values with their financial decisions.” Blossom explained. “It is our unique way to help people align their goals and life mission with their financial decisions, to increase confidence in their financial future, and to empower them to give of their time, talent and resources to the people, causes and organizations they most deeply care about.
Kent Blossom works out of the Kalona office with the help from Joyce Garvin. Everence is headquartered in Goshen, Indiana, and employs more than 300 staff, advisors, and representatives at its corporate office and has approximately 20 retail locations across the United States. Kalona is home to one of those retail locations.
Everence Financial Advisors office is located 301 5th Street, across the street from Post Office in Kalona. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment at other times. Phone is 319-656-4242.
Kent and his wife, Theresa, live in rural Wellman with their two children: Meredith, 16, a sophomore at Iowa Mennonite School, and Jesse, 12, a 6th grader at Mid-Prairie Middle School. Kent and his family attend West Union Mennonite Church, near Parnell.