Sound Advice with Dorie Fain

April 24, 2018

Sound Advice is a charitably-minded series from BCF by professional advisors in Baltimore. Do you have advice to share with colleagues? Contact Rosemary Calderalo today.

Dorie Fain is the founder and CEO of &Wealth, a boutique financial advisory firm dedicated to helping women who are recreating their lives, with offices in New York City and Baltimore.

Dorie FainIt’s no secret anymore that women have tremendous power in the world of philanthropy. From individual giving, to legacy planned giving, to women’s giving circles that pool giving, to buildings in our names, to anonymous gift giving – women are a force in the charitable community. Women have harnessed the power of giving to make meaningful and sustainable impact around the world. 

That is why it is so interesting to observe the ease with which women will discuss their charitable giving as compared to how cautiously women share details of their investment portfolios, if at all. 

Unlike the dynamic around women and investing, talking openly about volunteer or donor engagement  is something we do together and talk about openly—and this is advantageous for women. It’s not at all taboo to ask another woman what causes she is involved in or what amount she has given to a particular organization. Charities publish giving levels that highlight people’s donations each year. This openness creates an even stronger connection and has set the tone of acceptance around being able to talk openly about this aspect of our financial decision making. 

As financial advisors, we often play a supporting role in guiding our clients about charitable giving. Typically, our work focuses on the technical aspects of giving, such as opening a donor-advised fund or a charitable trust, or how to give non-cash assets like a gift of low cost basis stock. I tend to lean toward simplicity and prefer not to make things more complicated than necessary. This favors donor-advised funds which offer a turnkey way to make a current year gift into a fund which offers flexibility related to timing the grants to charities of your choosing. 

One of my favorite things to give is a direct gift of low basis stock, or stock that was purchased at a price well below the current market value. This allows an individual to make a gift of stock at the fair market value and give away the appreciation that would have been taxable if sold and not donated to a qualified charity. The charity can receive this stock and sell it in the market without the tax impact. If given the choice of writing a check or donating low basis stock, I usually advise to gift the stock. 

As more women gain control of their own finances and women inherit the earth—which is projected to happen in earnest over the coming generation—it will be charitable organizations like the Baltimore Community Foundation that receive much of the benefit. As we continue to grow and evolve as women with our financial decision making, my hope is that the same ease that we have in discussing our philanthropy will carry over to our investment making decisions.

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