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Those Who Tithe, What About Inheritance?
Old 12-07-2007, 11:55 AM   #1
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Those Who Tithe, What About Inheritance?

I started reading thse older threads on tithing because that I have a question for those who tithe, no matter what your percentages are: if you received a large inheritance, would you tithe according to your tithe percentage, or would you make it a lump sum of whatever you feel moved to tithe? Or would you do something else?

I know God loves a cheerful giver, and I so want to be willingly done, but my before expenses, before taxes inheritance is about $1M (after expenses, etc. is about $830K). $100K (or even $80K) is a lot to give to my small church of 100 people. So I'm just wondering what others would do (without my asking my clergy).

I don't normally give tithing too much thought - we give an arbitrary amount that is less than 10%, but this exercise has motivated me to give 10% of our gross income starting 2008. Edited to add that it's not because I HAVE to but because I want to now that I'm able to.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:21 PM   #2
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Since you asked, these thoughts came to mind...

I still remember a sermon our preacher gave about tithing. Seems that a man came to him complaining that 10% of his salary was too much to give away and that he felt uncomfortable giving more than $100. The preacher said let's pray about your dilemma. The preacher began to pray..."Lord, this man cannot bring himself to tithe more than $100 dollars and he is bothered by his feelings. So Lord, please help him out by reducing his earnings so he can give $100 and it will be the 10% that belongs to you."

My mom always said you can't out give the Lord.

No offense intended to those who don't believe in God, nor to those who do.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:22 PM   #3
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If you are inclined to give (your personal choice), find out about charitable giving trusts, accounts and other tools to take maximum advantage of tax breaks while allowing you to meter funds into your church or other charity over a period of time. It might be more practical, since you belong to a relatively small congregation, to be sure your gift doesn't change their financial management in a way that causes them to struggle after the gift is depleted. For example, you could give $100/wk plus support a few special projects over time.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:00 PM   #4
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If you are inclined to give (your personal choice), find out about charitable giving trusts, accounts and other tools to take maximum advantage of tax breaks while allowing you to meter funds into your church or other charity over a period of time.
What Youbet said-- while you're rendering unto the Lord, there's no reason to render a bunch of it unto Caesar too. There are deductions for gifts of cash and appreciated stock, and by adjusting those donations to your AGI you could really put a dent in your tax bill.

There's also the possibility of donating a lump sum to a charitable remainder trust, which can result in tax-free income over a period of time. Many fine charities will be glad to send a limo and a CPA to your house to discuss the details.

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It might be more practical, since you belong to a relatively small congregation, to be sure your gift doesn't change their financial management in a way that causes them to struggle after the gift is depleted. For example, you could give $100/wk plus support a few special projects over time.
When I was on the board of a nonprofit I watched the leadership struggle every year to figure out both a budget that handled a member's huge donation (nearly 50% of spending) and a bare-bones contingency that could survive without it. It was next to impossible to convince these generous souls that a portion of each donation should be put in CDs or a bond fund to generate some income for the future possibility that the gravy train might stop. Instead they ramped up the spending (admittedly for a good cause) to match the donations.

Until this year, when the gravy train stopped (after seven years) with no explanation. It wasn't pretty, and it could have been handled much more smoothly if (1) the high-net-worth donor had remained anonymous and (2) the donor had communicated a long-range plan with the board.

Rockefeller & Ted Turner have set a genius precedent with challenges and matching funds, too. Those campaigns encourage a charity to get behind the donor's offer by leveraging their contribution to 2x or even 3x.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:50 PM   #5
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retiringby50,

I used to regularly tithe 10% of gross to our church before the divorce. I haven't tithed since the divorce was requested by my ex.

You can of course never count on such things, but I may get an inheritance of roughly that same order of magnitude some time in the future. It helps that my parents have given very generously to their church and the community over the years.

Back when I did tithe, my thoughts were to not tithe on the initial inheritance but to tithe on any subsequent income it earned before I retired any withdrawals I made from the pile after I retired. If you go back and read the OT example of Abraham's tithe, it actually seems to me like it was 10% of his net worth, not 10% of his income. But then again that was a one time thing anyhow.

As to Nords' comments, back when we were still tithing and I was making a pretty good salary, we joined a small church for a while. There were about 35-40 people and most were probably making an average to below average wage. We just quietly tithed our 10% but I think we probably caused the pastor and the staff some grief. Even though in theory the pastor is supposed to be shielded from who are big donors and who are not, I think he figured it out just because he sort of treated us differently after we dropped off our first check. They did upgrade the nursery and were talking about moving into a larger building, but we left before that happened.

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Old 12-07-2007, 02:08 PM   #6
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.... $100K (or even $80K) is a lot to give to my small church of 100 people. ....
We consider all "charitable contributions" together. Our local congregation gets about half.

If you want to keep the money "in the church", I expect your church belongs to a national organization that does lots of good work. You can probably find something you're enthused about on their list of activities.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:42 PM   #7
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I don't mean to offend anyone, but frankly I'm shocked to learn that so many people still "tithe" money to the church. Large donations to charities in general by retirees don't surprise me, because I suppose after the bills are paid and you've spent all you're interested in spending, if there's money left over, why not give it to charity. I can understand that.

However I'm surprised to see the magnitude some people are willing to handicap themselves while still trying to accumulate a nest egg. I was vaguely aware of some historical passages in the Bible regarding tithing, but I thought it died off centuries ago, like many other religious practices. It certainly seems strange to me that so many people would consider it "normal" to just hand over 10% (!) of their money to a church. Maybe it's a generational thing. If so, I suspect most churches are in a lot of trouble, as I don't believe "tithing" is very prevalent among my peers.

My wife and I don't give anywhere near that much to charitable organizations. We don't attend church (save for Christmas, weddings, and funerals), but we do donate our leftover change to charity at the end of the year. However, that rarely adds up to much more than a couple hundred dollars.

I rationalize it by reminding myself of all the taxes we pay. Adding up federal and provincial income taxes, plus property taxes, gas taxes, employment insurance, sales tax, and GST, that's already well over 50% of our income being skimmed off to the government. That's being spent on hospitals, education, and social programs. So I already believe that we're contributing well above average to society's social safety net.

Furthermore, given that we have no kids and no plans for any, we intend to leave our estate to charity (the front runner is currently the SPCA) after we're done with it. So I guess in that sense, we'll be giving everything to charity - they'll just have to wait for it.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:44 PM   #8
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Since you asked, these thoughts came to mind...

I still remember a sermon our preacher gave about tithing. Seems that a man came to him complaining that 10% of his salary was too much to give away and that he felt uncomfortable giving more than $100. The preacher said let's pray about your dilemma. The preacher began to pray..."Lord, this man cannot bring himself to tithe more than $100 dollars and he is bothered by his feelings. So Lord, please help him out by reducing his earnings so he can give $100 and it will be the 10% that belongs to you."

My mom always said you can't out give the Lord.

No offense intended to those who don't believe in God, nor to those who do.
Wow, I posted a reply, and my post didn't get through, or the site took a hit. Maybe I shouldn't be posting what I did in this thread? :confused:

Nah, I'll post again.

I'd have walked out on that sermon, and never come back. I don't even want to think about what I'd have done if I'd have been the guy the story was about, though I wouldn't have felt insecure enough to look for permission to give less than what was asked. Do you think that guilt trip really worked on anyone?
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:00 PM   #9
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Wow, I posted a reply, and my post didn't get through, or the site took a hit. Maybe I shouldn't be posting what I did in this thread? :confused:

Nah, I'll post again.

I'd have walked out on that sermon, and never come back. I don't even want to think about what I'd have done if I'd have been the guy the story was about, though I wouldn't have felt insecure enough to look for permission to give less than what was asked. Do you think that guilt trip really worked on anyone?
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:30 PM   #10
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I don't mean to offend anyone, but frankly I'm shocked to learn that so many people still "tithe" money to the church............

........I'm surprised to see the magnitude some people are willing to handicap themselves while still trying to accumulate a nest egg.
This can easily be extrapolated to cover any endeavor that doesn't contribute to your own personal financial well being.

Why do people give time and money to fraternal organizations such as Lions Club or Shriners, volunteer time to activities such as helping in a hospital or hospice, give up high paying careers to become teachers through Peace Corps or Vista, help handicapped folks through Easter Seals, work as a Red Cross volunteer during a disaster, etc., etc.

It takes a bit of selfless attitude and a lot of guts to give to others what you could keep for yourself..........especially if you're not Bill and Melinda Gates. My hat is off to all who give of their time and money.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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I rationalize it by reminding myself of all the taxes we pay. Adding up federal and provincial income taxes, plus property taxes, gas taxes, employment insurance, sales tax, and GST, that's already well over 50% of our income being skimmed off to the government. That's being spent on hospitals, education, and social programs. So I already believe that we're contributing well above average to society's social safety net.
Might be a difference in Canadian taxes. For me, I prefer to send the money where I want vs. the govt. I fund the things that are important to me - my house, my retirement, my kids, college, and my charities. I get tax advantages for each. Last year on an over 6 figure income I only paid $3,533 in income tax.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:11 PM   #12
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However I'm surprised to see the magnitude some people are willing to handicap themselves while still trying to accumulate a nest egg. I was vaguely aware of some historical passages in the Bible regarding tithing, but I thought it died off centuries ago, like many other religious practices. It certainly seems strange to me that so many people would consider it "normal" to just hand over 10% (!) of their money to a church. Maybe it's a generational thing. If so, I suspect most churches are in a lot of trouble, as I don't believe "tithing" is very prevalent among my peers.
See the parable of the Rich Fool

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

14Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" 15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

And yes some people still believe this stuff I understand the principle can be abused, just like anything, but giving is still a sound principle.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:15 PM   #13
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I know God loves a cheerful giver, and I so want to be willingly done, but my before expenses, before taxes inheritance is about $1M (after expenses, etc. is about $830K). $100K (or even $80K) is a lot to give to my small church of 100 people. So I'm just wondering what others would do (without my asking my clergy)
If I was in your situation I would "donate" the money to a Fidelity Charitable Gift fund and then distribute "grants" over time to ministries/churches that I wanted to support. I agree that a large cash infusion can do more harm than good in many situations.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:25 PM   #14
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Anyone else wonder if God ever considers accelerating his cashflow by killing off a few well heeled people?
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:49 PM   #15
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If I was in your situation I would "donate" the money to a Fidelity Charitable Gift fund and then distribute "grants" over time to ministries/churches that I wanted to support.
The tax deduction is taken when the money lands at the Fidelity donor-advised fund, not when the grant is distributed to a charity/non-profit.

So for maximum tax deductions it's generally better to donate the money over a period of years (up to the deductible limit of the taxpayer's AGI), not all at once. But each person's tax situation can be different, and it may make sense to donate a large lump sum for a charitable annuity.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:58 PM   #16
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Wow, I posted a reply, and my post didn't get through, or the site took a hit. Maybe I shouldn't be posting what I did in this thread? :confused:

Nah, I'll post again.

I'd have walked out on that sermon, and never come back. I don't even want to think about what I'd have done if I'd have been the guy the story was about, though I wouldn't have felt insecure enough to look for permission to give less than what was asked. Do you think that guilt trip really worked on anyone?
I grew up in the church and my parents were as deveoted as anyone I ever knew. They tithed 10% which they considered to be the Lord's, then they gave what they felt was needed above that. My dad was a deacon. My mom firmly believed that you couldn't out give God and I must say that my parents were blessed. Both worked for a company that really took care of them when their health began to fail and provided good pensions. I know that all of that could be attributed to circumstance, but you could never convenience my parents of that...and it's hard to argue with such faith. I must confess that if I heard such a sermon today I'd be put off by it. But, he was the preacher of my childhood and I loved him like a grandfather.

I went to church with DD and SIL. Gees, you walk in and there is Starbucks coffee and Krispy Kream donuts and bagels. Walk into to the worship hall and there was a real rock concert followed by a very theatric sermon. Thought they might be joining a sect or something...but the teaching was from the Bible...and their preacher happened to be talking about tithing. The preacher said, among other things, that people should not be retiring early, but should continue to work so they could support the Lord's work! Daughter cringed, DH steamed up and I smiled...things never seem to change!

BTW, before anyone joins that church, they meet with counselors to discuss their commitment to the church and that they are expected to contribute 10% of their earnings as well as volunteering time and talents to contribute to the church's work.
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:44 AM   #17
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I started reading thse older threads on tithing because that I have a question for those who tithe, no matter what your percentages are: if you received a large inheritance, would you tithe according to your tithe percentage, or would you make it a lump sum of whatever you feel moved to tithe? Or would you do something else?
We have have tithed for a long time and I wondered what the right answer was when receiving a large inheritance, as the Bible doesn't provide clear guidance, in my opinion. The clearest analogy I could derive was that a family inheritance is similar to inheriting the family land in the OT. It was not given away in 10% increments with each generation but remained in the family. As income/crops/etc were gained from the land, these were then tithed. So, I decided as I receive income from the inheritance (and my other investments) I tithe on those.
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Old 12-08-2007, 11:11 AM   #18
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First, you could take the position that inheritance money may have been already tithed on by the person who accumulated it, therefore any further giving on it would be over and above the tithe and at your discretion. For example, we do not tithe on our SS because I already did when I earned the salary, so most of it is my money coming back. I believe tithing is of the law and we are under grace in the new testament. There is no command to tithe in the new testament. Looking at the tithe as a legal mandate leads to all kinds of problems (like me figuring out that SS needs not to be tithed on). Better to give what you are led to give out of a cheerful heart.
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Old 12-08-2007, 11:16 AM   #19
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two thoughts from a clergy person

Do I have a deal for you! But first...

Tithing is not a "requirement" that gets us into heaven. It is a response that involves joy and the doing of justice. You don't HAVE TO tithe your inheritance. But as people claimed to serve one would be wise to ask the question...how can I serve with this?

Here is one good option (it's the deal)...in some denominations (mine included) there is an option to setup a charitable trust. What this means is that we can use our resources as we need them until we die. Once we die our resources are in a trust and our surviving spouse receives 6% a year until they die. Once they die our children or grandchildren can receive income for over 20 years (this would equal what they would have received as an inheritance). After that time the money would be given to the charity we name. It could go to a congregation, to fight world hunger, or to offer assistance for the homeless for example.

In other words...this is a way to use your resources, gift your children AND give a VERY LARGE GIFT to others once we are through needing it. It truly is a win win.

I hope this helps...and I hope you think about how you might be able to serve especially the hungry, the homeless, and those who have basic needs which many times DOES NOT include our congregations!

DC
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:15 PM   #20
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I'm 26 and have tithed over $500K to my local church. I have tithed 10% throughout my life and the lord has continued to bless me. As everyone else here says, "You can't out give God."

Quote:
Originally Posted by kombat View Post
I don't mean to offend anyone, but frankly I'm shocked to learn that so many people still "tithe" money to the church. Large donations to charities in general by retirees don't surprise me, because I suppose after the bills are paid and you've spent all you're interested in spending, if there's money left over, why not give it to charity. I can understand that.

However I'm surprised to see the magnitude some people are willing to handicap themselves while still trying to accumulate a nest egg. I was vaguely aware of some historical passages in the Bible regarding tithing, but I thought it died off centuries ago, like many other religious practices. It certainly seems strange to me that so many people would consider it "normal" to just hand over 10% (!) of their money to a church. Maybe it's a generational thing. If so, I suspect most churches are in a lot of trouble, as I don't believe "tithing" is very prevalent among my peers.

My wife and I don't give anywhere near that much to charitable organizations. We don't attend church (save for Christmas, weddings, and funerals), but we do donate our leftover change to charity at the end of the year. However, that rarely adds up to much more than a couple hundred dollars.

I rationalize it by reminding myself of all the taxes we pay. Adding up federal and provincial income taxes, plus property taxes, gas taxes, employment insurance, sales tax, and GST, that's already well over 50% of our income being skimmed off to the government. That's being spent on hospitals, education, and social programs. So I already believe that we're contributing well above average to society's social safety net.

Furthermore, given that we have no kids and no plans for any, we intend to leave our estate to charity (the front runner is currently the SPCA) after we're done with it. So I guess in that sense, we'll be giving everything to charity - they'll just have to wait for it.
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