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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Charitable giving is a key component of a financial plan.

If I were to simplify it further, think of financial planning like a three-legged stool – spending, saving and giving. If we fall short in any one leg, we run the risk of becoming out of balance and the consequence is obvious: you fall.

As government funding dwindles and the population ages, there will be funding gaps with smaller charities missing out, and in the end, users could be compromised.

With the holidays fast approaching, break down your approach to tackling the season with a plan to save, spend and give some money away. That way, by the end of the year, you’re sitting nicely on a balanced platform.

Now is the time to think about what you will be spending your money on during holiday season and create a budget. Be crystal clear on your limit and cut back where you can. Decide in dollar terms how much is too much to spend and stick to the plan. 

Save money during the holiday season by using rebates, coupons, discounts, comparison shopping, etc. Every dollar saved should be tucked away. Remember advertisers and promotions ramp up, so be careful not to be seduced by attractive offers. Be aware so impulse buying is reduced, leaving you less vulnerable to a financial hangover in the new year when the bills come rolling in.

Sometimes the best way to feel great during the holiday season isn't about picking up a little something for yourself, but by giving of yourself emotionally or financially to someone else.

What can you do to help? Recognizing it isn’t possible to give to every charity that calls, consider the following.

1. Articulate your values clearly. What do you value, what matters most to you, and what do you cherish?

2. Explore charities that are aligned with your values.

3. Like any investment, do your homework to really understand the charity you have decided to support.

4. Decide whether you want to invest in your own backyard, locally, nationally or even internationally.

5. It isn’t always about the cash. Consider donating stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, etc.

Finally, if financial support isn’t feasible, consider giving yourself. It’s about doing something to give back. By the way, while tax receipts are nice to have, they don’t tend to be the driving force for giving. However, it’s important to have a plan when determining how much you will give to a charitable organization. Meeting with an advisor can help you to determine the right amount, ensuring you are optimizing the donation and minimizing the tax impact.

Develop a plan this holiday season to stay financially balanced –  save some money, spend some money, and give some money away.