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On the latest episode of Giving Ventures, host and DonorsTrust Vice President Peter Lipsett moderates a conversation with guest Chris Cousins, an experienced financial advisor who’s helped many folks navigate wealth events like the sale of a business or windfalls like an inheritance. DonorsTrust President & CEO Lawson Bader and DonorsTrust Chief Financial Officer Jeff Zysik also have insightful cameos.

Mapping Out Your Philanthropic Strategy

Life is full of setbacks but it’s often full of bright spots, too—bright spots both hard-fought and surprising, like a promotion at work or an unexpected inheritance from a long-lost uncle. This episode is meant to put wealth events on the radar. That way, individuals can minimize their tax liability.

“Significant changes in one’s wealth present an opportunity for you, perhaps for your family, and certainly for the charitable organizations or causes that you care deeply about,” says Lawson. “The danger, of course, is it’s easy to let the moment slip away because of the distractions of the world…”

It’s critical not to let these events pass without a plan as it’s difficult to make up ground after the fact with regard to maximizing your charitable goals and curbing tax liability after a significant wealth event or the single-largest advancement in a person’s career.

“So, what we want to do today is help you look into the future, map out some of the questions, some of the strategies that you can develop before you, perhaps, sell the business or receive that surprise inheritance or find yourself ready to take that perhaps large capital gains from a stock sale—maybe not immediately give the last couple of years—or perhaps a home sale.”

Cover Your Financial Blind Spots

Chris Cousins, featured guest on the episode and president of Financial Architects, Inc., echoed Lawson’s comments, emphasizing the need to have an expert third-party helping guide those who are navigating an important career milestone or other wealth event.

“When we have these life events our perspective changes and a lot of times we—being that it’s happening to us—we have a lot of blind spots. So, when we surround ourselves with team members that can help us see what’s actually going on, we can gain a perspective far different than what it was looking like to us,” says Chris.

Selling Your Business? Have an Exit Strategy

Those who found businesses often view strategic planning as low-priority in their day-to-day operations when, in reality, it’s a critical component, says Cousins. In fact, nearly 70% of respondents to a survey mentioned in Harvard Business Review say they devote “little to no time” on an exit strategy for an expected wealth event.

“For owners, the preparedness level in the country is not high and there’s a lot of emotion tied up in this, especially if the person founded the company—it’s their baby. And so there’s a lot going on there as they plan their own transition and the charitable piece of it comes in as they get clear on what they want to do? How do they see themselves leaving the business but also ‘What do they do afterwards?’”

Visit Our Podcast Page

We hope this episode helps guide your charitable giving and sparks an idea about a potential philanthropic partnership. It’s our hope this episode also gives insight into ways your giving is creating opportunities for everyone. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and visit us at to stream the show.

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