The science behind doing good

By Jeffrey Jensen
July 16, 2013

This past spring, I sponsored a Symposium on Philanthropy hosted by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, held at the spectacular Garden of the Gods Club in Colorado Springs. One of the sessions focused on the health benefits of giving. As Jesse Antin of the Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley said, “We all know that philanthropy feels good, but as it turns out, it’s actually good for you.”

Health benefits of philanthropy

“Recent research has shed new light on Darwinism, demonstrating that the fittest survivors practice compassion,” he explained. Antin went on to present new studies that show how philanthropy works with our biology to improve our health and extend our lifespan. One reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is because it helps decrease stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. The hormone oxytocin is also released in the body when you give, inducing feelings of warmth, euphoria and a connection to others. Recent studies show that giving to others can help ward off heart disease twice as much as taking an aspirin. People who help others report fewer aches and pains, have more energy and feel stronger.

Jeffrey Jensen

By contributing time or money to a charitable cause, our generosity and abundance is able to produce far-reaching effects on the well-being of others, as well as on our own personal happiness.

Charitable giving offers tax benefits

Most charitable gifts provide you with a current year income tax deduction. There are several types of charitable beneficiaries including public charities, pooled income funds, private foundations, donor-advised funds and Charitable Remainder Trusts.

Charitable Remainder Trusts: A smart way to leave a legacy

One effective and popular choice for individuals who wish to leave a lasting legacy to their favorite charity, but also reap various financial benefits is the Charitable Remainder Trust. In exchange for a future gift to charity, the charitable remainder trust provides you with several major tax and economic benefits. A Charitable Remainder Trust allows you to:

* Defer capital gains taxes
* Increase diversification and cash flow
* Receive a current-year federal income tax deduction
* Reduce future estate tax liabilities

The Pikes Peak Community Foundation offers a number of philanthropic services as well as a staff of philanthropic experts to assist donors with research, grant-making, and other administrative tasks. Visit their website for more information at www.ppcf.org.

Jeffrey Jensen is a Senior Vice President – Wealth Management with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at Jeffrey.L.Jensen@morganstanley.com or (719) 577.6321. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Investors should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. An investment cannot be made directly in a market index. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.



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