Jerry Foster

NBC News recently reported that “Americans are giving more to charitable causes than ever before…Total giving by individuals, companies and foundations hit a record $335.17 billion last year, driven mainly by wealthy individuals, according to the annual report from Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School.”

This is encouraging for a country that possesses a large portion of the world’s wealth. We are a nation tremendously blessed compared to the rest of the world. The upward trend of generosity indicates a continued shift in our overall attitude about generosity. People are considering how their wealth will be used while they are alive and how it might be distributed when they are gone, as we’ve never seen before.

Our vision at Foster Group states, “We will influence all whom we serve with wise financial counsel and help change the paradigm of meaningful living and generous giving.” What exactly is “meaningful living” and “generous giving”? That is a personal question that can be answered only by the individual being asking the question. What we are finding in our work with clients is that meaningful living for most people will include purposeful conversations about generosity. One is difficult to attain without the other.  Asking the right questions about wealth helps bring clarity around the topic.

How much is enough?

How much inheritance would be helpful to my heirs?

How much inheritance would be harmful to my heirs?

How do I want to be remembered?

What will be my legacy?

I believe Americans are beginning to ask these kinds of questions in a time of unprecedented wealth. These conversations are facilitating the shift in thinking that is helping change the paradigm of generosity. As we change our view of generosity, I believe we will begin to experience meaningful living in ways we never before imagined.


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