Over the past five years eligible Thrivent members have designated over $12,000 ($10,273 COS and $1780 to Endowment Fund) by taking advantage of Thrivent Choice. This is another way in which Thrivent, a 501(c)9 Fraternal Organization, distributes its profits to member activities.
The funds are generated from qualifying insurance premiums and/or annuities held by its members. If you receive notices re: Thrivent Choice opportunities, please review and consider directing funds to COS or the COS Endowment Fund, If you are not a Thrivent member and would like to learn more you can go to www.thrivent.com or call Mark Gluckner, (866.614.4839) our local representative, who will provide personal information for you.
THRIVENT CHOICE DOLLARS: Don’t forget to direct Choice Dollars® ~ Grant funding from Thrivent Financial through its Thrivent Choice® program can help support organizations you care about. Don’t let Choice Dollars expire. Eligible Thrivent Financial members who have Choice Dollars available have until March 31, 2019, to direct any remaining 2018 Choice Dollars. Help support your church or favorite charity. To learn more go to: www.thrivent.com/making-a-difference/living-generously/thrivent-choice/. Or call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt. Choice Dollars directed by phone must be done by Friday, March 29, 2019. You will still be able to direct dollars online through Sunday, March 31st.
Lutheran Church Extension Fund-Shared Blessings
• The 40-month note will be available for a limited time.
• The minimum investment is $500
• The maximum amount any one person or organization may invest is $40,000 (spouses may invest separately).
• The offer is available for new funds only (no transfers from existing LCEF accounts).
The 40-month anniversary note is being offered to raise $100 million in additional capital to assist in meeting LCEF’s loan demand. Ministries are expanding literally around the world, and LCEF wants to be in position to help those ministries continue to growl
The 40-month note at 4% investment offer will expire once the $100 million goal is achieved, so be ready to take advantage of this opportunity soon. Applications are available at the church, or you may visit lcef.org/4omonth to print an application. If you have questions about this investment or the application process, please call LCEF at 800-843-5233.
**Saving money with LCEF helps others learn about Jesus!
You know it’s important to teach a child to give thanks for God’s many blessings and use them wisely to serve Him. When you help a child save for the future through the LCEF Young Investors (Y.I.) Club, you are teaching them the value of sharing, saving and spending money and at the same time those $$$ can help someone else learn about Jesus. Your child’s investment will empower ministry! With an investment of just $25 in a Y.I. Steward Account®, your child becomes a Y.I. Club member! For more info call either the Church Office or the LCEF at 1-800-THE-LCEF.
Christ Our Savior Endowment Fund
If you have had a Financial Plan in place for five or more years perhaps you may want to review the plan with your Tax Advisor and remember the Endowment fund in your planning. Or you might consider the Tax advantages of a gifting stock which has gained in value this year; you can deduct the value of the stock as a charitable gift and avoid the income tax. (Please be sure to have the stock sent to the Fund and do not cash it in.)
Alternately consider a gift of life insurance or other assets to your COS Endowment Fund. This fund will intentionally keep its principle intact, and as it grows will utilize its net income for future ministries which God presents to the COS family of faith.
Grant Drive Successful & Other Blessings
The Endowment Fund Committee is pleased to report that our recent fund drive succeeded in rais-ing the $10,000 deposit necessary to receive a second $5,000 Werner grant for investing in the Tradi-tional Portfolio (60% equities/40% fixed income securities) that was recently established by the Lutheran Legacy Foundation. The purpose of this grant program is to encourage Lutheran churches to establish and grow endowment funds to support their ministries and outreach programs, as well as enhance their long-term financial security. As with the initial Werner grant that we obtained in 2017 to invest in the LLF Growth Portfolio, our second deposit will entitle the Christ Our Savior Endowment Fund to earn invest-ment income on the total amount ($15,000 at inception), while the principal amount of the grant amount is being earned out over a 7-year period. Thanks to the members of our congregation whose generosity made this investment possible.
Our Endowment Fund has subsequently received a generous gift from Ursula Young that she made as she bid farewell to our congregation in connection with her relocation to Florida. This will permit our En-dowment Fund to establish an account with the LCMS Foundation to further diversity our portfolio of in-vestments. The LCMS Foundation has a range of funds for which professional managers with specialized expertise have been selected, and the fee structure is quite favorable. Although church endowment funds have historically benefited primarily from estate legacies, the importance of life-time giving for the COS Endowment Fund to achieve its mission is especially helpful. We are blessed and thankful that Ursula has set such a fine example, and we hope that others may consider similar opportunities in the future. For various ways to contribute, please refer to the COS Endowment Fund brochure, copies of which are avail-able in the CMC ministry center.
.ENDOWMENT FUND INFO: Go to www.smile.amazon.com, then type Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in the search box. Finally, select the correct church (Loudon, TN is in the right margin of one of the many churches listed). Now you are ready to sign in and shop! You should see a notice at the top of your home page that states “Supporting: Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church”. Then sign in to your usual access to the Amazon website, and make your purchase, and .5% of your purchase (at no cost to you) will go to the Endowment Fund. If you are new to Amazon shopping, you will need to register by submitting an e-mail address and creating a password to get into smile.amazon.com, and then sign in to Amazon.com with your unique sign-on and password to initiate a purchase. We are still looking for help with another Fund Raising project called SCRIP. If interested please contact any member of the Endowment Committee.
Life Insurance contracts offer a way to benefit the long term COS mission at a relatively low cost for the donor but with high leverage potential. In order to deduct premium payments as charitable deductions, the donor must name the charity as both owner and irrevocable beneficiary of the policy. Specific plans for the continuation of premium payments, if any, should be discussed with the charitable owner as part of assigned gift arrangements.
An estate leveraging technique and alternate means of using life insurance is the wealth-replacement option. A donor makes a gift to the COS Endowment Fund and then, using the tax savings produced by the charitable deduction from that gift, purchases and pays the premi-ums on a life insurance policy which has proceeds roughly equivalent to the value of the con-tributed assets. Thus, the assets used to MAKE the gift are, in effectively, “replaced” with in-surance, typically without incurring taxation on distribution.
Opportunity to make a substantial gift that may not have been possible in your lifetime or with your resources
Potential to provide life income for a beneficiary as well as support for our mission
Potential to reduce income and/or estate taxes
As you may recall, in 2017 the Endowment Committee learned of an opportunity to obtain a $5,000 grant from the Clara & Spencer Werner Fund for Lutheran churches that establish an endowment account with the Lutheran Legacy Foundation (LLF) by making a $10,000 deposit. Our application for this grant was approved, and the fund-raising drive last Spring was successful. Since July 1, 2017, the COS Endowment Fund has been earning income on the full amount of its deposit plus the grant ($15,000) that we may use in making annual awards for COS ministries and Lutheran missions.
Several months ago, LLF established a second fund with a more conservative investment portfolio to encourage additional contributions from churches that have endowment accounts with LLF. The COS Endowment Fund applied for an additional grant, and LLF has agreed to extend another $5,000 in Werner Fund support if we can make the minimum $10,000 investment in the new fund during first quarter of 2018. Members of the Committee believe that the COS Endowment Fund should take advantage of this grant program. We have already made contributions to the COS Endowment Fund of about half of the amount needed, and we are hopeful that many of you will join us in completing this fund-raising drive. Contributions should be sent by check to COS with a designation on either the check or your church envelope that it is for the COS Endowment Fund.
Contributions can now be debited automatically from your checking or savings account. Our electronic giving program offers convenience for you and much-needed donation consistency for our congregation. Authorization forms are available from the church office. Please place completed forms in a sealed envelope, address to Financial Secretary, and return to the church office.
Tax Tips for Charitable Contributions
Gifts of Appreciated Securities: If you are claiming itemized deductions and have stocks or bonds that have appreciated in value, you can get a double tax benefit by making a charitable donation of these securities. The full value of the securities (up to 30% of Adjusted Gross Income) will qualify for a chari-table deduction, and the gain that would otherwise be recognized if the securities are sold is not taxed.
“Qualified Charitable Distributions” for RMDs: If you are over 70 ½ , have a traditional IRA or other retirement accounts, and are required to make “minimum distributions” (RMDs) each year, a direct transfer from the trustee of your retirement account to a qualified charity up to $100,000/year (called a “qualified charitable distribution” or QCD) may be excluded from taxable income. This permits taxpay-ers with RMDs who claim the standard deduction to get a tax benefit comparable to those who itemize. QCDs may also be beneficial for those who itemize, since the reduction in Adjusted Gross Income may avoid higher Medicare premiums, higher taxation of Social Security benefits, and “scale backs” that ap-ply to medical and other itemized deductions.
To achieve the intended result, it is essential that QCDs be processed and posted to the IRA prior to year- end. IRA trustees generally require that a form be submitted in order for them to submit a check directly to the charity. In this case, it is important that the form be submitted well in advance of year-end (i.e., not later that the first week in December). Fidelity and certain other trustees provide for check books for making direct IRA transfers that can expedite this process. Consult your tax advisor or a mem-ber of the COS Endowment Committee if you desire more information.
With about three months left this year, October is an excellent time to check your withholding amounts. In IR-2019-149, the Service explains enhancements to the Tax Withholding Estimator tool on IRS.gov. The "estimator" is a mobile-friendly tool with new features for self-employed individuals. Many taxpayers now are self-employed or have income from side gigs. Users can enter their wage, pension or other retirement income. Any side income may then be added. The estimator will highlight your potential deductions from side income. These may include a self-employment health insurance deduction, a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or other qualified retirement plan. Side income is also subject to self-employment tax, but there may be a partial self-employment tax deduction.