Thursday, April 19, 2018

Learning New Financial Skills at Any Age

Guest post by Marty Woelfel, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

It’s never too late to learn something new.

For example, I recently became a certified archery instructor at my council, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. I’ve been a Girl Scout volunteer for many years—ever since I made a new year’s resolution in 1973 to combine two of my passions: the outdoors and youth development. Since then, I’ve mentored Girl Scout Cadettes and Seniors, taught outdoor skills classes to other volunteers, and lobbied at Girl Scout conventions for programming with increased outdoor involvement. I know firsthand how Girl Scouts uses hiking, canoeing, and camping to develop the next generation of female leaders. And I’m proud to give my time, talent, and treasure to make sure that as many girls as possible have these experiences and teach one another new skills.

Now that I’ve retired, I’ve picked up another new skill—financial management. I’m fortunate that in my retirement I’ve had the opportunity to travel and do other things I enjoy. But I wanted to make sure I was headed down the right financial path, so I spoke with my tax adviser, who recommended “bundling” my donations, which means giving a big gift every few years. She also recommended that I look at giving as a long-term project.

I had all of this advice running through my head last fall at G.I.R.L. 2017, an amazing gathering of Girl Scouts in Columbus, Ohio. While in the lifetime member lounge, a flyer about charitable gift annuities caught my eye. Gift annuities are straightforward: in exchange for my donation, Girl Scouts provides me with dependable payments for life. The remaining portion of my gift helps Girl Scouts offer the engaging programs and outdoor adventures that girls need to be successful.

My annuity is a gift to Girl Scouts, but it also gives me an investment for my future. And it was in line with the bundling my tax adviser recommended. I am glad that I spoke with the staff at Girl Scouts to guide me through the process too—with their help, I decided to make a gift annuity for $25,000. I’ll start receiving my annuity at 75, and the remainder will go to the council I’ve served for so many years.

I encourage you to speak with your own adviser, or the planned-giving experts at Girl Scouts, to see how a charitable gift annuity might be right for you. And you never know—maybe financial planning will be one of your new skills, like it was for me.


With her gift, Marty was inducted as a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, which was established to thank and honor friends of Girl Scouting who choose to make Girl Scouts part of their legacies and a beneficiary of their estate plans. If you have already named us as the beneficiary of a planned gift, please let us know. We will welcome you as a Juliette Gordon Low Society member. If you would like more information about how you can become a member—in a manner that benefits you, your heirs, and Girl Scouts—please contact Harriet Hessam at (212) 852-8054 or hhessam@girlscouts.org.