Couple's Gift Helps Them Through Lean Times
While living on a shoestring and barely making ends meet, Elvin ‘50 and Pat Benton decided the best thing to do was to give two acres of valuable riverfront land to Union College.
When Elvin retired, Pat made it a priority to spend as much time with him as she could. In order to do this she retired as well, which created a shortfall in income and a very tight family budget.
To close this income gap the Bentons gave a gift to Union College that provided them an immediate tax deduction, a deferral on paying capital gains tax on their highly appreciated land and an income stream for the next 15 years. At the conclusion of the decade and a half Union endowed the remaining funds to help educate students in perpetuity, making the Bentons' gift as enduring as the land they gave.
Pat did not attend Union College but fell in love with the institution when the couple attended Elvin's 50th reunion celebration. "It was love at first sight," Elvin recalls. "Pat could see the people at Union were authentic and the students were different from any other students she had seen before."
After attending Union's Homecoming weekend, Pat read an article in CORDmagazine explaining how one can give a gift of land to the college and receive a stream of income. She called Todd Mekelburg, then Union's Director of Leadership Giving, to get more information and was pleased with how concerned he was for their wellbeing. "Todd explained our options quite well and helped us structure the gift in a way that was best for us," Pat declared.
The Bentons gave a piece of land that was not producing any income and, in fact, was a drain on their budget because of the property taxes they paid. They transformed the land into an income stream for 15 years, helping them through some difficult years financially. "In those initial years we needed the money. The income was part of our bread and butter," Pat explained.
Because of the added income from their gift of land, Pat was able to maximize her own Social Security benefits by deferring them until age 70. By deferring her Social Security income Pat took advantage of Social Security's spousal benefits which allowed her to receive half of Elvin's benefit payments without reducing his at all.
When Pat began receiving her pension and spousal Social Security benefits at age 66 things were much better financially for the Bentons. "The income from Union helped us through a really tight period," Pat said. "When this income began coming in we were able to start saving money which made it possible to have a much more comfortable retirement nest egg."
When the Bentons were asked why they decided to make Union the beneficiary of this gift Elvin said, "Union is my school and I have many fond memories of the years I spent there. We had given many small gifts to Union over the years, but nothing substantial. When we discovered a way to give a larger, more impactful gift, while helping our own financial situation, it just made sense."
For more than 30 years the Bentons have supported Union College's mission with their annual charitable gifts. Through their gift of land they were able to have the income they needed to spend their retirement years together and continue to help provide an education to students at Union College.
If you would like to learn more about how you can create an income stream through a gift to Union College, please contact Ken Farrow, Director of Leadership Giving, at 402-486-2600, Ext. 2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ken Farrow can help you find ways to improve your income or meet other financial goals while supporting Union College's mission to provide a Christ-centered campus that empowers students for a lifetime of learning, service and leadership.
Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.