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Sermons, Starbucks and Savvy Support

Article Type: Life Stories

How a Charitable Gift Annuity Proved the Win-Win Solution for Peter and Jo

Rev. Peter has one sermon on giving. “It’s titled ‘The Sermon on the Amount,’” he says with a laugh, “I only wish that I had preached that sermon more!”

Beyond what he taught from the pulpit, he and his wife, Jo, have spent a lifetime modeling the values of biblical stewardship.

“Early on in our married life together, Jo and I decided that we would always live within our means,” says Peter. “Avoid debt and payment of interest, if possible, and we would save some money every month to invest in a house fund for retirement. Lastly, we would always tithe, if at all possible.”

The result of this approach to living and giving has been blessing and abundance.

As an investment strategy, the Peter and Jo began purchasing small amounts of Starbucks and Microsoft stock over the course of a few decades. As the number of those shares rose and their value increased, they began to realize their dream for retirement. In 2004, they moved into their retirement home overlooking Birch Bay in Washington, with a view of Mt. Baker and Twin Sisters, built from their “house fund."

Peter muses, “I tell people that the Lord used Starbucks and Microsoft to build us a very nice retirement home!”

Even in retirement, the shares of Starbucks and Microsoft continue to grow in value. The Starbucks stock split three for one and then later, seven for one. This presented Peter and Jo with the challenge of managing their value.

“Per share of stock,” says Peter, “I have a cost basis of $1.73, which is a 4,000 percent gain. So if I sell any of that, I have to pay a 98.6% capital gains tax. I don’t want to do that!”

The solution came in the form of charitable gift annuities (CGAs). They met with Barnabas Foundation planner, who explained the appreciated stock could be donated to charity. This would reduce taxes on the stock, plus an annuity would pay them income for life.

“If the market does fall off a cliff,” muses Peter “I have some income to buy coffee and things like that!”

They have started several CGAs with ministries such as Resonate Global Missions, World Renew, Back to God Ministries International, Luke Society, Calvin College and Calvin Seminary.

“These were charities that we had been giving to all along,” says Peter. “They have a high rating and priority in my thinking, and my wife’s.”

Peter and Jo stand amazed at God’s blessing as they’ve pursued Kingdom priorities with their finances.

“One of my favorite texts is Malachi 3:10,” says Peter.

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”

“Put that one to the test,” says Peter. “I know the market can go to pot. But I think as long as the Lord continues to bless it, and multiply it, we’ll give it back.”

This is a sermon on giving that Peter and Jo continue to live out together, even in retirement.

To learn more about charitable gift annuities and other giving options, contact Barnabas Foundation at 1.888.448.3040 or info@BarnabasFoundation.org