Alumnus Benefits from Planned Gift Now
One day, early in September of 1956, Jim Thomann '60 assembled with the rest of the Whittier College freshman in the old First Friends Church near campus. The address given by President Paul Smith to all of the incoming students was about the value of a liberal arts education. One phrase in particular from Dr. Smith's welcome speech caught Jim's ear at the time and has stuck with him ever since: "A liberal arts education lets you sleep soundly while the wind blows."
For Jim, this saying proved prescient. "My time at Whittier expanded my horizons; it broadened my perspective so that I could make sense of the world around me and weather life's proverbial storms." He also credits his time at Whittier with instilling in him a lifelong love of learning.
Jim enrolled in Whittier intending to become a teacher, but at the encouragement of Prof. of Religion Milo Connick, decided to go into the ministry instead and enrolled in Claremont Theological Seminary after earning his BA. He then spent some time in Europe studying with the Divinity Faculty at Cambridge University and exploring the continent. Jim also traveled extensively throughout South America and in the South Pacific. He recalls being at ease during these travels even though he was still quite young, saying, "My Whittier education gave me perspective and a cultural fluency that I wouldn't have had otherwise."
It was also at Whittier that Jim became an avid reader: "I started reading in college and haven't stopped since." His thirst for knowledge extended throughout his career as a United Methodist minister and into retirement. Jim is a regular patron at the Huntington Beach Public Library and, these days, enjoys reading about ancient Roman and Greek history.
It's no surprise that when putting together his estate plan, Jim chose to make provisions for the two charities he cares most about: the Huntington Beach Public Library, and the Bonnie Bell Wardman Library at Whittier College.
Since retiring, Jim has been living off of his pension and investments, plus social security, of course. His nest egg continued to grow steadily, but he felt that some of his assets-namely his cash deposit accounts-were being unproductive.
Since he was planning to leave money to Whittier anyway and he was looking for a higher rate of return with minimal risk, Jim decided to set up a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) with Whittier College. His first CGA provided him with an immediate income tax deduction and guaranteed income payments at a fixed 5.8% rate of return for the rest of his life. When considering the CGA's tax benefits, Jim's effective rate of return on this annuity is 8.2%.
Just this year, Jim decided to further his investment in Whittier's library and worked with the College to set up another CGA. Because he's six years older, he is enjoying a 7.0% rate of return on the new gift. And again, when the tax savings are factored in, Jim's effective rate of return jumps up to 9.9%--it's fixed, guaranteed, and he will receive these payments from the College for the rest of his life.
Perhaps most importantly to Jim, he has the satisfaction of knowing that the residual of his gift annuities will support Whittier's library after his lifetime and enhance something that he values deeply. The love of knowledge and of reading that began at Whittier College and has been a central theme of Jim's life will become part of his legacy which will live on for years to come. Go Poets!