“Our legacy is a combination of the way we live every day and the impact it has on our friends, our family, our community and the world”
One thing we can be sure of is that one day our time here will be done and while leaving a money legacy for our loved ones is wonderful goal to have, leaving a financial legacy is so much more than pounds and pennies.
It’s the part of our soul we gift to the world. And our gift is crafted daily by the habits we build and the actions we take to leave all those we have encountered and all the places we visit that little bit better than before we came.
Here are some of the life choices that build a lasting legacy.
It’s not your career and financial successes that will be remembered
“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives” Michelle Obama
Our lasting legacy is how we will be remembered. As much value as we put in the status we may get from reaching those career heights and the financial successes, these are not what creates that lasting legacy. What creates our legacy is how we made people feel, how we treated those in our lives and what we did to make our small little place in the world a better place.
`Lyndsay Green, the author of The Well Lived Life, live with purpose and be remembered, suggests an interesting exercise. Imagine your time here were to end today. What unresolved issues would you leave behind? What would you not have achieved and I would add to that, what would those closest to you share in your eulogy. Would you be proud to hear it? Would you feel like your job here was somewhat done?
The good news is whatever you uncover, you are still here right now and can get to work on resolving all the outstanding matters and completing all the “still to be done list”.
It’s not the money that you leave for your loved ones, it’s the money lessons that count
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” Lao Tzu
Whether good or bad we all have a financial legacy from those closet to us, and this is the beliefs we have around money. In many cases this legacy was unintentionally passed along, with the results that the lessons we unconsciously absorbed may not support a positive relationship to money.
The most powerful financial legacy we can leave with our loved ones, is an understanding that money is simply a tool for creating the life we want, and the related teachings on how to get the most from this tool to build that life.
This means talking about money in your family. Breaking its taboo nature and making it as ordinary and unemotional as any other tool that you show them and teach them to use.
Display positive and constructive financial habits and share all the money lessons you have learnt that will support your children for their futures.
Pass along your values
“Children are the living messages we will pass along to a time we will never see” J F Kennedy
Children’s developing minds are miracles of nature, they are sponges absorbing the world around them. That being said, children learn what they see not what they are told.
Contrary to our intention many of the lessons we teach our children may have unconsciously been passed along and are not congruent with what we want them to take as life lessons.
Have you consciously thought about which of the most important values you have, you would want your children to “inherit”?
Maybe for you that is respect for the earth we get to live on, the creatures and fellow humans we get to share it with and most importantly respect for ourselves is a core principle you live by. Consider how you treat those around you, your environment and yourself. Do you live this value?
Maybe gratitude is a central theme of what’s important to you. Do you take ever opportunity to communicate all the gratitude you feel to your children? Do they get to live that value with you and understand their part in it?
Or maybe, you value being of service and helping others. Be a giving role model, involve your children by finding fun and meaningful volunteering opportunities, and show them the value of chipping in at home and helping it – that’s a win-win for all !
Take care of your loved ones after you die
“Make death easy on your loved ones” Jessi Fearon
For many of us making a will is the last thing we think to prioritise. And unfortunately it will be too late for your family if the worst case scenario happens unexpectedly.
Think about it though, you spend every hour of your living days trying to make your loved one’s lives easier, death is not the time to drop the ball!
Get a will, appoint an executor, simplify your filing and create a “death” instruction list so that whoever sorts out your affairs can get it done without any impact on your family.
Importantly, document all the things you want your family to remember, the happy moments, the special messages, and even those important life instructions you know they will need to know.
I know this all sounds very morbid, but taking the time while you are alive to make death easier on your loved ones is a gift beyond value.
And Lyndsay Greens powerful words sum this all up neatly, “People say, ‘I don’t have time to leave a legacy.’ I say, ‘No, your legacy is everything you’re doing. It’s immersed in every single action and day. Just be more conscious that you are living fully and that you are fully engaged and are making an impact. Take it seriously.”