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Leaving a Legacy

| April 20, 2014

What is a legacy? So often we think of it as a tangible asset, usually wealth, but sometimes antiques, jewelry or other possessions. What if your legacy were the people you’ve touched, the change you’ve sparked, the body of work you leave behind?

A large financial gift to a charitable institution – be it a homeless shelter, museum, or your alma mater – can certainly make a large impact. As someone who serves on a number of charitable boards I would never discourage philanthropic gifts. But writing a check is not the only way to make a difference. You can leave a legacy of positive interactions, volunteer work and professional service. Your legacy is also left within your family. Will your children remember the fun times spent together or the amount of money you left behind? A common thought we hear from adult children is that they would prefer time with their parents over receiving money after their parents are gone. If you’ve reached that point, have you considered using some of the money you’re setting aside “for the kids” to take a family vacation now?

How many people have you touched today? Were those positive encounters, leaving people with a smile and a lighter burden? Did you take the time to snuggle up for bed time stories, or throw a ball in the backyard? What’s your real legacy?