If we’re fortunate enough, there comes a point in our lives when we begin thinking less about the things we are doing today and more about the things we want to leave behind. The idea of creating a meaningful and enduring legacy is a powerful one.
A legacy isn’t merely a financial arrangement that comes into effect after we pass, however. It’s much more complex than that. For most of us, our legacies might mean our children, the creative work we leave behind or a business we’ve built. It might simply mean sharing our experiences or the wisdom and insights we’ve accrued so that the ripple effects of what we’ve learned continue to have a positive effect long after we’re gone.
One interesting way to view your legacy is to think about it as something that you live each day. Rather than viewing it as a gift that is bestowed on others as we move toward the end of life, we can instead choose to focus on our legacies as a lived thing, or an accumulation of all of the decisions we make and the relationships we cultivate.
Think about it this way: Leaving behind a strong financial foundation for your loved ones is undeniably important. Many of us work incredibly hard to ensure that our families continue to be well-provided for even in our absence. Yet we shouldn’t place any less emphasis on the less tangible things we leave behind. Treating someone with kindness and empathy — or giving them an opportunity to develop their own skills and flourish — can have an impact on the lives of others that is truly immeasurable.
For this reason, it’s important to live our lives equipped with the knowledge that the seemingly small choices we make on a daily basis are what ultimately adds up to our legacy. It’s not merely something we leave behind — it’s what we do and how we do it. Every human interaction is part of our legacy.
By making intentional estate planning and wealth transfer decisions — and being mindful of how our decisions and relationships impact others — we can create a richly rewarding legacy that succeeds not just on a financial level, but also on a human one.
Watch this short video to learn more about this idea of legacy planning.
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