What Will You Leave Behind?
By Julie Bradsher, CFP
“An inheritance is what you leave with people. A legacy is what you leave in them.” Craig D. Lounsbrough, author.
I’m getting closer to another milestone birthday, which means I’ll clearly cross over the halfway mark. I’m good with that; I’m older than my Mother, which puts things into perspective for me. And, I’ve always been an optimist and a late bloomer, so I can only imagine that the best is yet to come. I work with a trainer so that I can continue to travel and explore new places, and hopefully enjoy grandchildren one day (way off in the future!).
Which brings me to the question of legacy. What do I want to leave my son, Max? He’ll most likely spend the bulk of his adult years without me, which is a sobering thought. I’m not talking about estate planning; David and I have all our ducks in a row to disperse our assets in an efficient and thoughtful manner. I’m talking about what do I want to leave in Max? I used to say I was trying to raise a young man I’d like to have dinner with when he was 26. What do I want to see in him at 36? 66?
At a recent workshop, I learned about drafting an “ethical will” – also known as a legacy letter. The practice stems from the Judeo-Christian tradition and dates back as far you can imagine. The earliest ethical will was written in 1050 by Eleazar, the son of Isaac of Worms. “Think not of evil,” says Eleazar, “For evil thinking leads to evil doing.”
I think this is a good place to start for me, and for Max, and to begin a more focused conversation about what I want him to take from me. Values, traditions, morals and ethics; we try and raise our children with them but do we ever take the time to write it all down? To share this in a meaningful manner?
The concept of Legacy Planning is one we’ll include in our financial planning practice. I invite you to join me in this journey. If you have questions, or would like to start the conversation, please reach out to me.