Building a Sustainable Family Legacy, Part 2
I’m back with a continuation of a previous post. If you haven’t already read my first post on Family Legacy, have a read, it might help with this part.
Part 2 takes us back to January of this year, when I went to Vancouver to help celebrate one of my sister’s birthday. It’s a long flight and you often don’t know who you are going to sit beside but this trip was different because my Toronto sister, Susan, was also attending and we were able to get seats together. (By the way, I have 5 sisters, no brothers. So you can probably imagine what I went through growing up. It was tough. But that’s another story for another time.)
Susan and I had about 5 hours together on the plane and we discussed some of my plans this year for contact with clients and friends. I mentioned that my driving purpose in writing these e-newsletters and blogs was to help people build a sustainable financial legacy. Well, it didn’t take her too long to turn the tables and ask me what I thought my legacy was to my family. What was I going to pass on and why was it important?
I told her I wanted our kids to inherit two things from Judy and me: values and money.
Susan didn’t really have an argument with this, but she thought something was missing. Something that once you have it, it can’t be taken away from you. She thought I had missed another important opportunity, something that, along with values, cannot be taken away: Education!
Think of a family legacy as a chair or a stool – it really can’t stand up with just two legs. But with three legs – values, education and money – you can have a solid place to get comfortable. And if you ensure your children and grandchildren have the basics of living met (food, a roof over their heads, a safe environment) then the next steps are the three legs of the stool.
Back in the day my parents only had grade school education or some early high school. (Back in the day. There I said it. I’m officially old.) As a member of the Baby Boomer Generation we were offered opportunities that maybe aren’t there today for our children and grandchildren. Opportunities jumped out everywhere and you could find a decent job with a high school education. Today an undergrad is entry level, if you are lucky. And employers are eliminating pensions and other benefits to save the bottom line. So do we as part of the “lucky” generation have a responsibility to the future generations?
For many of us, the answer would be yes, I will do what I can, and just as my parents wanted each of their kids to do better, we all want our kids to do better. As I mentioned, I have 5 sisters and as a group we have 12 adult children, all with post-secondary educations and all working, contributing members of society. For our children, education is established, now what about my grandchildren and yours.
And what makes our story unique? Very little. These stories are repeated throughout Canada. Whether your ancestry is Irish, French, Jewish, Indian, Arabic, Russian, etc. We bring our own desires and visions for our families and to ensure that they carry our legacies forward, education is imperative. For our children to receive a good education, great teachers are imperative. With that in mind I give a shout out to all the teachers out there for the amazing work so many of them do for our families.
In closing, I just finished reading an article in the June 7th issue of the National Post, about the upcoming “Bequest Boom.” It estimates that $750 billion is going to pass to the next generation over the next decade. Over the past 10 years the average inheritance has been about $100,000. This is likely to increase going forward and we need to ask, are they ready? Do we/they know how to best use this new-found wealth? Will it be squandered, pay down debt or saved for the next generation? Without the right foundation and a plan, this money could be lost forever.
Did you know that, by some estimates, two-thirds of lottery winners are broke within seven years? If you are going to inherit a substantial sum, please talk to your financial advisor before you receive it. If you don’t have a financial advisor you can certainly give me a call, we are accepting new clients.
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
I read this book shortly after it came out and really should re-visit it soon, it is full of short, inspirational everyday things that we somehow don’t see. Most of us walk through life with a mission and miss these things. Luckily I’m married to someone who is always looking up at rooftops and trees and down at the grass and plants, pointing out the awesome things I’m missing.
Get it from Amazon or your local bookshop.
By the way, I was back in Vancouver from June 11th to the 16th attending a convention I have been fortunate enough to qualify for over the past 9 years.
I hope to provide something from that conference that will be of interest to you in an upcoming post.
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