In this article I am going to be talking about Legacy. I think it’s particularly poignant now to talk about Legacy with the recent passing of Her Majesty, the Queen. If you watch any of the programs on the television, you will see that everybody is talking about the difference that she’s made to people’s lives and to communities across the world in the last 70 years of her reign. Now, hers is a very extreme, very public version of legacy. What I want to do is talk to you today about how we mere mortals can equally leave a legacy, one that is just as meaningful to those we care for.
Now, often when we think about legacy, we are thinking about money. Thinking of legacy in its purest financial definition, however, is quite limiting. And actually, we can think of the word legacy as being a little like the word philanthropy; someone whose business is to give to others, to come up with ideas about how they can make the world a better place.
We can also think about legacy using the word creativity, the word impact. And I think if we start to think of legacy in these new ways, we can also then detach it, not only from that financial definition, but also from the idea that legacy has to be so far in the future. Why does legacy have to be associated with a point at which you retire, or the day you pass on? Imagine living a legacy rather than leaving a legacy, what might that look like for you?
The word legacy can be very much about what impact we each want to have. What impact do I want to have on my family, my wider community, potentially the world? And when do I want to make this impact? I think this reframing of legacy is more exciting; it is something that you can get behind.
I think one of the reasons a lot of young people don’t save for their retirement is because it’s so far in the future. Legacy is possibly even further away. But, bringing something close makes it more attractive. There’s almost a magnetism towards it. Everything that we do in our lives we are motivated to do either because we need to go towards something or we need to get away from something.
What’s motivating you or what could motivate you to create a legacy? In classic style, let’s ask questions. Normally I ask you to think about “why is this important?” Why is legacy important to you? For me, being able to help other people is deeply important. During difficult times in my life, I received help and ever since then I ask: who can I help? How could my legacy help other people? This motivates me and pulls me forward in life.
What is the legacy for you? Whatever the specific thing is, you can think it over carefully and determine why legacy matter to you. Think about it now so you are prepared at the right time. If you don’t know why you might want to leave a legacy, you’re not going to get any further, are you? Why would you want to leave a legacy? Is it gratitude? Are you motivated by your family? Remember that towards what is the thing that is pulling you towards?
A legacy must be a positive thing, a positive motivation. What is the positive motivation that is drawing you forward towards the idea of doing something that will make a difference to someone? It could be that you do something that makes such a difference that it’s on a bigger scale; maybe it ripples through the generations.
I know why I want one. As I said to you, it, it comes from that place of gratitude and it comes from a place of wanting to give back; of not just using and taking. I want to help others. If you do live a wealthy life, and have a positive, creative feeling that you have enough, that you have more than enough, even much more than enough and you are enjoying life, then why wouldn’t you want to help others along the way?
The second question I ask is: what is legacy to you? In some ways, if you don’t know when you are thinking of legacy, it’s very hard to describe what legacy will mean to you. And if you don’t know what legacy is to you, then it’s very hard to think of a time when legacy might occur.
So, as I mentioned to you before, there are a number of ways to think of this word. There is the very classical financial legacy. And if you leave a financial legacy, that is something that happens many years from now, and it usually would involve your death a long way in the future. If your answer is “Vicki, I just want to sort out a financial legacy for the future. And I just want it to be that I can retire with a set amount of money, and I’m quite happy to wait till I’m somewhere between 65 and 70.” That’s perfectly wonderful.
But everyone’s legacy will be different and it could be that you think “I don’t want to wait. And I don’t want my legacy to be purely financial. I have gifts, experiences and insights I want to pass on to lift people up down the line, to create a different value than money or to reach people other than my family.” Make sure you ask yourself these two questions so that your life, your work and you end up leaving – or living – the legacy that is meaningful to you and those you wish to impact.
I hope that you can gain from this some insights that you need to make sense of legacy. It doesn’t strictly have to be in the future; it can be whenever you want it to be, it can start literally now and you can make it whatever you want it to be.
You can draw on your values and your beliefs. You can draw on your skills and your experience. You can share overtly, as in work you produce and scholarships you fund, or you could share implicitly through your daily behavior as a parent or a colleague or a business owner or a friend.
If you are interested in learning more about creating a wealth plan, make sure you listen to my podcast A Wealthy Life, and look at the free resources I offer like the Readiness to Retire Wealthy Audit. A legacy takes a lot of time and a lot of work, but that is precisely why I am here to help you define your vision. For more impactful wealthy life tips, please visit my website www.vickiwusche.com, listen to my podcast here and here, or schedule a free call with me.