How To Multiply Your Legacy By 2,000%
I recently read “the quality of relationships- not the quantity of dollars – ultimately define quality of life.” * The older I get, and the more I speak with clients, the more this truth resonates with me. Our most valuable assets are the quality relationships with family and friends.
The absolute tragedy is 90% of high net worth family’s financial assets are gone within three generations. In addition, their principles of success and values are gone within one generation – just 30 years! That is a short legacy.
How can this happen?
Most estate plans give great attention to financial assets, with the goal of preserving them from tax erosion. Unfortunately, very little attention is given to preserving them from the most serious erosion – lost family identity and virtues. **
Where is the disconnect?
Looking at these statistics, it’s easy to see the conventional approach to estate planning is not working. It is cannibalizing families at a rapid pace. Most families believe that once the lawyers and accountants have put all the structures in place, their plans are airtight. After all, these professionals are masters at minimizing tax and maximizing the financial value to the family. But what if you believe there are components of your legacy that are of greater value than money?
● Quality relationships with friends & family
● The principles that led to your financial success
● The values you know are prerequisites to succeed in life
● The lessons you learned from failure
These great assets are rarely thought of, let alone transferred. And it’s a shame. The traditional approach has failed to capture the most important principles and life lessons of a generation. This means these nuggets of wisdom die. As does the ability for the next generations to stand on this foundation to preserve and grow their family’s wealth, influence, and legacy.
How big is the opportunity?
The opportunity does exist for you to multiply your family legacy 10 to 20-fold. You can extend your influence from one generation through many generations, in currency other than money, but it will require new thinking and a new process. To achieve these results, you need to ask yourself:
● What are the highest aspirations I have for my children, grandchildren, and beyond?
● How will my money help or hinder these aspirations?
To set your family and your legacy apart, you need to capture your family story.
What did it take to achieve success? What failures did you overcome? What principles, values and virtues are paramount to you?
By capturing life lessons in your story, future generations are connected emotionally to their heritage. They remember the lessons because they see them at work. Most importantly, family becomes a more important part of your heirs’ identity. Your story is powerful. It leads to an attitude of gratitude in your heirs and breaks an attitude of entitlement that comes from a lack of connection. The next generation catches the value of being part of the family, desires to maintain the family wealth (intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, and financial) and pass it on to future generations.
Good Legacy Planning requires good questions. Un-Heritage: 11 Pitfalls to Family Legacy and How to Avoid Them by the Centre for Family Conversations provides quality questions to consider:
1. On what am I relying on to make me an exception to the rule?
2. What are the unintended consequences of taking the path of least resistance?
3. What will be the impact on me, my family, my community?
You can be a 10% family. A family that enjoys quality relationships and quality of life. A family of lasting wealth and legacy.