Creating and Living Your Ideal Legacy

A legacy is more than a gift that lives on after you. Certainly, a legacy is a contribution to humanity. A legacy provides value to future generations. However, if you are creating your ideal legacy, it will also make your heart bubble with passion and excitement today!

Louisa Alcott wrote:

“When Emerson’s library was burning at Concord, I went to him as he stood with the firelight on his strong, sweet face, and endeavored to express my sympathy for the loss of his most valued possessions, but he answered cheerily, ‘Never mind, Louisa, see what a beautiful blaze they make! We will enjoy that now.’ The lesson was one never forgotten and in the varied lessons that have come to me I have learned to look for something beautiful and bright.”

Emerson left future generations with a philosophy of creativity, spiritual development, and individualism. He saw value and quality in each moment of life. His writings continue to share the message that people have the mental and spiritual capacities to achieve their dreams. He lived a philosophy that continues to benefit humanity.

The building blocks of your legacy are the ideas and philosophies that you live and value. Your contributions will provide something beautiful and bright to cherish during this lifetime. They will increase your sense of aliveness and fill you with the energy of a unique purpose for which you were born. They make up the quality of your life now.

How can you begin creating and living your ideal legacy today?

1. Decide What You Value the Most

Write down all the things that you value, and select at least five core values: those things that provide the foundation for your actions, beliefs, and philosophies. Examples of values are love, health, spirituality, family, career, adventure, peace, and community.

2. Draw a Time Line of Your Life

Draw a long line and mark it by years and months beginning with your birthday. Extend it for decades after your life will have ended. Include all the things you have done and things you want to do. Include the benefits future generations will experience from your contributions. Show how your life’s work will actually continue after you. Your timeline is a very eye opening exercise. Spend adequate time with it and fill in as many details as possible. Then return from time to time to update your timeline and add extra details.

3. Write a Purpose Statement

Notice the themes running through your timeline. They can help to reveal your purpose if you are not already aware of it. A purpose statement is a simple, private statement that guides your daily actions. For example, you might write, “I help others to live happy and healthy lives” or “I create art that brings spiritual awareness.” Do not confuse a purpose statement with a mission statement, which is a more specific way you might fulfill your purpose.

4. Focus on Today

Your timeline presented a large picture. What is your focus just for today? Spend sufficient time focusing on your current steps as well as on the future. How are your actions in each moment supporting your values and contributing to your purpose? If you are on purpose, you will feel authentically happy and fulfilled.

5. Move Forward with Gratitude

Live your ideal legacy by taking positive steps each day toward your vision for a better world. Savor the small treasures in your relationships with people. Live with gratitude for each contribution you have received and created. Give thanks even for the setbacks that ultimately reveal clearer paths forward.

Evangelist, Billy Graham said, “The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives.” What legacy does the quality of your life reveal today? Envision your ideal legacy. See your role in creating a richer humanity. The legacy you share and live today can create a better world for future generations.

Building a Lasting Legacy

I had a discussion with a friend the other day and the discussion was about having a legacy. It was interesting in the fact that we had very different views of what a legacy is. I never really thought about it much but this conversation brought to light to me what makes this world so interesting.

I don’t think it was so much that I just took it for granted that everyone thought the same as I do about what a legacy was and how to go about building that legacy.

When the discussion opened I realized right away that my friend looked at the children being raised AS the actual legacy.

I on the other hand was building a legacy FOR the kids to build on, remember me by and to hopefully follow in my philanthropic foot steps.

These are totally different views and the implications that started rolling through my brain kept me thinking for quite a while. In building a legacy the way that I saw it, I would have control of the legacy that I left. That’s what I thought but anyone can think what they want about the legacy I leave. So once again “control” is out of the question.

People are so different and individual that when you think of them as being a legacy they can really be anything that they want. Sometimes people make the wrong turn or get influenced by the wrong people and then what happens to the legacy that was so carefully nurtured over the years?

I am going to stick with my reasoning of what a legacy is in this next portion of this article. I am not saying that this is how you think of a legacy for your self, but what I am hoping is that it will make us all think of what we leave behind on this earth.

I believe that none of us are ever actually gone. Not only do we remain to fertilize the soil but our essence is in everything that our lives touch. The memories that we make, the photos we are in, the beauty that we create whether it be art, gardening, the magic of being a special friend, or having a life time love.

I think that growing a legacy is very important but giving that legacy value and making it valuable to others is what will make it grow even beyond our life time. Instilling the seed in others of its value and finding people who believe.

Instilling our passion in others is a really great way of leaving a lasting legacy. Starting an organization or group that is focused on charitable work is another great way. Getting involved in the community can be a great way to get anything started and have something to build on because a strong foundation is necessary to build strong walls.

One of our legacies will be a foundation for alternative cancer research that will be named for my husbands’ sister who died of cancer. Another legacy I hope to leave behind is the word of health and wellness and to let people know that Holistic Medicine can be very effective.

Leaving A Legacy

Making a Difference, After You Are Gone

How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to impact the lives of others for years to come? Your legacy can live on forever with proper planning today.

The obituary in the local paper or the epitaph on a burial marker is sadly all we will have to remember many when they pass. But, this does not have to happen to you. Even if you feel you don’t have any assets or that it is too late, there are steps you can take to ensure that you leave a legacy for others.

Most people think that leaving a will, or designating a beneficiary on their retirement account, is all they need to do to safely pass on their assets to their loved ones. While this may be a strategy, it does not maximize the transfer of wealth and there are tax and legal ramifications that should be considered.

If your estate is already worth a substantial amount, then there are precautions you may want to seriously consider while you are still in control. How would you feel if the assets that you spent your entire life building were subject to probate or excessive taxes? Or the house you left your children became a subject for controversy and split the family apart? And, if the taxes levied on your estate consumed the bulk of the assets, would that be prudent?

The first step in planning your legacy involves properly structuring a strategy today. You should first seek legal counsel and determine what it is you would like to achieve. A good CPA should be able to provide tax advice and be utilized as well. However, it is imperative that you choose the advice of licensed professionals that have experience in the areas of estate planning. Ironically, many of today’s so called “financial planners” may actually be the ones you may want to leave off of your legacy planning advisor list.

The most important advisor you can have may have the initials CLU after their name, but most certainly they will merit the representation of one America’s fine mutual life insurance companies. The term mutual is very important because it relates to your mutual ownership in the company. This advisor will also have a fluent understanding of this company’s products and services.

Quite simply, the most prudent financial decision you could ever make today also ensures you can leave a legacy for others. And, it also avoids many of the tax and legal issues that usually follow the passing of a loved one.

Life insurance that is properly structured for a holistic approach to legacy planning ensures your control over your assets today and in history. The dollars you use to purchase whole life insurance from a mutual company today may very well be reused by your family and ancestors to achieve financial success in years to come.

Using this approach, your other assets will be relieved of pressure and be used to enjoy today. Reverse mortgages can be utilized and real estate can be sold. Assets can be used when you want or sold with timing at a premium. Risks are minimized and health care issues no longer demand fear.

You can determine your legacy today. Take care in making your decisions and make them now while you can.