Alfred Nobel established his eponymous prizes to improve society through knowledge, science, and humanism. But why did he choose to bequest his estate to this altruistic endeavor? Interestingly enough, Alfred read his premature obituary (his brother was the one who had died) which labeled him as the “merchant of death.”
Shaken by his posthumous legacy, Alfred completely rewrote his will to create a foundation that would confer the greatest benefit on mankind in physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature, and peace.
What would your personal and professional legacy be? Is it aligned with your values and goals? You can take steps now to solidify the way in which your family, friends, and colleagues will remember your impact on the world.
Defining Your Professional Legacy
If you left your company today, how would your coworkers and business associates remember you? It’s best to start by defining your values. What is the why behind your career? Think about the causes and organizations that you support. Answering these questions can help you better define what is important to you and what you value.
Are there people to whom you give your time willingly? Do your successors espouse the values and initiative that you tried to display? You’ve led the way within your organization, and you’ve likely left an imprint on those who will follow after you leave. This imprint is the defining gift you give to those in your firm. What do you think the next generation will take away from your personality in the office?
These questions may seem difficult to answer. But you still have time to shape your professional legacy. Building the legacy you want requires you to open up with your peers and explain your vision. It also requires you to relinquish control and to allow others to carry on in your absence.
Preparing Your Personal Legacy
Would you define a life well lived in dollar terms? Likely not — in fact, a full 94 percent of those 55 and older consider a life well lived as “having friends and family that love me." Further, 75 percent call a life well lived as “having made a positive impact on society.” Try reflecting on the version of you that people will think of in your remaining years or after you are gone.
How would you like your loved ones to remember you? In the same survey, 69 percent said they want to be remembered for “the memories I’ve shared with my loved ones.” You have the ability, today, to work on becoming the person you want people to most remember.
Do you have a will, a healthcare directive, and a durable power of attorney? Hopefully you do, but if not, now is the perfect time to take care of your financial legacy before it’s too late. Unfortunately, just 55 percent of those aged 55 and older have a will, and only 18 percent have the aforementioned documents. A financial advisor can help you craft the estate plan that best reflects your goals and values.
What Steps Can You Take Now?
If you weren’t sure about the answers to the questions posed above, there is still time to craft your professional and personal legacy. Start by supporting the people and causes that are important to you. It’s best to winnow the list to a small group of people or organizations so you don’t stretch yourself too thin. If you could only pick one or two causes, what would they be? Now dive in!
Don’t be afraid to share your gifts and blessings with others. Becoming a mentor is a fantastic use of your time in retirement. You have truths and values to impart, and there are those early in their career in need of that guidance. The mentor/mentee relationship is an opportunity for you to give back to the next generation.
Your passions can define your legacy. Pursue them! Your passions reflect the interests and ideas that make a difference in your life. A legacy should reflect your purpose and your truth. By defining and pursuing your passions, you can more clearly create the legacy you want.
Legacy Planning with Harbor Crest Wealth Advisors
Are you happy with your current legacy? Do you think your family and friends will remember what’s important to you? If you answer yes, then you are well on your way to a life of fulfillment. If you aren’t sure, though, you can still solidify the way in which your family, friends, and colleagues will remember your impact on the world.
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