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Week 15: Leaving a legacy

By Sam Instone - April 15, 2021

This week’s news was the sad passing of Prince Philip.

He’s left his mark.

A legacy as a son, father, husband and leader.

It inspired me to think about ‘legacy’ and what we will all be leaving behind for our loved ones and future generations.

Here’s some of my reading around the topic.

Most of our readers are senior executives, successful leaders and business owners living around the world. They are high-earners who live a full-life on their terms. As a result, many are raising their children in affluent households.

Finding the balance between giving your children what you can afford and putting boundaries in place can be difficult. This article in Humble Dollar talks about privileged upbringings and how they often look like guaranteed recipes for unmotivated children, which isn’t the case. There’s more to parenting than meets the eye. He lists five important factors in raising motivated, productive and successful children. These include priorities, guidance, modelling, teaching and communicating.

Similarly, Liberty Wealth poses the question: What happens if you find yourself today, as a successful and wealthy adult, raising children in a home where that old default script of ‘we can’t afford it’ and ‘you need to go get a job’ doesn’t work anymore? What happens if ‘living within your means’ literally means spending half a million or a million dollars a year? Your children still need to learn the same lessons that you did. You’ll find great advice in here from Coventry Edwards-Pitt, author of “Raised Healthy, Wealthy and Wise”.

Maven Adviser talks about practising what we preach. Being in the financial services profession, we guide investors towards their ideal futures – the kind of futures everyone wants, including financial planners themselves. He says he invests the same way he preaches. Lives the way he preaches. And, insures the way he preaches. It really hit home with me. True financial planning is a noble profession in that planners not only give investors the same advice they would give their family, but the same advice they’d give themselves.

No one likes to think about their last day on the planet. It’s often what makes estate planning and will writing difficult to do. You have to visualise what your family’s lives would be like without you. A painful pill to swallow. This LinkedIn article shares the heart-warming story of KPMG’s CEO and how he chose to live out his remaining days after being diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2005. Perhaps it inspires you to pick up the phone today and call up a friend or loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while.

For those who’ve not yet completed their will, read this. Putting your will together is not nearly as intimidating as you might think.

My brilliant friend Andrew Hallam, author of Millionaire Teacher, shared a chapter of his new book – The Millionaire Teacher’s Guide to Living Well. In there, he writes about meeting a gentleman who loves tech gadgets and who could recall how he felt when he bought his first iPhone. That same gentleman also spoke about the time when he and his son spent a week mountain biking in New Zealand. Andrew posed a thought-provoking scenario to him: You have one more month to live. The Grim Reaper says, “I’m going to erase one of your memories. It’s going to be the memory of your favourite material purchase or the memory of your favourite experiential purchase.” Not surprisingly, the man said he would rather sacrifice the memory of any “thing” he bought than relinquish a memory of an enjoyable time with his family. It makes me rethink how I’ll be spending my time this weekend and how to create more memorable moments with my children.

Technology has made our lives easier but it has also fragmented our leisure time, creating a near-universal feeling that we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Agree? This Rational Reminder podcast explores the idea of time poverty. It also addresses the need to engage in meaningful activities that increase the value of your time and how to incorporate time poverty into your financial planning.

For senior international professionals and business owners, your legacy extends beyond the home and into the workplace. The pandemic has often been described as the great separator of human-focussed vs money-focussed organisations. With mental health a vital topic of conversation, what are you doing to help your employees in need? This piece from Aetna might spark a few ideas.

Legacy also stems from the culture you cultivate within your organisation. We recently updated our culture code – perhaps you’d like to take a look and see what makes us tick as high-performance professionals.

To end off, Morgan Housel shares a few of the big lessons of the last year. It’s too easy to assume that when faced with terrible circumstances, people will only muster a normal response. It’s never like that. Expectations reset, survival instincts unleash new creative juices, and people start thinking and acting in ways they wouldn’t have contemplated before.

Covid-19 is far from over, but we’re now more than a year into these extraordinary circumstances. Enough has happened that we can start to ask “what lessons have we learned?”. As a parent, professional, leader, friend and partner – what has the past year taught you? And how has it changed your views on your and your family’s futures?


A question for you:

Money and assets aside – what kind of legacy would you like to leave behind? One of love and kindness, health and happiness or transformational leadership?


This week's meditations

"I want to leave my children enough that they feel they can do anything, but not so much that they do nothing."
Warren Buffett

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

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Have a great weekend and enjoy the ‘light’ reading! 


Adam M. Grossman for Humble Dollar 'Showing the Way'

Liberty Wealth's 'Not Everything Gets Easier'

Coventry Edwards-Pitt's 'Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise: Lessons from successful and grounded inheritors on how they got that way'

Maven Adviser's 'Why it's important to practice what I preach'

Robert Glazer's LinkedIn article 'A Terminal Diagnosis Led This CEO To Many of The Best Days of His Life - Here's What He Did.'

Monument Wealth Management's 'Preparing a Will Checklist: 3 Items You Can’t Forget'

Andrew Hallam's 'Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School'

Rational Reminder podcast episode 'Ashley Whillans: How to be (Time) Rich'

Aetna's 'COVID-19 vs mental health: How businesses can help employees win'

AES International's 'Culture Code'

Morgan Housel's 'The Big Lessons of the Last Year'