What Will Your Financial Legacy Be? It Matters!

Posted June 6, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

Last week, I was listening to a BlogTalkRadio podcast from our friends over at The Women’s Money Council, and it brought up an incredible question – what do you want your financial legacy to be? At first, when I thought about this question, I thought about 401Ks and IRAs, retirement, and the ability to take care of yourself into old age. But as the podcast went on, I realized there was also a need for a legacy long after you’re gone. It’s true that we can’t all be the Rockefellers or the Gates’, but we can set ourselves on a course to deliver a financial legacy that affects our loved ones and important causes.

Listen to the full podcast by clicking here, but also consider the following ideas (some from the podcast, and some of my own) for how you might be able to start your financial legacy-making today.

  • If you have children, or plan to have children, what attitudes do you want them to have about money. The podcast talked a lot about instilling good financial values into your children. Whether you’re thinking about having children or you have them already, you can start to plan these values now. If you want your children to value saving over spending, and long-term over short, you have to start practicing those values today.
  • How can you be a model for others in your life? Perhaps you’re not going to have children, or you just have a large family you’re also concerned about. How can your financial legacy affect them? Perhaps your goal is to help send nieces and nephews to college, or to gift your parents with a trip as they get older. This kind of values system will carry on to the next generations of your family and set you up for a great financial legacy.
  • Philanthropic goals are the key to a great legacy. One of my favorite financial planners always says, “When you die, your money can go one of three places – to the people you want, to the charities you want, or to the government. It’s up to you to decide where and how it’s split.” Philanthropic giving is not only a great investment in your community and into causes you care deeply about, it’s also a great way to solidify your legacy in the world. Whether it’s on a park bench plaque, a seat at a theater, or an anonymous donation to a local nonprofit organization, your charitable giving should be something you consider in your legacy-making journey. But don’t wait until retirement to join a Board or get involved! Even if you don’t have a lot of money to give now, get involved with causes you care about so you can glean which are the best for you to give to later on.

What will your financial legacy be? And how can you be a good steward of that legacy today? Keep it in your mind as you save and as you spend!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."