What comes to mind when you hear the word legacy?You might think about a piece of family history like property, an heirloom, recipe, or story. Or maybe something less concrete like a person’s character, values, or presence. It could even be a charity, foundation, or organization.
Most of these descriptions, while significant, ascribe a legacy to a traditional lens, something confined to a future you can’t see. But your legacy as a couple stretches far beyond this measure of time.
Legacy reaches past a singular moment to encapsulate a feeling, action, and way of life. Your legacy as a couple is intimately connected to your life and actions now. Today, we would like to expand your ideas of what a legacy is and the many possibilities for what yours can become.
With the right planning and a mindset to match, you can look at your legacy in a new way.
Live Your Legacy
A legacy isn’t only something you leave behind. It lives, breathes, and evolves with you. How is that the case? Because it’s in you.Your legacy can start to take shape in unexpected, even ordinary places. It can be found in the gentle smile you share with your spouse at the breakfast table; the giggles from grandchildren the second you walk through the door; the deep, thought-proving conversations with friends that expand your world-view; the quiet stillness of evening prayer.
Each of these moments leaves room for meaning, intention, and reflection. Leaning into these moments is where you develop the building blocks of your legacy. The smaller pieces add up to a fuller, more complete picture.
Act With Intention
Building your legacy starts by making the most of the gifts you have to improve your life and the lives of others around you. Start by using your time and talents to serve yourself and others.If you want your legacy to have a charitable-focus, for example, make charitable giving a tradition. Volunteer with your family and friends, use your skills to better the community, and give generously to organizations you are passionate about.
These actions demonstrate your legacy and continue to build it every day.Your legacy is also defined by how you live your life and the choices you make. As a married couple, it’s essential to make those choices and live them out together. Be sure to play on each other’s strengths and engage in activities that let both of your talents’ shine.
While you both might be involved in your local church, for example, you could serve in different ways that suit your strengths. For you it might be music ministry, for your spouse, it could be fundraising efforts.
There are so many meaningful ways to be involved. When you apply your unique skills and passions, you will flourish. These actions help you say yes at the moment and live the legacy you want to develop.
Determine What’s Important
When you think about your legacy as a couple, you need to create a plan that suits both of you, just like you have done throughout your marriage. One piece of that conversation is deciding the role your finances play in creating and sustaining your legacy.How can your finances support your dreams for the future? Below are a few things to consider.
- Support your favorite charity/organization
- Pass down your love for charitable giving
- Help fund your grandchild’s education
- Invest in your new business or passion project
- Finance your dreams
There is no right or wrong answer here. It is all about what matters most to you and your family. When you know what you want, you can then use your finances to support those bigger goals. That’s why our team is so passionate about goal-setting.Goals are the benchmark for the rest of your financial plan. Your goals inspire your saving, spending, giving, and other financial habits.
Make A Plan To Support Your Vision
You have a general idea of the legacy you want and goals to help keep it in place, now what? The next step is to include these wonderful ideas into your financial plan. Ask yourself the following questions.
- How can your financial resources help you build the legacy you want?
- What intentional financial moves can you make today?
- How can your estate plan best reflect these wishes?
Aligning your financial goals with your personal goals can help you think more deeply about your legacy.If there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: live out the legacy you want to leave behind. A legacy is more than the future. It is right now. What can you do to further your legacy today? The beautiful (and scary) thing is that it’s up to you.
Our team at Step by Step works with couples to help them align their finances with their goals and values. We are passionate about helping married couples build a financial plan that serves them for years to come. If you would like to learn more, schedule a time to talk with us today.