Every client needs a realistic vision of retirement. As part of a client's retirement thinking, it is recommended he or she imagine and identify their legacy - how do they want to be remembered?
Successful retirees tell me they give considerable thought to legacy. They imagine being 90, 95 or 100 years of age and ask themselves 'When you look back on life, what will stand out as your best accomplishments? When others think of you, what will be their memories?' Such thinking provides an additional direction to retirement planning. These two questions help keep perspective and set priorities for action.
When Sharon built her retirement vision, she included 'being remembered as a wonderful grandmother.' To this end, Sharon allotted time and resources to attending her granddaughter's sporing events, helping her out at school, taking her to movies, plays and the zoo and playing games. Recently Sharon's sixteen year old granddaughter said: "Grandma, when I grow up I want to be just like you!" What a beautiful legacy!
Another way to leverage the idea of legacy is to leave a gift of family history. Now is the time for clients to record knowledge about themselves, their mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members - who the client and family member are or were, including occupations, hobbies and interests. Family medical history should be listing as such facts may be life saving.
Ask your client "What is going to be your legacy? What is your gift to family?" Here are suggested topics for inclusion in a legacy / gift to family description:
- A listing and description of values and beliefs
- Things learned from grandparents, parents, children, spouse and others
- What is the client grateful for?
- Hopes for the future
- Important events in life and the lives of relatives
- Things regretted doing
- The client's happiest times
- Lessons learned the hard way
- The importance of spiritual belief
It is amazing how much information each of us has about ourselves and our families and how deeply this information will be treasured.
Richard (Rick) Atkinson, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is author of the best-selling book, Don't Just Retire - Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others.