How to Create Your Life Legacy & Change the World

You’re creating your life legacy, and in some way, you want to change the world. Some of us take this quite literally—wanting to have an impact on a global scale or to impact as many people as possible. For others, it means changing the world for those closest to you with the legacy you leave behind.

Either way, you need to plan your life legacy accordingly. 

I believe we all want to have a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. However, sometimes this is hard to find while we’re busy living our day to day lives.

Without taking action spurred on by what gives us meaning, we’re not living up to our true potential. We’re missing out on our ability to grow and thrive in more ways than we realize. 

When we discover and create our life legacy path, we derive extreme pleasure from both living our legacy and passing on our values and meaning to our next generation. 

Experiencing a more fulfilling life by Imagining Your Legacy will have a profound impact on your life and the lives of others. Ultimately, we have the means and therefore the ability to change the world. 

But when charitable-minded Canadians set out to amplify the impact of their donations, they face certain challenges, particularly without proper guidance.

The challenge of too many options. 

One of the biggest hurdles we may face in legacy planning is being presented with too many options. This muddies the waters and creates a much more confusing and overwhelming process than necessary.

As a financial planner, it’s my role to help you create a philanthropic plan that’s reflective of your values. One that ensures you’re leaving the life legacy you intend to. To achieve this goal, we focus on actionable steps and practical knowledge you can apply to your current situation. 

Financial planners can guide you through the process of planning your life legacy by helping you make decisions in your best interest. 

But ultimately, the power is in your hands. 

Guiding decision making. 

One of the most important questions you should ask a financial planner before hiring them is, “what’s your approach to financial planning?” 

If you have philanthropic goals and charitable planning in mind, your financial planner needs to work in congruence with these goals. Your planner should have experience in strategic philanthropy and a desire to help their clients leave a life legacy they’re proud of. 

Your financial planner’s approach should align with your goals, values, and intentions. With this alignment, they can help guide you in the most effective decision making for your life. 

Again, the power ultimately lies in your hands. But your financial planner can guide your decision making by helping you discover a path to leaving the legacy you intend to. 

Starting important conversations.

Having meaningful conversations about money and our legacy is very time-consuming. For many of us, time is money—especially in my world—and it’s not always easy.

I often meet with individuals who know they want to create a legacy, but they aren’t clear on exactly what their values are. Without this clarity, it’s difficult to determine exactly what they want your legacy to be.

It’s our role to not only help you answer these questions for yourself but to help you understand why they need to be asked in the first place. 

It can get complicated and it requires a shift in mindset and perspective that also takes time. 

Shifting mindsets.

We can look at our behaviour on a continuum, starting with pre-contemplation. This is where we haven’t thought about a concept and how that impacts our behaviour. Next, is contemplation. We’ve thought about it and haven’t done anything yet or made a decision. Finally, we get to action. This can be either reaction or what I call pro-action. 

We need different things at different points on this continuum. So, if we are in pre-contemplation stage, we need information to move us to the contemplation phase. As a financial planner, it’s my job to offer you that information.

In this phase, we are faced with our symbolic scale where on the one hand we have barriers to taking action, and on the other side of the scale, we have the desire to take action and make a difference in the world—to create a legacy plan and path. The goal at the contemplation phase is to remove the barriers. 

One of the barriers we have is words. Words create the language we use in order to be able to communicate with each other. We assign different meanings to words, and in many cases, we don’t even understand the meaning of words like philanthropy, planned giving, or bequests. I sure didn’t. 

Add to that, in the money world we also have words we use that aren’t accessible, like Estate Planning. Most people think that means having a Will, but there is so much more than that. 

This is a problem. It is a barrier for all of us and we need to take the time to explore and understand what we mean in order to be able to move forward. The language can be intimidating and given all the different interpretations and meanings, it requires more time and the ability to go deeper in order to truly have meaningful conversations about money and our legacy. 

Including how our money personalities affect our decision making.

Money personalities.

In the 20 years I’ve worked in financial services, and 18 years prior to that as a social worker and psychotherapist (a sex therapist as well which seems to create greater intrigue. If you’re interested, please see my talk about The Magic of Sex here), I’ve realized our mindset can create barriers for us. These barriers apply significantly to leaving a legacy and financial planning. 

Regardless of the amount of money someone makes or has, I hear this statement all the time, “I don’t have any money.” But what I see is many different ways to maximize what you DO have. All that’s needed is a restructuring of things in order to fulfill your life legacy goals and plans. 

A second comment I hear is, ”I’m just going to leave it all to my kids and they can sort things out.” 

The sad thing about this comment is we are unwittingly making the taxman an unintended beneficiary of our estate, at least in Canada we are. 

A third and final observation I’ve made about mindset has to do with our primary and secondary money personalities.

We all have different money personalities that determine how we approach and deal with money. If you have a partner, their money personalities interact with yours and that can create some very interesting dynamics. There is no right or wrong money personality, be it saver, spender, security seeker, risk-taker, and flyer. 

There are strengths and challenges with each personality type which impacts how you interact with money and what you do with it. 

Getting the right help.

Depending on your money personality and your goals, you’ll need a certain kind of help. Your financial planner needs to discuss not only your financial values but your VALUES! To strategically plan your philanthropic efforts, your reason, and motivation for giving needs to be understood. 

At the same time, they’ll help you overcome the roadblocks in your way of taking the steps you need to secure your life legacy.

Among these roadblocks is how often the tax credits for charitable giving are underestimated. Many Canadians assume the cost of giving is too high, but in reality, the tax credits on donations can be nothing short of impressive. 

Beginning the journey.

Underestimating the tax credits for charitable giving is just one roadblock many Canadians face, along with not being clear on their values or how to take the next step. 

To overcome these roadblocks, I encourage you to keep a positive, open mind. As we remain open and welcoming to limitless possibilities, the universe works with us to provide. 

When you see positive things, the roadblocks disappear. 

Of course, the right help won’t hurt either.

To help you illuminate the path forward, overcome roadblocks, and leave a life legacy you’re proud of, the help of a financial planner can make a world of difference.

Did you enjoy this article? Here are three more you should also have a look at:

Have you thought about what you want your legacy to be?
Who do you want to benefit from your money when you are no longer here?
How to Magnify Your Charitable Gift Giving

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