What Financial Legacy Are You Leaving Behind?

For a lot of people, the end goal of getting out of debt and saving money is a secure retirement that meets their needs. Maybe they can even splurge on a few extras or give to charities that matter. Those are great goals, but what if you could do more? The great news is that you can! You can leave a legacy for generations to come—if you plan and work for it.

Immediate Gratification

We like quick wins, don’t we? That’s why the debt snowball method is such a great approach to getting out of debt. When you pay off your debt using the debt snowball, you pay the smallest debts first. Those small victories keep you moving toward the bigger goal of becoming debt-free.

But investing for retirement doesn’t have those built-in, quick rewards. You have to look beyond your quarterly statement and picture how your commitment to budgeting and saving can change your family’s future, even right now.

Your Children and Financial Habits

As you’re working toward your retirement goal, your example shapes your children’s financial habits. Kids who grow up to be good savers often say their parents taught them about money, so talk with your kids about how and why saving for retirement is a priority. It’s important for your kids to understand you’re not doing it just so you can kick back and relax once you call it quits at work. They should know that, by taking action now to provide for your retirement, you will avoid burdening them with your financial needs in the future.

That idea may not mean much when your kids are young, but once they’re on their own, they’ll appreciate it. They’ll see how the legacy of personal responsibility not only transformed your life, but theirs as well. As they have children of their own, they’ll be even more grateful.

A Lasting Legacy

Unfortunately, only 56% of American retirees plan to leave an inheritance for their children. Most believe they won’t have any money to leave their kids after they make it through retirement. But by following a retirement investing plan that works, you can leave a legacy of responsibility as well as a financial legacy that can affect your family and community for generations to come. I call this concept the three L’s of leaving a legacy:

  1. Loving—Showing love to your family, your community and charitable causes. Your careful saving is an act of love. Long after you’re gone, your grandkids (and even their kids) will know that you loved well because you provided well.
  1. Lifting—Providing a financial lift. Saving your money now will allow your family, your community or charitable causes to go further and faster because of you. Your investing in retirement could help your grandchildren as they plan for and attend college. In being disciplined and focused now, you’re giving the future generation a head start to living a debt-free life. That approach to money could change your family tree for the better!
  1. Leaving—Leaving lasting memories of your hard work and focus. Your money habits pass the baton of financial wellness and responsibility to the next generation. At the Hogan house, my boys know the value of money. If they see a quarter on the ground, it won’t stay there for long! They understand the importance of working toward goals. They know that every little bit matters. My goal is to pass them my convictions about money, budgeting and retirement.

Legacies Are Made

Legacies like this are never accidental. It takes planning, focus and effort. If you’re investing 15% of your income for retirement, you are well on your way to establishing a lasting legacy. As you continue your journey through the Baby Steps, saving for college expenses, and paying off your home early, keep your eye on the prize—building wealth and giving! That’s how legacies are made.

Even if you are single, your approach to money and savings can leave a legacy. Think about the nieces and nephews whose lives could be radically changed because you left an inheritance. Maybe you are the godparent to a friend or cousin’s child who could go to college because you saved wisely. What if you could bless a struggling non-profit whose passion you share? There’s no limit to the people and organizations you could bless by leaving an inheritance to them.

From Investing to Legacy Building

Transforming your retirement into a legacy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s not something you want to handle on your own. Work with a trusted, experienced investing advisor who can teach you how to make the most of your money and give you advice about how to safeguard the legacy you’re building.

Don’t let anybody tell you that leaving a legacy is impossible or that it’s not worth the effort. Few things are more satisfying than knowing the results of your hard work will live on through future generations!