If asked “what are your family’s strongest traditions?” most of us could quickly list several important traditions. They may include recipes, games, repeated stories or holiday customs. Some traditions are the source of others, such as an annual trip to the grandparents, time spent at a family cabin, or hunting or working your land together. All of these provide a sense of both community and identity for family members.
How tradition becomes a legacy
The most important traditions also pass down the values of your family. These traditions are more than fun memories. They shape the lives of younger generations; they define character; they impact futures. In a word, they become legacies.
A tradition of working together on the family farm becomes a legacy of a strong work ethic. A tradition of gardening, canning and cooking becomes a legacy of home-cooked family meals throughout the year, not just at holidays. Early morning fishing trips become a legacy of conservation and love for the outdoors. Your legacy will influence how your children or grandchildren live their lives and how they’ll raise their children to live theirs. Given the importance of a legacy, you should take intentional steps to encourage it.
Questions to help create an intentional legacy
What are your family’s traditions? What are your family’s legacies?
What memories of your parents and grandparents do you have? What traditions did you enjoy then that you do with your family now? Also, ask your children and grandchildren what they view as traditions. Then ask, “What is the legacy my family is gaining from this tradition?”
How can you encourage the traditions and legacies you have?
This is the intentionality part of building an intentional legacy. Cementing a legacy requires planning for extra time together. Pass on your family’s recipes and then plan a few extra times a year to cook them together. Add another weekend or two at the cabin each year.
What else do you need to do?
Some legacies require more than just keeping traditions. If you have land, a lake house, or a farm that’s part of your traditions, keep it in the family by working with a financial advisor, a lawyer, and your insurance agent. They can help you address any tax or financial issues to keep them for the next generation. If you want to provide either an educational or financial legacy for your family, different financial and insurance strategies can help fund those goals while reducing tax issues.
ARECU is always ready to help you accomplish your financial goals for yourself and your family, including building legacies. Call us at (800) 381-7328 to learn more.