“There is a strange charm in the hope of a good legacy that wonderfully reduces the sorrow people otherwise may feel of their relatives and friends.” ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Yesterday I beat my chest (a little) about the Baby Boomer (BB) generation. Yet the post’s intent was to highlight personal values and the importance for BB to create and pass on values-based legacies. I mentioned that a follow-on post would provide some legacy ‘prep’ questions. So here we are.
But first, a couple of marketing factoids about the BB cohort. They are the most powerful age segment based size and economic clout. They have more discretionary income than any other group in America. They are not fanatically loyal to brands and they account for 40% of total consumer demand in the U.S. – which equates to estimated annual spending in the US$2 Trillion range. And their wealth has taken a huge hit by a nearly-unprecedented economic downturn.
Yet there were setbacks over the last half-century that BB are responsible for. For instance, the group is frequently said to be too materialistic, egotistical, and overly anxious to assert its philosophies on others. The group is also split regarding social responsibility and generally helping fellow citizens (just look at the U. S. political and wealth divides as cases in point). And, the group has attempted to spread democracy and other distinctly American values on people around the world creating a cultural schism between the U.S. and other countries.
So, yes, I’m not entirely proud of my generation. Still, many of us have worked hard and created a good life for our heirs. Also, many BB have given away sizable portions of their financial gains to charitable/philanthropic causes. In a recent national survey of BB, for the overwhelming majority surveyed, legacy transfer is critically important. Those legacies could include tangible memory captures, personal perspectives on flexible and changing traditions, lessons learned, and the value in contributing to society; things that are worth cataloging, understanding, and appreciating long-term.
For those thinking about what values are important to an impending legacy, the following questions to consider:
Are there spiritual stories or events that have had an impact on my life?
- What family history would I like future generations to remember?
- What photographs, videos or possessions capture this history?
- Do I/we have annual family trips, reunions, or gatherings?
- Is there a specific lesson or teaching I/we want remembered?
It takes reflection to understand what is important in your life and how you might get that message to heirs. But it won’t be a waste of time. Sometimes a scrapbook, family album or audio recording is worth more than an investment portfolio. Values are valued!