A Gifting of Values

“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!

17 thoughts on “A Gifting of Values

  1. Great wrap up Eric, This is a particularly poignant post for me as to legacy. I’m not that sure that I’ve made much difference, and have no family to leave things to or continue on. But still I reflect, strive to improve and hope my brother’s family may want some of what I have to share (material and otherwise). boomer’s unite!

    • Thanks, Brad. I believe the post is poignant for many, at least those of the BB generation. I’m in the same boat with no heirs. While I intend to pass on some of what I can’t take with me (provided it still exists) to siblings and their children, I also want to bequeath to organizations that I feel do great things in the social and charitable sphere. It’s good that we are blessed with the resources to do this! Appreciate your kind comments.

  2. Most of my friends are BBs. I have found that unlike many of my generation, BBs possess the integrity that you mention in one of your previous posts, especially the part about “[not] acting for the sake of others”. This is one of the valuable lessons I have learned from my BB friends. Sometimes they can be a little too set in their ways at times, but I love and appreciate them nonetheless. 🙂

    • We’re good people, aren’t we? 🙂 I hear that “set in their ways” view and know it. I may even be guilty of it myself (gasp!). To your comment though, I love myself and many from my generational cohort. Thanks for the favorable nod. 🙂

  3. Eric, you should coin the term ‘legacy transfer’! It is indeed a baby boomer thing, as as there are so many (of us) you are sitting on a gold mine….. [just start digging and (we) enjoy the further finds!]

    • Thanks for the encouraging prod, Chris. I suspect someone has already coined the term. It is, however, part of what I do when working with people to shift their lives from success to significance. And in that work, there are plentiful veins to mine!

  4. Such a good post Eric. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I have two grown up sons and something I’ve been extremely touched by is their compassion and their universal acceptance of people. It’s something I deeply admire in them and I like to think that just maybe we had a bit of a hand in it, at least I hope so. Again, thank you for a great post.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Don. I think we of some age can relate to the concept of ‘legacy transfer’ and how important it is for us to pass on something(s) of value. How beautiful and treasurable that your sons exemplify compassion and universal acceptance of people. Can we clone them? 🙂 And you need not be so modest; of course you had something to do with who they have become and are being. Take a deserved bow, Dad.

    • You are quite kind, MM. I am humbled, particularly when an award nomination comes from someone whose work and words I genuinely appreciate. However, I will decline your thoughtful recognition. While you were on holidays, I chose to shift my blog to an award free site. While awards are truly gratifying, they consume time and energy to properly ‘process,’ that I just don’t have. Thanks very much for acknowledging the blog.

  5. Is statistics are correct I see a decade of economic boom when all of a sudden a generation will inherit & may probably double their net worth!! I hope this will help a bit to offset the projected bankruptcy of social-security. 🙂

    • Wouldn’t that be a great outcome if an economic turnaround doubled people’s net worth? Keep in mind though, that the post’s focus wasn’t so much about financial inheritance as it was to highlight ‘legacy transfer’ as it pertains to personal values. Thanks for reading and energetically commenting. 🙂

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