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Leaving a Legacy - Or Not?

By David Smyth

Last week I happened to be at my country club and accidentally walked into a presentation by an estate/legacy attorney that he was giving to potential clients over dinner. I pulled a quick about-face – I was in golf attire after all! – but I overheard him say, “It’s all about legacy, don’t you agree? It’s all about leaving something for your family.”

As I walked away, I thought, what if it’s not necessarily about that? At least, not for everyone. While it’s right there in our tagline – Growing Wealth, for Generations – perhaps we are doing a disservice to the 20 percent (or is it higher?) who have no desire to to leave an inheritance for their progeny. Maybe they’d rather spend the money while they’re alive, or perhaps philanthropic work is more important to them. Maybe they don’t have kids. Or, maybe those kids are expecting a handout and they want to teach them the rewards of hard work and to be good stewards of money. Remember that story about Warren Buffet refusing to pay for his granddaughter’s college?

If you’re one of those people, I apologize for always talking about generational wealth. At Family Financial Partners, we pride ourselves on planning for your specific objectives and goals, so please know, we want you to be 100 percent open and honest with us. It’s not wrong if sharing your wealth with future generations isn’t one of your goals.

The beauty of having a financial planning team and working with so many client families over the last 18 years is that I’ve come to realize how much I truly enjoy and embrace that each family is unique. I revel in the challenge of creating individualized financial plans that aren’t in the form of a cookie cutter.

Many of you have already come in for your first and even second meeting of the year. So as you’re sitting on your front porch this summer reflecting on your life over a cold glass of tea – that’s what we do here in the south! – perhaps you’re realizing that you haven’t felt comfortable voicing to us that your legacy wishes differ from what seems to be the norm. Well, jot those thoughts down and bring them up in your next planning meeting. It’s okay to have an opinion that goes against the grain, and to do things with your money that your neighbors or coworkers might not agree with. Those are your hard-earned assets!

Life doesn’t happen in a perfect air-tight box, and I’m privileged to have the opportunity to work with each of you in a way that meets your specific needs, addresses your goals, and helps you reach for your dreams.

So, with Memorial Day behind us and the days getting longer, have a wonderful and relaxing summer. Enjoy the time with your kids and grandkids, and let us know how we can help. Just don’t call us to babysit!

Oh, and PS: Mom and Dad Smyth, please disregard all of the above. Love, your eldest son.

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