Legacy Journey Feed

Legacy Planning In Canada

From BCBusiness Online:

In line with their penchant for tweaking all sorts of social norms, wealthy boomers are shifting away from traditional estate planning – dividing their cash and assets between the next generation – toward the newer concept of legacy planning: figuring out how they want to be remembered and how they want to contribute to their families, communities and the rest of the world. A 2005 survey by global insurance giant Allianz found that boomers and their parents actually felt that the non-financial things an individual leaves behind – values, morality, faith – are 10 times more important to them than who gets the stuff or the money.

However, while exceptionally wealthy Canadians (those with upwards of $10 million) are increasingly leaving the bulk of their estates to charitable causes, our need to leave a monetary legacy for the kids remains pretty strong. Economists have identified four basic motives for this. First, there's the altruistic: the sheer pleasure of knowing our children will benefit. There's the egotistic, when the bequest has more to do with our own selfish desire for immortality than to help our children. There's also the strategic, when we use the promise of inheritance as a carrot to extract filial obedience, such as joining the family business, getting a degree, choosing a "suitable" mate or maybe even visiting us in our old age. Lastly, there's the accidental motive: we may not intend to leave anything when we die, but we wind up saving more than we can spend, so our heirs luck out.


My Legacy Journey

In his blog post, My Legacy Journey Begins, Randy Ottinger, author of Beyond Success, writes of how he "found his calling." I was struck by that phrase having just read an account of the Calvinist Work Ethic, as developed by Max Weber. Reading client mission statements, or the bromides clients on their death bed pass on to their heirs, I am reminded of Pilgrim's Progress,  Defoe's Robinson Crusoe or his Moll Flanders, or Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac.  What is missing, in our Venture Pilgrims, so often is a sense of sin, of the vanity of human wishes, of the absurd figure we all cut against the immensity of the darkness on which we dance like a bubble on a starlit ocean. Maybe it is my Catholic upbringing, but the idea of a calling strikes me as a potential exercise in self-idolatry. When God calls you, as he did St Paul, on the road to Damascus, you can expect to end up dead before your time, often in agony. The Me Generation is going to go out in style, called to one last effort. I applaud it, but feel as I did when we protested in the 1960's, that we are a bit full of ourselves.  The best thing this generation could do for the world is to die off, and leave it to those who can rectify the terrible messes we have made. My legacy journey is to the Dumpster. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. My journey could be called a trip, not the LSD kind, but a trip to nowhere.  Maybe it would be different if I had been a Success. Maslow always said you had to get to meaning by way of getting on in the world, one step at a time up that pyramid. I started at the top with Meaning, found it did not pay, and so my journey was straight down to the trash. Well, Jesus went nowhere too. At least I probably won't be executed for Treason, unless I am called to it.