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The past month has been absolutely crazy for me personally. I have probably spent more nights in a hotel than in my own bed.
I’ve been to California, Tennessee, South Dakota and then wrapped it all up with a short 3-day getaway with my wife at a nearby town just to spend a little time together (no kids!) and catch our breath.
In between all of this traveling we finally closed on our first house (post to come in the future about that). So saying I’ve been busy is an understatement.
I am ready to get back in a routine, to write more regularly and share more with you guys!
Starting Your Journey
It’s no secret around here that I am passionate about leaving a legacy. It is the thing that drives me the most, the thing that all of my decisions are centered around.
Related: What leaving a legacy means to me
So I wanted to lay out a few very simple steps that each and every one of you can take TODAY to begin your journey of leaving a lasting legacy.
Maybe you have already checked a few of these items off your list. Awesome! You have got a great start. Maybe you have got all of them knocked out. Even better! If you are of the latter variety I would like to challenge you to leave a comment and list one more practical action or step that we can all take towards leaving a lasting legacy.
The one thing that I think I need to stress is that this is a journey, not a destination. There is not a master list that you can go through and check off one by one until you have them completed, then throw up your hands and say I’m done.
It doesn’t work that way. Although I wish it did.
Leaving a legacy is something that takes shape over a lifetime. And a legacy can be ruined much quicker than it is built. Ask Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen or Mel Gibson just to name a few.
This is a list to get you started and pointed in the right direction.
You should sit down and really think about what life would be like for your family if you are gone. Not only will they miss your income but they will also miss the role that you play in their lives. Think of simple things like pick-up and drop-off from school, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, laundry, etc. Imagine if you went from having someone helping you do all of these things to doing it all by yourself.
I mean it, sit down and think about it. It’s not fun but I believe it is a critical first step to leaving a lasting legacy.
Depending on your situation you may be able to handle all of these things. But if you have 5 kids and you have to work full-time to make things work financially I think you will be stressed out, tired and have no time for anything but necessities.
How much money would it take to hire someone to do things like clean your house or watch your children? Start there and of course you need to take into consideration your monthly fixed costs as well.
Write a Letter
Maybe to some of you this seems a bit silly. It’s such a simple thing to do. Not necessarily an easy thing to do though as it requires some thought. If I were to die today there are many things that I want my wife and children to know. My wife already knows how much I love her but there are also some things that I want her to know and to do when I’m gone.
Related: Why I created Millennial Legacy
For instance, I want her to know that it is absolutely OK to remarry. Just make sure that he is an awesome, upstanding guy that will put her first.
There are many things that I want my children to know, but right now they are too young to understand or too young for their ears to hear. I haven’t just written one letter, I have written multiple letters to them for different stages in their life. This may sound like a lot of work but who are they going to turn to when their dad is gone and they need life advice from a dad’s perspective.
Start today with just one letter to your family telling them how much they mean to you.
Again, this is so simple but could possibly have a profound effect on your children.
I believe being involved in your community is important. Sure, it would be easy to just sit on the sidelines in your own little world, hoard all of your money and never give or put yourself out there to help anyone else. But what good would that do?
You may die a rich man. So what! A selfish life is no life at all.
I believe in giving back to others. Using my skills and talents and money to help others and make our community better. There are lots of ways to do this, whether it be volunteering, serving on boards or giving to local charities. These are all ways that we can make our community better.
Personally, I am involved in a few different organizations that do great things. Right now with three kids I am trying not to take on too much and overextend myself but still believe the work I am doing makes a difference. This is one of those things that I plan to take to the next level in retirement.
Set up an appointment today to go meet with an attorney to write-up a will. Everyone needs a will. Everyone.
I have heard of too many horror stories out there from people who had loved ones die and had no will in place. I am not an attorney but I know that if there is not a will it is most likely not going to be a simple process.
Having an attorney draw up a will can be a costly endeavor. If your estate is not overly complicated try looking online. There are several companies that will draw up a very simple state-specific will at a significant discount to what a typical attorney will charge.
These are all steps that you can get started on today. What other actionable steps can you think of to begin your journey of leaving a legacy?
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