Leaving a Financial Legacy

I recall a few years ago being invited to do a financial seminar for a group of about 50 women. When the room was filled to capacity I began the presentation. Soon thereafter I asked the question, “How many people here are expecting to receive an inheritance?” First, there was silence. Then a few nervous giggles as women looked around at each other. Finally, after a few moments one hand shot up in the air! Ironically, it happened to be a 4 year-old child sitting in the front row with her mother! The room erupted in laughter. Why would this 4 year-old expect a financial legacy to be passed on to her? A better question is….why not?

It is extremely important for us as parents to be conscious of how we behave with our finances. We must work to make our current actions build a strong financial legacy for future generations. We want to be able to share our developing financial savvy with our children and even our children’s children. The catch, though, is we may need to look back in order to see forward. Spend some time writing answers to the following questions. It’s an Emotional Money Inventory that will help you discover the origins of the financial drama in your life and understand how and why you spend the way you do:

  • Who managed the money in your home when you were growing up?
  • What kind of relationship did you have with that person?
  • What did you learn about money from being in that environment?
  • What negative-or positive-messages about money did you learn as you grew up?
  • How does your childhood experience with money affect your spending and debting behavior today as an adult?
  • Do your current money habits mirror someone else in your family-past or present?
  • Do your money habits reflect the absolute opposite of someone who influenced you as a child?

It’s okay if some of these questions make you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. As soon as you move past what’s buried deep within you emotionally when it comes to money, you can then begin to heal your psychological issues with money and make small shifts in your behavior that result in major changes for the better over time.

For example, if you always thought money was a source of pain, struggle, and bitter arguments, now it’s time to view money as a source of freedom, comfort, and security. Just that one slight shift in your mentality can usher in better money-spending habits that will, in the end, allow your children to answer in the affirmative when asked the question, “How many of you expect to receive an inheritance?”

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