Stress comes in all shapes and sizes, but taking steps to address it can help curb anxiety for you and your loved ones. In fact, researchers at North Carolina State University found that when combined with mindfulness, the simple act of planning for future events can help you live a more balanced and stress-free life.
It’s an approach that can translate to our financial lives as well, especially when it comes to building your financial legacy. Most estate planning work, like drafting a will and choosing beneficiaries, can help make for a smooth transition when the time comes. However, your monetary legacy goes beyond the basics — it’s about living your financial values while you’re still here.
Here’s why a thoughtful and practical financial legacy can help your family cope with finances after you’ve gone:
You’ll be providing your family with the tools they need to feel in control
Your monetary legacy is really a reflection of your values. The best way to pass your financial values on to your loved ones is to actively teach them during your lifetime. It doesn’t have to be complicated — sometimes life’s greatest lessons come from everyday moments, like sharing a meal or running errands together. These are perfect opportunities to teach your children and grandchildren things like budgeting and the importance of saving. Planting these seeds early can help them grow into financially-confident adults who have a healthy relationship with money.
Another way to pass on strong financial lessons is to share your wealth of knowledge with your loved ones. Whether you manage your money yourself or have partnered with a trusted financial advisor, passing these resources onto your loved ones can have a lifelong positive effect. The right advisor can help you see the big picture and create an investment portfolio that’s aligned with your unique long-term goals. Having the opportunity to work with multiple generations can also give your advisor a clearer picture of your entire family’s financial wealth and values. Think of it as just another way to help your family feel financially empowered over the long haul.
Teaching your family valuable lessons is no small thing. This applies to all facets of life, from raising children to navigating tough times to celebrating the big moments. Managing your finances should be no different.
Planning ahead will help your family deal with the unexpected
When you die, your debt lives on — and depending on the type, your estate or cosigner will be responsible for it. To make sure your family is financially prepared to cover debt, funeral costs and day-to-day expenses, consider purchasing a life insurance policy. That way, your family can have access to much-needed financial relief, especially if your death was unexpected. It’s something that could save your family from financial ruin, especially if you were the primary breadwinner.
Beyond securing the right life insurance policy, it’s important to communicate the details to your family so they know you’ve taken this extra step to look out for them. Knowing that it’s there when they need it can provide real emotional and financial relief, particularly when it comes to settling funeral costs and taking care of regular monthly bills.
You’ll create memories that will be cherished long after you’re gone
As we grow older and look back on our lives, it’s the positive experiences that tend to stand out most. That might be why over three-quarters of consumers prefer to spend their money on experiences over material items, according to a 2019 Momentum Worldwide survey.
Part of your financial legacy is demonstrating how you decide to use your money during your lifetime. For example, investing in things like visits to ancestral countries illustrates how much you value your family history. You can also prioritize experiences over materialism by using some of your money to support family bonding. This could be anything from family vacations to hosting an annual reunion.
These are moments that will live on for years, and hopefully ease some of the pain for your loved ones after you’re gone. Research suggests that reminiscing about good memories helps trigger positive feelings and reduce stress.
Living charitably can be an extension of your values — and help those in need
Perhaps the best way to enjoy your wealth is to share it. Not surprisingly, 75% of those surveyed by Bank of America said that part of a life well lived is having made a positive impact on society.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to make charitable giving part of your regular routine. Earmarking just a small portion of your earnings to help those who are less fortunate doesn’t just feel good — it sets a great example for your family. You can rest easy knowing that you’ve made a positive impact on the world. What’s more, the loved ones who survive you will know that you were someone who cared about others.
Looking out for family is a natural instinct. With the right planning, you can use your monetary legacy to both inspire and support them. When all is said and done, it’s about living your life in a way that reflects your values and reduces stress for your loved ones after you’re gone.