Books

Thinking About Legacy

thinking about legacyOur energy and passions are often focused on personal achievement, financial success and building a life during our 20s, 30s and 40s. Though we also spend time giving back to our families and our community in different ways, something seems to happen when we reach our 50s and 60s. We begin thinking about legacy.

Author David Brooks calls this the second mountain in his latest book titled the same. He explains how early in our lives we spend our time climbing the first mountain, expending most of our time and energy striving for professional and financial success.

Sometimes, we fall down the mountain, into the valley.  In that space, we may experience isolation and sadness. Perhaps we lose a loved one, or feel a lack of purpose or connection to others. Once we discover what we believe to be missing, we begin to think about ascending that second mountain.

“Here we can discover greater fulfillment and joy very different from that First Mountain,” Brooks writes. “We begin contemplating the legacy we want to leave our loved ones and our community, by making the world a better place in a small or big way.”

If you find yourself in that place and want to begin climbing that second mountain, make time for some self-reflection.

Here are questions to ask yourself when thinking about legacy:

  • Who are the people most important to me? How am I showing up in their lives?  Am I supporting them and sharing what I’ve learned to improve their lives?
  • What stirs my passions? What experiences, both personally and professionally, have motivated me to help, support and connect with others? What talents can I share?
  • How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me? How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me?

There’s no better way to enable our legacy to live on, than to spend time and resources on the people and causes closest to our hearts.

By |2020-02-13T13:01:57-07:00February 24th, 2020|Books, Estate Planning|

Ideas for a Healthy New Decade

ideas for a healthy new decadeAgain this year, my favorite Christmas gift was a book. My son gave me The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick. Author Gene Stone interviewed dozens of people who never get sick and asked them for their secrets. His book features 25 people who each possess a different secret of excellent health – one that makes sense and has a proven scientific underpinning. It got me thinking about ideas for a healthy new decade.

Some of the so-called secrets aren’t that astounding, though they’re presented with an interesting twist. Late comedian George Burns, who lived to be 100 years old, was remarkably healthy and fit his entire life. When asked to reveal his secret, he puffed on his cigar and said, “Eat half.” That’s a pretty easy one, considering the out-of-control portions served at many restaurants. Split that giant cheeseburger with someone.

Other ideas are more surprising and challenging. One example? Cold showers.

For thousands of years, ancient physicians recommended frigid showers for healing and to boost immunity. For me, that’s rough. A cold shower is not what I want on shivery mornings, despite Phoenix’s comparatively moderate winters. So I’m easing into the idea. My strategy is to pull back on the hot water just enough so that my shower is on the edge of warm and cold. Then I hurry out.

Another idea that takes some adjustment is consuming brewer’s yeast daily. A natural by-product of beer production, brewer’s yeast is a probiotic and excellent source of B vitamins and other nutrients. It looks like whole-wheat flour and tastes like liquefied pizza dough. I add a half-teaspoon to flavored, fizzy water, and then I choke it down. But, I’ve gotten used to it.

Maintaining financial health also involves a mix of simple ideas and uncommon though proven ones. Some are easier to put into action than others. At Perspective, we’re committed to helping you develop practical strategies to become and stay financially fit. Here’s to a physically and financially healthy new decade!

“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” — George Burns

By |2020-01-17T09:36:55-07:00January 27th, 2020|Books, Financial Planning|

Recommended Reading

recommended reading, Atomic Habits

This book is all about the 1 percent – that is, how 1 percent adjustments can create large, long-term changes. Author James Clear explains why taking dramatic action is one of the main reasons people fail at changing their habits. Conversely, 1 percent adjustments often lead to success. Recommended Reading: Atomic Habits

Saving money is a good example. If saving 10 percent of your income each month seems daunting, begin putting away 1 percent. It may seem insignificant, Clear acknowledges, but it puts a good habit (saving regularly) in your mind. Increase your savings by another 1 percent next month and again the next, until you’ve figured out you can actually save 15 percent each month!

The author consistently refers to four laws for creating good habits, and their inverse for breaking bad ones. He dissects the concepts so you can apply them to your life. He uses science and psychology to explain what habits are and why we have them. Frequent anecdotes help translate the science into relatable situations.

Throughout reading Atomic Habits, I found myself constantly sharing with others what I had just learned. Everyone, no matter how good they think their habits are, would benefit and improve their life from reading this book. It doesn’t tell you what to do, but rather how to do it with minimal to no backslide.

Review written by Tobi McCann

Click here to read more recommended reading from the Perspective Financial team.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:44-07:00July 1st, 2019|Books|

Make Your Legacy Tangible

make your legacy tangibleEstate planning is about much more than the tangible elements of life insurance and trusts, or investment accounts and wills. That’s because your money and possessions are not the only representations of your life. What about your beliefs and wisdom, your personal experiences and family stories? These are your legacy. They are the most valuable assets you can pass on to your loved ones and community. So, how do you make your legacy tangible?

“The challenge with character and intellectual assets is giving them the same kind of physicality that financial assets are given,” explains Laura Roser, author of Your Meaning Legacy. “Legacy vehicles are the physical structures that enable you to pass on your non-financial assets.”

One simple way to pass on your legacy is to write a heartfelt letter. You can also create short videos or audio recordings in which you share family traditions, memories and other stories. For those feeling especially ambitious, it has become easier than ever to create biographies, memoirs and other specialty books.

Regardless of how simple or elaborate you choose to be, you’ll want to include these items in your estate plan along with instructions for how they are to be shared and preserved. Remember, too, you don’t have to wait until your death to share them.

Sharing your life stories today can benefit you and your family in multiple ways. For example, a 2006 study from Emory University shows that children who know and understand their family’s history exhibit strong self-esteem and a belief that they can influence events and outcomes in their lives. Additional benefits, according to Roser, include decreasing depression in older adults, connecting with family, and increasing the likelihood of a successful wealth transfer.

Charitable giving can also include a legacy letter, video or other vehicle that shares personal wisdom and values. Your thoughts and insights will make the gift all the more meaningful to the recipient. A college student who benefits from your scholarship will also benefit from knowing why you gave. Nonprofit employees will appreciate knowing funds to continue their work came from someone with shared beliefs and values.

Just like the drafting of important financial papers, documenting your non-financial assets should be done before it becomes urgent or too late. Why not start right now?

Ideas to Help Make Your Legacy Tangible

  • Pick a photo from your past and write a description of what was happening, how you felt when it was taken.
  • Record a two-minute video about your wedding day, the day your child was born or a family tradition.
  • Create a “Top 10” list (of things for which you are grateful, of mistakes you’ve made and learned from, or of actions you believe create a well-lived life).
  • Write a letter to your family telling them you love them and what you consider to be their greatest gifts.
By |2019-08-14T13:59:48-07:00July 30th, 2018|Books, Client Stories, Estate Planning|

Money Habits for Living the Life You Want

Rachel Cruze has been speaking to people about the dangers of debt and the importance of budgeting since the age of fifteen. Growing up as Dave Ramsey’s daughter, she uses that experience and knowledge to educate others. Her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want is a worthy read. It starts out strong with its main point and first habit to establish – quit the comparisons – and specifically addresses the envy of others that social media creates.

The other six money habits are laid out clearly: steer clear of debt, make a plan for your money, talk about money (even when it’s hard), save like you mean it, think before you spend, and give a little… until you can give a lot. Cruze’s views on budgets are adaptable for people of all incomes. She breaks down the basics of budgeting simply, making it easy to follow. If you’re new to money management, or if your money management isn’t working, it is a great introduction to help you figure out where you need to adjust.

The first section has a somewhat philosophical tone, covering an emotional habit rather than a financial one. The pace quickens in the following sections, and Cruze does a great job covering sensitive subjects like debt and loans in a direct but inoffensive way. This line, in particular, resonated with me: “There is no such thing as good debt and bad debt. It’s just debt. At the end of the day, you still owe someone something.”

There were a few critical omissions in the budget section that are worth noting. Medical expenses had only a vague reference under “miscellaneous,” and insurance (not including car) was considered a luxury along with cable and eating out. Despite these oversights, I recommend this book to everyone.

I felt I was in a good place with my money management, yet I still found the book highly motivating and helpful. It’s a quick read, and Cruze makes recommendations to websites and other books for those who want to delve deeper into subjects she briefly covers.

Written by Tobi McCann
By |2019-08-14T13:59:49-07:00June 4th, 2018|Books|