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Before Passing Along Valuables, Passing Along Values

Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 4:40 PM
From the Wall Street Journal via Yahoo Finance, an additional dimension to estate planning:
[There is] a burgeoning effort in estate-planning circles to ensure that life lessons are passed on to loved ones. Educators, financial advisers and technology providers are approaching the task on two fronts: encouraging and helping older adults to share their stories and values before they die, and teaching adult children and grandchildren how to tap their parents' and grandparents' thoughts.

"The admonishment I would pass along, both to seniors and their adult children, is to be proactive about [addressing] one's tangible estate and the often more impactful intangible legacy," says Tim Maurer, vice president of Financial Consulate, a financial-management firm in Hunt Valley, Md., and co-author of "The Ultimate Financial Plan: Balancing Your Money and Life."

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Edited to correct title to "Before passing along valuables, passing along values"
2
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,491 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,490
1. Monday, December 10, 2012 - 8:32 AM
Pearl:  You are taking it for granted that all parents and grandparents have values it seems.  "Lead by example" has always been my motto.  Our children don't want to always be told what they should do, they would prefere we "show" them what are the right values by the life we lead.  My greatest joy in my entire life was one day when I heard my DD tell her friends "my mom is my hero".  When they say that, you can know you have done something good in your life!
1
paoli2paoli21,406 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,152
2. Monday, December 10, 2012 - 9:34 AM
Values (good and bad) are not limited to just parents and grandparents - everyone has them - and we tell the world what ours are every day by our actions.  The quote "What you do speaks so loud, that I cannot hear what you say", generally attributed to R W Emerson, captures this idea.  

What the article is suggesting is that people take the time to talk about their values with their families.  The discussion may fall on deaf ears, but it may prove to be a life-changer for someone. After reading the first paragraph of the article, I immediately thought about "The Ultimate Gift", as I had seen the movie some years ago, and was delighted to see it mentioned later in the article.    It was a case study in how family fortunes can be eroded quickly (“From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,” - Andrew Carnegie is another well-known proverb) and may not be handled in a way as to be sustainable over multiple generations.  Children may inherit money, but not wisdom, and think "There's always more where that came from", if they even think of it at all. 

While there has been no great material wealth in my family, their moral and ethical legacy to me, evidenced daily through their actions, has made me a million times richer and happier than friends who have inherited countless millions but have no understanding of their family culture and what really matters in life.
3
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,491 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,490
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