Using a Legacy Letter to Preserve Your Life’s Lessons for Future Generations

Jun 16, 2024 | Blog

Geoff Ivanac

Your legacy isn’t just about your assets. It’s about the values, lessons, and memories that define your life. At Real Life Financial Planning, we believe that a comprehensive legacy plan includes more than just coordinating with solicitors and tax experts. That’s why we encourage our clients to write a Legacy Letter – a heartfelt document that captures the essence of what truly matters to you, for the benefit of future generations.

What is a Legacy Letter?

A Legacy Letter is a way for you to share your values, life lessons, cherished memories, and hopes for your family’s future. Unlike a will, which deals with the distribution of your assets, a Legacy Letter is a personal reflection on a life well-lived, passing on wisdom that can’t be bought or sold. Whether you choose to write a letter, record an audio message, or create a video, your Legacy Letter is a unique opportunity to communicate directly with your loved ones in your own voice.

Why Write a Legacy Letter?

In a world where material wealth often takes precedence, a Legacy Letter serves as a reminder of what truly matters. It helps your heirs understand your values and the life lessons you’ve learned along the way. When faced with their own challenges, your words can guide them through difficult decisions, reminding them that money alone can’t solve life’s problems. Moreover, if your estate plan includes charitable giving, explaining your motivations can inspire a lasting tradition of philanthropy in your family.

A Legacy Letter is also a key component of longevity planning, which is central to our approach at Real Life Financial Planning. We help our clients prepare financial plans through the lens of a 100-year-plus life, ensuring they live fulfilled lives, not just good ones. This reflection helps clients ensure they are not just working to make more and more money but are using their wealth to narrate their story, rather than making money their story. This shift in perspective helps avoid the common mistake of focusing solely on financial goals and instead, emphasises living a life enriched by meaningful experiences and values.

What to Include in Your Legacy Letter

Your Legacy Letter can be as diverse as your life experiences. Consider including:

  • Values: What principles have guided your life? How have they shaped your decisions?
  • Life Lessons: What important lessons have you learned? What advice would you give?
  • Memories: Share stories that reflect significant moments in your life.
  • Hopes for the Future: What are your dreams for your family’s future?
  • Personal Reflections: Is there anything else that you feel is important to pass on.

Feel free to use any format that suits you best, whether it’s a handwritten letter, a typed document, an audio recording, or a video message.

When to Write a Legacy Letter

The best time to write your Legacy Letter is now. Life is unpredictable, and having a plan in place that protects not only your assets but also your values is crucial. Writing a Legacy Letter isn’t just for retirees; it’s beneficial at any stage of life. Whether you’re getting married, starting a family, or guiding your children into adulthood, your insights are invaluable. Many of our clients find that revisiting and updating their Legacy Letters over time adds depth and richness to their family narrative.

For pre-retirees, particularly those 10 to 15 years from retirement, writing a Legacy Letter is especially valuable. With children growing up and more time on your hands, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your journey, reshape your future, and ensure your wealth planning services are aligned with your long-term goals. This process helps you focus not just on accumulating wealth but on maximising your return on life.

Getting Started with Your Legacy Letter

Starting a Legacy Letter can feel daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Real Life Financial Planning as part of our wealth planning services, we offer tools and exercises to help you articulate your thoughts and values. Schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll guide you through the process, ensuring that your Legacy Letter reflects the best of who you are. Your stories and values are every bit as important as your financial assets, and we’re here to help you preserve them for the people you love most.

General Advice Warning

Any advice on this site is general advice only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. It does not represent legal, tax, or personal advice and should not be relied on as such. You should obtain financial advice relevant to your circumstances before making any decisions.