It’s about far more than just giving money, and it is a great tool to teach younger generations about legacy. Growing up, my father and I never really discussed being generous, but he showed me in so many small ways that it has become his living legacy―and now, I am making it my life’s work to share the message. It seems that lessons learned best are lessons practiced.
Recently my father became ill. His disease prompted him to think more deeply about his legacy. He decided to support my efforts by making a charitable gift to the Do More That Matters® Foundation Fund that my colleague and co-author, Ron Ware and I established when we published our book. 10% of the profits from our book go into the fund, and seeing that our fund is growing, Ron and I decided it’s time to discuss how we might distribute our initial grant. We also decided to bring our families together and involve our children in the decision. This extends my father’s gift down another generation, and we think our kids will bring a fresh perspective as we look at ways we can impact children in the world. Ron and I hope to connect the generations over this shared experience and believe that generosity is a great equalizer. Our children can’t really share the incredible experience we had writing and launching our book, but they can share equally in the joy of giving and meeting the needs of others.
When I meet with clients’ families and we talk about giving, each person exposes emotions, thoughts, and reactions to the things they are passionate about and the needs they see around them. In our practices, we find that discussions centered around generosity lead to conversations about important values.
Ron and I hope to talk openly about what motivated us to create the fund, and share our values in reference to a charitable organization when our families finally get together. We trust this will give our kids a frame of reference for how they might choose. Experience with clients’ families tells us that it is much easier for teens and young adults to discuss and evaluate values in this context.
So, how can you begin to teach your children or grandchildren about generosity? Many people reading this may have started by showing their children how to give out of their allowance or earnings. Some set up piggy banks for giving, and others, including myself encourage their kids to make crafts or run lemonade stands and give a portion to charity, or receive gifts for the children’s hospital at birthday parties. Still others set up donor advised funds and giving accounts from which their children can give. Creating a structure for giving formalizes it, making it a good expectation and creates a “place” for the family to give. It also lets children participate in larger giving decisions than their own earnings allow.
But clearly, generosity extends beyond mere money. It includes giving of yourself and your time. There are so many great ideas, and we’d love to hear yours.
We believe it’s within everyone’s reach to build a legacy prompted by generosity.
Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA and Ron Ware, JD are wealth impact strategists who work with individuals, families, and businesses to help them invest to grow and preserve wealth, plan for retirement, and create a significant impact through charitable giving. For a Wealth Impact Assessment to see how you can build a legacy of your values, influence and money, contact Greg at (800) 416-1655 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Ron at (781) 489-9800, or email@example.com.