Today I would like to ponder with you the idea of a legacy. To begin with, because we are a land management organization, I am considering a legacy as it pertains to farmland. From there, I’m simply going to ponder the idea of legacy in general.
First of all, we have learned that there is a tendency among land owners to separate their long-term philanthropic goals from their farmland. Sort of like thinking that “there’s your land, and then there’s your legacy. And never shall the two meet.” But, we have learned that that is not the most proactive view of your land when it comes to planning for the future. The question needs to be asked “what if your land could be your legacy.” That’s where we come in. Through Growing Hope, your land can become your legacy. Because structured properly, your land could provide a secure revenue stream to an organization that is working to make the world a better place. And, isn’t that part of what a legacy is about?
And, while legacy pertaining to the land, and also as it pertains to estate planning, is primarily talking about monetary wealth that is passed on to another upon one’s death, the broader definition of legacy is “something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past.”
And, even if you may not have ever thought about the legacy you are leaving the world, chances are good that you are leaving one. Because we never know when we have impacted the life of another, even by a small act or word that seemed minuscule in our own minds, but made a lasting impression on another.
Whether you like the man or not, I once read a book by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. In the book he was adamant that he did not like the word legacy or its connotations. Ironically, that statement alone is, in truest definition, a legacy because it is a statement that is bound to make a lasting impact on anyone who reads his thoughts on the matter. It is a statement that comes from someone in the past and is recalled yet today. Also ironic is that if you do a search of Jack Welch on the internet, you will find many articles about his “legacy” at GE.
Because leaving a legacy is not necessarily a choice, especially if you have made a deliberate attempt to live a meaningful life. If you have given thought to the decisions you have made in your life, and you have interacted with others around you, whether or not you meant to or even realized it, you will undoubtedly leave a legacy behind when your time on this earth is through.
So, assuming that is true, today might be the day to consider what your legacy might be and if there is anything specific you hope your legacy will look like. It will be different for everyone and may or may not have financial implications. My point today is simply to put forward the idea for you to consider.