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With the death of my father just recently I’ve been taking stock of my own worth, not just in money, but in what I will leave behind. At my Dad’s funeral a friend suggested, after hearing all the accomplishments of Dad’s life, that if either of us hoped to leave a legacy behind that even remotely approached his, we had best get off our mid 50’s duffs and get to work.

In the online “Free Dictionary”, legacy is defined as “leg·a·cy (lg-s)
n. pl. leg·a·cies
1. Money or property bequeathed to another by will.
2. Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past”

Between life insurance and hard work I believe I’ve done all the right things when it comes to number one. It is the ambiguous number two where my Dad excelled. Instilling values, creating a sense of history, teaching us by example…….he was a teacher of unparalleled quality. I think it took a particular trust in his own direction in life. I think he knew on some level that he had our attention and that we wanted to at least attempt to be like him.

For those that don’t have that God given gift, I think it is important to take stock and make sure that at the very least our legacy, to the best of our ability, covers the bases of number one. I know in my life and the lives of so many of my clients, making sure that our spouses and our children are not left worse off than when we are now is hugely important. Carrying adequate life insurance is the easiest way to “do the right thing” in that area.

It’s easy for us to take stock in the area of financial stability. The question of what would happen to our family financially if we died today is usually an easy one to answer. With the economy melting down and investments going south the answer may not be one that we are happy with or want to deal with, but if part of our legacy is financial security, we need to buck up and do the right thing and make sure that there is adequate life insurance to plug the whole in the dike, or fill the half empty bucket back up.

I have gone off more than once on those who have responsibility, especially marriage and children, that don’t take the responsibility seriously enough to insure it. I know that the idea of spending money when we might outlive the need for it sometimes doesn’t sit well, but the truth is that, in my experience, those who are big enough to think beyond themselves are the people that tend to belive life insurance is a worthy investment. Those who have a hard time believing that anything beyond themselves is “in the hands of the universe” tend to believe that life insurance is a waste and that somehow their families will get by.

Bottom line. My Dad took care of my Mom financially. She isn’t wealthy, but they weren’t money wealthy when he was still alive. But he did leave her as well off, if not slightly better than when he was here to take care of her. He also left us children with a legacy that will be hard to live up to even if we live as long as he did. He took responsibility seriously. I think he actually loved the responsibility.