Tuesday, March 30, 2010

legacy gifts (m)

My brother Joe came over my house on Sunday with a check--the last distribution from my aunt's estate.  It's not a huge amount of money, but it's from her and it has meaning to me.  I know how hard she worked for that money.

I decided that I should give half to each of my two sons.  I called my financial planner, Hans, and told him what I wanted to do and asked for his advice as to the best use of the money.  One suggestion he had was to apply it towards their tuition costs.

I explained to Hans that I wanted it to be "visible" to the boys.  I want it to be put in a place where they can see it and, hopefully, watch it grow.  Someday, when they really, really need it, it will be there for them and they will remember my aunt, the woman who was like a second mother to them and took care of them while I worked.

Hans understood.  He went a step further and suggested I write a note to each of the boys explaining that it was from Auntie El and reminding them of who she was in their lives, how she cared for them and loved them.  Perfect, I thought.  Hans called the note a "legacy" note and said he would send me some examples, not that I needed other people's words to guide me.

I've known Hans for years.  He is tall, thin, intelligent and preppie.  He knows my struggle with my weight....it even affected my insurance premium.  He knows everything.  Hans was thrilled when I started Weight Watchers and, unbeknownst to me, does it himself to keep trim.  As a financial planner, he loves the precision of the "points system."

Hans then asked how I was doing on the program and I told him I was down 50.8 pounds.  He was thrilled.  Then he got quiet and said "This will be your legacy to your sons."

What do you mean?, I said.

"You will be leaving them a work ethic.  You are self-made and have met some incredible challenges in your professional career.  Now you are meeting your biggest challenge and succeeding.  They will have different challenges in their lives, but seeing you do this will give them the fortitude to meet their own challenges."

I never thought about it that way, but it was the shot in the arm I needed to press on.

I put down the second VitaMuffin and went on the exercise bike.

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