A Post-Career Life Legacy

I very clearly remember going with my mom, brother, and sister to the funeral home to make arrangements for my father’s service. Mom was looking for something very private and small. The funeral home director was gently encouraging her to consider a public memorial.

“Karen, your husband Ken was a well-known figure in the local community. There are many people who will want to come by and pay their respects,” said the owner.

Mom quickly responded, “No thank you, I just want to keep it small with family and selected friends.”

The director came back one more time, “Karen, you and Ken both know a lot of people. Many will come. In fact, I am willing to comp you the arrangement costs, if you’ll let us make this a public ceremony.”

Now, I thought this was a good business strategy for the funeral home director. A lot of prospects would be in the building that day. However, what hit me most in that moment was how proud I was to be my father’s son. My dad was a fixture in the community because so much of what he did was service to others, not for himself.

My mom still declined, and we had a wonderful service, which my wife, the Rev. Dr. Susan Rose led. Nevertheless, I am still comforted many years later that my dad left a positive and inspiring life history.

Thinking Beyond You

Retirement is a time for many people to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor. But it can also be a time to reflect on one’s life and consider how to leave a lasting legacy.

There are many ways to create a life legacy for your post-career life. Some people choose to volunteer their time to help others, while others may focus on writing a book or creating a work of art. Still others may choose to simply spend more time with their loved ones and pass on their values and traditions.

The legacy you leave is not meant to be a monument to your greatness, but a way for future generations to know the unique aspects of you.

Mother Teresa, Nelson Madela, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King Jr. did not create a strategy and execute against that, they chose ideals and pursued them with a full focus. My wife’s grandfather and my mom wrote their life stories down. My children have those today as a way to understand their heritage a little bit better.

No matter what path you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when creating a life legacy.

First, it’s important to think about what’s important to you. What are your values? What do you want to be remembered for? Once you have a good understanding of your own priorities, you can start to think about how you can use your time and resources to make a difference.

Second, it’s important to be realistic about your goals. If you want to write a book, for example, you need to be prepared to put in the time and effort. There’s no point in setting yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic or poorly created goals.

Finally, it’s important to be patient. Creating a life legacy takes time. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Just keep working at it, and eventually you’ll see the fruits of your labor.

The Post-Career Lifestyle Planning Audio Series

Join me on Thursday June 29, 2023, where we will discuss, “Leaving a Post-Career Life Legacy.” at 12:00pm EDT.

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