In our line of work, legacy is a frequently discussed topic. We talk with our clients about the future they would like to design for themselves and their families, but also how they would like to leave an impact beyond their lifetime.
Of course, we can’t do this work without thinking about our own legacies, so I sat down to jot down my thoughts on the topic.
Leaving a Legacy Means Making an Impact
When I think of legacy, I don’t think of it as having my name on a building or some of the more traditional ways people characterize it. My definition of the word comes down to the impact that I've had on the people around me. I think about how my involvement in their lives may have allowed them to better their lives and the lives of those around them.
One of the things that's great about our business is the fact that not only do we have this incredible opportunity to grow our wealth by helping others grow theirs, but we also have the opportunity to educate other financial advisors so that they can do better for their clients. In our “why statement,” we talk about the multiplier effect we have and how our work impacts people, who then go on to influence others.
I am reminded of something that my mentor David Mallach said to me years ago, about how immense that responsibility to influence is and equally, if not more so, how immense the opportunity is to impact folks in such a meaningful way. That message comes through in David’s books, including Dancing with the Analysts, which we encourage everyone to read. (If you don’t have a copy, please click the link above and we will send it to you!)
Hopefully, that responsibility for impact also comes through in our day-to-day work with our clients.
Leaving a Legacy For Family Means Providing The Support They Need
A big part of my marriage with Danielle is to create an environment that gives our kids the best support to grow — physically and emotionally — and most importantly to have a belief system and faith that allows them to feel supported.
It’s the way I was brought up. I wasn't brought up wealthy in a financial sense. But in terms of my upbringing, I feel like the richest person. The support I received from my parents, my coaches, my teachers, my brother — I owe everything to the love and support they gave me.
It is so obvious to me that I don’t even consider it my legacy, necessarily. I feel an innate responsibility to give our children everything they need.
Leaving a Legacy Means Holding Steadfast to Your Beliefs
It’s hard for me to identify the most meaningful contribution I have made so far in my life.
I’d say my most meaningful contribution in life so far is not something I’ve done, but more the way I am. It’s a quality of mine — though I guess it affects all my contributions — which is my stubbornness! It’s my relentless focus on what I know and feel is right. It’s a stubbornness that allows me to stay disciplined on my path.
I have sacrificed time and personal income to create opportunities for others that may or may not work out. While I don't sit around every day and say to myself, “Oh, look at the sacrifice I'm making,” I do think about the fact that I am in a unique position to create opportunities for others, beyond myself, and that I am willing to do so.
So, what’s most meaningful to me is that I believe in creating opportunities for others and I stick to that belief, no matter what.
Years ago, my brother worked in Atlanta. We were talking on the phone about him coming up north for Christmas with the family and he wasn’t sure if he could take the time off. That conversation turned into an exploration of whether he should quit his job and join us here at Beck Bode. With this in mind, I sent him a copy of David Mallach’s book and it changed the course of his life. Of course, it was ultimately my brother who made that choice, not me.
The same could be said for my friend Matt Morizio, with whom I reconnected several years back. He used to play baseball professionally but joined the Beck Bode team after I sent him the book and is now spreading the word with passion. Again, he made that choice, but I believe that my relentlessness, my stubbornness, and my desire to have an impact influenced that decision.
Witnessing the impact on those around me keeps me steadfast in what I believe.
Leaving a Legacy Takes Dedication, Willingness, and Discipline
Well, this is how I look at it: First, you must believe in something. You must have a passion.
I think of all the greats; for me, many of those are athletes. Take Kobe Bryant for example, or any other athlete who believes in reaching the peak. Kobe would show up to the gym well before his teammates to practice, hours ahead of time. Leaving a legacy that has an impact takes serious dedication and commitment.
I also think it takes sacrifice. Pursuing a passion often requires sacrificing other things, maybe time away from other activities, so that you can focus on what’s most important in your life.
Sacrifice tends to have a negative connotation, but I love the word. If there is a willingness to do something hard, it’s no longer a sacrifice. Willingness makes a big difference. In our line of work, we talk with clients about their goals and dreams all day, but the real question is, “Are you willing to do the work?
It takes discipline. Humans don't continually do things they hate for an inordinate amount of time. I’ll give you an example from my own life: I hate burpees, but I've been doing them daily for seven months straight. I don't look forward to getting up in the morning and doing 50 burpees, but I've created a lever that this discomfort every day will make me a better person and that it could even be fun. You’ve got to do the reps and put in the work to leave a legacy.
Finally, and most importantly, you must have a desire to have an impact. There’s something about the multiplier effect that really drives me, and I believe it will drive you to leave your legacy too.
Ben Beck, CFP® is Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer at Beck Bode, a deliberately different wealth management firm with a unique view on investing, business, and life.