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The Life You Lead is the Legacy You Leave

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

On June 2nd, I was invited to speak about Legacy to the Women’s Division for Project HOPE during their Annual Meeting at Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills.

I was thrilled to speak on this important topic: The Life You Lead is the Legacy You Leave. Legacy is more than money — it’s what people think, feel and remember when they speak or hear your name.

In addition, Legacy is one of the most difficult and important issues we all face because it has to do with our existence and answers these three important questions:

  • Who am I?

  • Why am I here?

  • Have I made a difference?

Legacy begins in the heart and moves to the head. Traditional planning is all about strategies, tactics and tools, and when finished, often leaves[/two_third_last]

loved ones confused and never knowing the story and meaning behind the legacy.

I believe planning should begin with vision, values and your goals. I’m sharing this with you because I am so passionate about Legacy. I think it’s important for each of us to pass on our stories, heritage, and wisdom along with our wealth and treasures.

In our show two weeks ago, I told the story of my mother and step father who married when he was 74 and she was 58. During the show, I shared how my step-father, Dale King, had invited me to help him create the traditional financial and estate planning, so his estate remained private, allowed us to handle all of his affairs when he was diagnosed with lung cancer at 86 and my mother with Dementia at the same time.

This included:

  • paying bills

  • filing tax returns

  • accessing medical records and talking to doctors

  • managing investments and transacting real estate deals for him

  • making sure his estate not only took care of my mom during her lifetime, but passed free of probate to his two children at my mom’s death and not having to do last minute planning so we were able to focus on his quality of life and quality of care during that last year of life

What I did not share is that in addition to the financial and legal planning, I created a Legacy Life Story video of my step father telling his story to his children before he died. I shared this with his family and friends after his death.

They were so thrilled to hear his story;

  • what he wanted them to remember about him

  • to share what he had learned

  • what wisdom he had gained and what mistakes he wanted to make sure they didn’t repeat.

What if you could tell your story and share your vision, values, and lessons in a form that your loved ones would not only understand, but could cherish for many generations to come? You can do this with a letter, an audio, or a video. This can accompany the traditional planning and be presented at death, or better yet, while you’re alive!

I suggest doing this today because none of us know when our time will come. Remember, my first father died at 32. Thank God, my mother was the great archivist and I have so much of his story preserved. But I would love to have had a video of my father telling me his story.

I want to leave you with this key idea:

Legacy is more than money. It’s what people think, feel and remember when they hear or speak your name. Because the life you lead is the legacy you leave If you would like to hear my Legacy Life Story presentation in full, along with the exercises I introduced during the presentation, click here for a 25 minute audio presentation. Then if you want to go deeper about your life and legacy, you can schedule a private chat with me.

About Katana Abbott

Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Retirement Reinvention Coach, founder of the Smart Women Companies, and the host Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers. For over 30 years, Katana has shown women how to take charge of their life and finances and believes it’s never too early to plan for expected and unexpected events like retirement, encore careers, moving abroad, or preparing for long-term care. She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Business Women, receiving the Breakthrough Award.

To download her new retirement guide, Three Smart Strategies to Maximize Your Retirement Income. visit


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