When you think of a legacy, what comes to mind? For most people, the first thoughts that follow are about money, power, or social position. The mistake is believing that wealth or riches can replace the necessary legacy planning phase for their families. The power and responsibility of creating an enduring legacy for generational wealth are in your hands.
In a world that never stops evolving, it is more important than ever for us to be intentional about the foundation upon which we are building our families. The business you are building will be a portion of a future legacy. The first step to strengthening and developing family bonds is to remember that legacy planning is for the future generation.
In this article, based on a conversation with Sistahbiz member and attorney Michelle Adams (@familylegacyattorney ) we discuss wealth and legacy building and how her book Family Strong: 7 Gifts For a Lasting Legacy helps you take the steps you need.
Purpose & Impact
One of the most important legacies you leave with your business is purpose and impact. Legacy is more than assets and money. Legacy is the meaning and pride your family is left with when you are gone. Legacy is that thing that will drive them to continue your work.
Yes, your children each have their own path. That path may not be taking over your business. But when you create a scalable, sellable turnkey business like the ones we create at Sistahbiz, you give them a launching pad for their own greatness. You change the idea of who your children believe they can be. This identity shift is vital for the black community to rebuild social bonds and create sustainable wealth.
Connectedness to Something Greater
Another important legacy you leave behind is connection. You leave behind stories, history, and the importance of family and community. Many of us are dealing with the trauma and fallout of an oppressive system. This has placed many of our families into perpetual survival mode. We focused on ‘just getting through it’ which often leaves the next generation to figure it out for themselves.
How many of us had a “Big Mama” that we loved but when she passed, everyone just went their separate ways? Or maybe Big Mama owned a home that was lost to poor money management, fighting among siblings, or gentrification?
Our ancestors passed on these values of connection to a greater inner purpose that we are all a part of a community. And through colonization and various other events, these values were lost. As part of the community, we have a responsibility to strengthen our bonds and uplift each other. And that work can be down with your business.
Emotional, Social, & Spiritual Wellness
As an entrepreneur, you have to wear many hats. This takes a toll on your physical, spiritual, emotional, and social health. For many in the early growth phase of a business, taking time off to be sick is not feasible. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
But to grow a sustainable business model, wellness has to be part of the plan. Physical wellness helps you show up to the game focused and ready. Emotional wellness helps you do the work of leading your employees. Spiritual wellness helps you to chart your path in a direction that creates the most impact. And Social wellness enables you to reach out when you need help and develop a network of avid supporters.
When any of these are out of balance your business and your legacy suffers. Focusing on wellness, helps the next generations understand the role holistic practices have on success.
Break Cycles of Poverty & Poor Money Management
Only about 32% of Americans have a will. Of that number, white adults are twice as likely than other races to have a formal will in place.
When you pass, your estate goes into a process called probate. During this process, all of your final debts and taxes are paid and whatever is left goes to your beneficiaries. The probate process lasts anywhere from 6 to 12 months and requires an account executor to finalize.
This process is smoother when you have a will and/or trust in place for your family. But in the black community, we more often pass down bills than assets.
This cycle leaves the next generation to scramble for money for your funeral and to live. This also teaches them not to prepare for the inevitable. Poverty is a generational curse that is passed down through your beliefs, actions, and philosophies.
When you’ve never had wealth or assets you just don’t know how to care for them. In order to end this cycle, you have to be intentional about how you manage your monetary assets and know exactly what your money is doing in your business.
Preparation & Intention
Legacy and financial estate planning is not just death planning. It’s ensuring that if you are incapacitated in any way, your life and business don’t fall apart. It’s also making arrangements for emergencies. For example, say you’re out of the country or simply can’t access your accounts.
Building a turnkey, sellable brand involves building a business that can run in your absence. That teaches the importance of preparation in all aspects of life and business.
When someone passes, it’s like burning down a library of ancient wisdom. If you never record the history, knowledge, and tools your loved one possessed, they’re lost forever. Passing down generational wisdom is thinking more expansively about family legacy. It’s about ensuring that the next generation can build on the knowledge that you have accumulated and giving them a headstart.
For example, you are learning tangible things about building credit, relationships, and leadership skills through business. When you pass this on, you help your children and their children move the bar of knowledge a little farther forward.
Where to Start
Becoming intentional about the legacy you are leaving with your business starts with knowledge and education. Getting a mentor or coach to help you can shave years off of your path to success. It also greatly reduces the number of mistakes you make along the way—mistakes that can cause devastating setbacks.
At Sistahbiz Global Network, we provide black women entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, and community they need to thrive. As a member of Sistahbiz, you learn to build a business that serves as a legacy for your future generations, not a headache. Check out our coaching sessions today to start your legacy off on the right foot. Your first 45-minute session is always free.
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