Non Financial Aspects of Estate Planning

2016-03-09 15.23.39A friend asked me to¬†give this talk to his firm, but I prefer to write short articles. ūüėČ

When families talk about estate planning the discussion can center around cash flow, assets and tax minimization. While those topics need to be sorted, dollar-centric living can lead to regret.

If¬†you apply last week’s tips about family leadership, you might¬†discover certain realities about financial wealth.

2016-03-16 13.56.23Namely…

The highest use of¬†an asset lies in its capacity to enable better choices…

  • flexibility to allocate time towards shared experiences
  • the ability to control one’s schedule
  • the opportunity to tag along when other people are doing what they enjoy
  • health in the context¬†of body, mind and spirit

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2016-03-13 21.51.50Cash flow without education, connection and meaning can be a negative. Examples are the challenges faced by lottery winners, professional athletes and young, highly paid professionals.

With cash flow, I would go further and point out that excess family cash flow will ultimately be consumed by the least responsible adults in a family system.

You might tell yourself that you are “doing it for the kids” but the money ends up being blown¬†by someone’s aunt or uncle.

2016-03-11 20.04.44-1What to do?

  • In your lifetime, use¬†money to acquire time.
  • Share time with people you wish to influence with your values. Be the brand.
  • Remember that it’s better to¬†earn, and spend, our own way in life. It’s what you did.
  • Have a bias towards “assets used for shared experiences,” rather than cash flow.

Ask the question, How do I wish to be remembered?

Be that person, today.

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2016-03-10 08.52.21Shared experiences, both positive and negative, bridge generations across time.

As a child, I had¬†four grandparents and three great-grandparents. Of my childhood elders,¬†only one made the transition into my children’s consciousness. The elder that bridged across did so because¬†my daughter and I were involved in her end of life care.

Love, not money, is what travels across time.

2016-02-24 16.51.20

Family Leadership

2016-02-08 10.36.04I’ve written about the concept of the good-enough parent¬†—¬†a combination of showing up and not retaliating. It is a simple strategy but quite¬†challenging in the face of a disgruntled preschooler!

Seven years in, I’ve managed to make non-retaliation a habit. If you are still working on it then remember to practice all-the-time…

  • Yield in traffic and¬†queues
  • Breathe into tension
  • Slow down

New habits are most easily created¬†when¬†we are capable of self-control — away from the kids, in low stress environments.

I’ve been at it for over 15 years.

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What’s next?

I’ll start by sharing what’s definitely not next.

A habit of constant correction will make you, and everyone in your house, miserable.

An easy way to make this visible… track your positive-to-negative interactions with your kids, spouse and friends.

Another way… ask a close friend… When¬†I talk about myself, what do I say?

If this is an area for improvement¬†then it’s already obvious to everyone around you.

It was shocking when I did this with my oldest. I became so aware of my error in approach that you can get a quick rise out of me by constantly correcting her in my presence.

Correcting less, in ALL areas of my life.

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2016-03-09 15.27.20What about next-level positive habits?

De-escalationbecome skillful in draining the energy out of situations.

Most of us didn’t grow up in an environment that taught us these skills.

Becoming an effective family leader will require education, motivation and daily practice.

Two things helped me here:

  1. learning the methods of outstanding preschool teachers Рif they can teach preschoolers to de-escalate then they can certainly teach us!
  2. reading the secular writings of spiritual masters

2016-03-12 10.34.52Opening To Experiencethe most valuable experiences shared with my family serve no purpose, other than sharing an experience with my family.

Often, my shared experiences are activities that I would not choose for myself. Recent examples, collecting sea shells, swim races, downhill skiing and art shopping.

2016-03-12 10.31.31Most¬†of the leadership we were shown¬†as children was about saying “no.”

Constantly being told what not to do.

Consider becoming the embodiment of what to do.

Is it any wonder many of us rebelled and left as soon as we could?!

Is it any wonder that many of us continue to hold resentments about events, and people, that haven’t existed for 20, 30 or 40 years?

To break this cycle, I say “yes” as much as possible. Yes to beachcombing. Yes to downhill skiing. Yes to painting. Yes to card games.

Stay open to experience.

Stay open to love.

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