Some people will tell you that marriage is about love. I challenge that notion severely. Marriage is about commitment – to your word, each other and your cause. In many ways marriage can be seen as a business, very similar to a corporate merger. As corporations grow, the leadership put together succession and scalability plans. Our succession and scalability as couples lie in our ability to leave a legacy, whether for our children, family or community. Often times that word ‘legacy’ seems really daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 10 ways that you and your spouse can begin building your legacy:
1. Provide a family history. Help the generations behind you know where they came from, even if the tree starts with you two due to unknowns beyond your control.
2. Start a savings account for your children. College costs. Starting a business costs. Traveling costs. Moving out of your house costs. Everything costs. Don’t make them start from scratch.
3. Give the gift of financial literacy. Talk to your children (and family/community) about finances, early on. If they’re older, talk them about it NOW!
4. Secure life insurance for yourself – and I’m not talking about just enough to cover the funeral expenses. You don’t have to be selfish unto death! Leave a little extra money for those that are mourning your loss. After all, they’re likely going to have to suffer through planning your celebration of life AND deal with all the random drama that arises when people die.
5. Buy property. No, not shoes and clothes. Actual property, land, something with a deed that appreciates in value. Trust me, your loved ones will appreciate you for it later (unless of course you fail to leave your paperwork in order and the property has to be probated but that’s a different blog for a different day).
6. Purchase stocks and bonds that can be passed down and later cashed in.
7. Sponsor a community event annually. Partner with a local organization and put your money and name where your mouth is if need be.
8. Donate books and resources to a local community center. Make it a regular show of support.
9. Create a scholarship fund in your name at your local high school. You can maintain $250 a year skip eating out once every other week and it’s done! It doesn’t have to be much, just enough to make a difference and start leaving a legacy.
10. Become a mentor. Don’t keep all your knowledge to yourself. Spend time with someone. Influence them to know better, do better, be better. Encourage them to return the favor and keep giving the gift of mentorship.
As a couple, you’re here to do more than just keep each other warm. You came together to do something, so do it! Leaving a legacy doesn’t have to be difficult. Start small and snowball it into something larger. You’ve got this! Now go, be great as a couple!