Any amount of wealth you own today can be murdered. It takes only a few combinations of factors to dissipate wealth. When wealth is destroyed the hard work and sacrifices of the founders are wasted. Wasted wealth sends the children of a one-time billionaire into poverty. This is the sad story of the renowned business tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Cornelius Vanderbilt is America’s Railroad and Shipping Business magnate. Cornelius died in 1877 and left behind his fortune worth $100,000,000 to his oldest son which is worth the equal of $150 billion (£113bn) in 2018 dollars. But today this massive amount of fortune that Vanderbilt left behind is gone. Thirty short years after his death in 1877, there was no millionaire found in the descendants of Vanderbilt. If one of the world’s biggest fortune can disappear in thirty short years. No amount is immune to dissipation.
So if the wealth that you have can be lost or destroyed, how then can you build a lasting legacy?
To build a lasting legacy you need to pass on the two types of wealth. There are two types of wealth in the world. That first is tangible wealth and the second is intangible wealth. Tangible wealth comprises financial and business assets. Intangible wealth comprises knowledge, wisdom, and values derived from creating wealth. To preserve wealth long term, a person must transfer tangible assets with intangible assets. This is the only way to immortalize one’s legacy for many generations.
But how can one transfer intangible assets?
Intangible assets can be transferred by putting them in tangible transfer vehicles. Tangible transfer vehicles are vehicles that transfer intangible assets. They include books, films, paintings, audio files and so on. This is the only way to preserve intangible assets beyond the lifespan of the wealth creator. Today, after 1000 years the bible is still a reference book we look up to. Without documenting and passing on the wisdom of the past, critical information can be lost. Putting down one’s life’s lessons in indelible prints is one of the ways to remain relevant in the lives of your loved ones.
You will be the secret friend they run to for advice when they hit a crossroad. It is like leaving your presence behind even in your absence. They will turn to you for guidance on how to increase and manage wealth. Without this careful documentation, future generations will lose wealth. They will lose valuable family traditions and go through the same mistakes you made. To prevent this from happening you need to immortalize your legacy. Immortalizing your legacy means giving future generations what they need to thrive with wealth.
So how do you immortalize your legacy?
You immortalize your legacy by creating your own Legacy bible. The legacy bible is a special type of book that documents your life’s story in ways that are relevant to the next generation. It is not a boring autobiography that lists everything you have done. It is also not a self-acclaimed preaching manual, an all success story or an ethical will that is limited in scope.
A good legacy book contains engaging stories that are purposeful and full of lessons that are relatable to the next generation. It comprises content with clear objectives that can transition into a movie, documentary or audio files. This is the way to create a legacy your descendants will consume. There are three components of a good legacy story.
First, it must tell the true Story. That is your life’s journey exactly the way it is. The most dangerous thing you will ever do is to leave your story for another person to tell. A quick way to know how devastating this can be is to Google your own name. Imagine what your great-grandchildren will find out 100 years from now.
They will find all kinds of stories, the good, the bad and the ugly. How damaging will that be to their perspective of you? Without documenting your own story, you give your children no choice but to believe what they find on Google. The only way to prevent this from happening is to document your own story.
Telling your own story gives the next generation a reference point to verify any public claim. It will help them better understand you are and the forces that shape your decisions. It will help them also appreciate the sacrifices you made to give them a good life. They will know the children of who they are and will cherish your memories forever. This is the best gift you can leave for your children.
The second component of a great story is that it must have a healthy mix of adversity and heroic conquest. That is it must capture the twist and turns that lead to each conquest. The most boring story in the world is an all-success story. Your children will benefit the most from stories that will help them navigate their own lives. A great story gives direction and guidance. It is vulnerable and transparent. It shows a clear path a person takes to move from a position of disadvantaged to a position of advantage. It is the grind of the process that makes a story relatable and interesting. A great legacy story must show the path that leads to success.
The third component of a great story is it must inspire the next generation to take positive action. Inspiring the next generation means your life must be an example. Your story must motivate the next generation to become better and strive for more. Motivation comes when a person admires the result they see in the life of another person. And can see a clear path they can follow to achieve the same results.
It means your children must see how their lives will positively change when they follow your footsteps. Great stories leave clues for the reader. It gives direction and shows a reader how to manage everyday life situations. By writing your own meaningful story, you teach the next generation to do the same. As each generation passes on they are well of wisdom, mistakes are eliminated and the wealth in a family is preserved.
If your family wealth must last for generations, you must pass on the lessons life has thought you to the next generation. Without this organized process of archiving intangible wealth, it is hard for perishable wealth to remain. Worse of all is when wealth dies your unborn children will only hear whispers of your name.