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The Power of a Personal Legacy & How to Plan One

Grandma and granddaughter studying together

There's a lovely quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, "To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded."

Many times, when we think about leaving a legacy, we gravitate toward the idea of leaving money or material items for the next generation. Our wise friend Ralph hands down a refreshing reminder that our legacy is far greater than stuff. Overall, it's how we live that truly matters.

No Time Like the Present

This Sunday is Grandparent's Day, which is a chance to soak up the love and appreciation of being called Grandma, Grandpa, Mimi, Papa, or other darling name bestowed upon you by your offspring. This is also a perfect time to think about your personal legacy and the lessons you want to share with those you love.

If you're not entirely sure where to begin this process, it helps to get a little introspective. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time exploring these questions:

  • How do I wish to be remembered by those I love?
  • What lessons would I like to pass on to future generations?
  • What kind of impact do I want to have on my community?
  • What contributions do I want to make to my field of study or profession?
  • How will the world be better because I was in it?

Getting a clear picture on what you want your legacy to be can help give your life meaning and purpose. It can also influence your day and allow you to make better use of your time. Going through this exercise can prove to be quite useful. Once you have your answers, you should be able to easily flow into the next phase of planning, which includes making a list of how you'll leave that legacy and start taking action.

Need some inspiration?

  1. Start a blog or draft a memoir that captures your life and words of wisdom.
  2. Write down and share all of your favorite family recipes.
  3. Send thank you letters to close friends and anyone who impacted your life.
  4. Mentor someone who would benefit from your knowledge.
  5. Plant a perennial garden that will return year after year.
  6. Pass along an heirloom and include a story about what it means to you.
  7. Endow a scholarship for future students in your field.
  8. Volunteer your time to a non-profit you love and care about.
  9. Record video messages on your phone for each member of your family.
  10. Simply share a smile, because people will always remember how you made them feel.

What's important to realize is that it doesn't require fame or fortune to leave a lasting mark on this world. So much of what you do, from the quick compliment you shared at breakfast to the deep conversations you share with friends, all have a profound impact. When you're intentional about being your best self, all of the people around you – including your sweet grandchildren – will benefit from your beautiful life.

Would you like a printed version of these questions and ideas? Download your free Personal Legacy Planning Document below, compliments of RLC.

Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit


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