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The most important legacy you can leave doesn't involve money. It's about the way you live your life, the time you spend together, and the traditions you pass on.

When you hear the words ‘leave a legacy,’ what comes to mind? You probably thought about leaving things to your loved ones in your will. We’ve been conditioned to think that ‘legacies’ are about passing on our wealth or our cherished objects to our loved ones, but a true legacy can be about more than that.

While family members often appreciate the gifts that they receive from loved ones – it can be the experiences, wisdom and times shared that create memories and transform lives. Here are 5 ways you can create a legacy that will help you live on in the hearts of your loved ones.

1. Start Traditions

Traditions are the glue that holds families together. Maybe you’ve always gone to the cottage in the summers together, or maybe you make a gingerbread house together each holiday season. Continue the traditions that you have already and start new ones!

Family traditions are particularly fun to start with new grand-children since you can help choose what kinds of activities to make into traditions. You might also choose to start traditions that you share individually with certain family members. For example, you might go to a baseball game once a year with one of your children or take a grand-child to see a play every season. Traditions create great memories and are important ways for loved ones will remember you.

2. Share Your Passions

If you love sailing, teach your grandchildren to sail. If you enjoy traveling – organize a family trip. Think about the things you love most in life and find ways to share them with your family. While not all members of your family will have the same passions as you do, you might find that a few of them will share your love for pottery or irreverent British comedies and that you can enjoy those passions together.

3. Leave Something Tangible

Surprise your family by creating something tangible they can remember you by. Create a video, a scrapbook, or a book that tells each member how much you love and care about them or which tells your family’s story. Or, if you’re handy or crafty, build them a piece of furniture or make them a quilt. These types of items will be cherished for many generations to come.

4. Pass on Important Lessons

A family’s character is defined by the morals and values that are cherished and passed down. Write down or find opportunities to share with your family the important things that you’ve learned in your life and how you’ve benefited from living your values. Tell them why these values were so important to you and the story of how they were passed down to you from your parents.

5. Live Your Life Joyfully

Too many people get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of everyday life and don’t take time to truly savour their time and enjoy their life. If you live a life where you pursue the things that light you up and fulfill you, you give the rest of your family permission to do the same – and that’s the best legacy that any of us can hope to leave.

Explore further what legacy means to you. Try our Interactive Your Future By Design Tool.