How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams


On a recent flight, I took the opportunity to browse the movie selection and found a film I had never heard before, but that peaked my interest.  “The Last Word” with Shirley MacLaine, while not the greatest movie from the view of a film critic, was on point with some lessons about how we live our lives and how we want to be remembered once we are gone.  Having been touched with a handful of recent deaths in my personal and professional life, this touched a nerve with me.

The movie “The Last Word” tells the story of a woman facing the end of her life.  As someone who has always felt the need for control and brutal honesty, she finds herself wanting to craft her own obituary.  Realizing that the keys to any great obituary are: the person is deeply loved by their families (she is divorced with a non-existent relationship with her only daughter), the person is respected by co-workers (she realizes she alienated many of the people she worked with by the way she treated them in her working life), and the person has somehow touched an unexpected person in a profound way (something she has never done).  With her time running out, she sets out to find a way to “fix” what has gone wrong in the past and make her life worthy of a great obituary.  On her journey to improve her life in the memory of others, she reminds us to make a difference in people’s lives, to make every day count, and to take risks.  After all, she says, “When you fail, you learn.  When you fail, you live.”

Many of us are so busy doing the day-to-day things that we need to do that we never really consider what we are doing with our lives or what impact we want to have on others during the course of our lives.  Working with clients on their path to, through and after retirement, we have conversations about making sure that financial goals are tied to things that make their life most fulfilling and meaningful — it’s not just about the money.  As my partner Matt Chope, CFP© likes to say, “We try to help clients make the most out of the one life they have to live.” 

When you look back on your life, what do you want to be remembered for?  What impact do you want to have on the world?  On others?  Are you being intentional about living that life?  If not, start now.  And work with your financial planner to make sure those life goals are incorporated into your overall plan.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

Any opinions are those of Sandra Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James.