If you are on any form of social media, you have most likely seen the video of the 2-year old girl who hurts her hand in the door. Her mom encourages her to repeat a type of mantra – “I’m okay, I’m strong, I’m beautiful, I’m loved, I’m worthy” (at which point the little girl starts smiling). It’s encouraging but it also reminded me that these small reiterations of what we do and say create our legacies, regardless of our life stages.

As a woman, you hold so much potential and the small, seemingly mundane things are what contribute to your legacy – whether that’s the impression you leave with someone after you’ve spoken, the mantra you teach your children, or the lifestyle you create for you and your family. You are a legacy and here is a list of 3 practical things we’ve compiled, that we believe significantly impact your legacy.

1. Your Will – You are prepared

Where there is a will, there is a way. But this applies to so much more than just the obvious.

  • Your vision for your life – If you have a vision, you will keep working towards it no matter how many times you need to change your strategy / game plan. Have you written down your vision to remind you where you are headed?
  • Safeguarding your legacy through your Will – Have you recorded what you want to have happen to the wealth you create along the way? Here we’re referring to your Last Will and Testament. In this document, that you should revise often, you put in writing what you want to have happen to your assets when you pass away. You also state in writing who should become the guardian of your children, if they are still minors. CEO of leading Wills and estate administration company, Alex Simeonides, emphasises the importance of keeping your Will up to date as your circumstances change – as you work on creating your legacy.

2. Daily financial decisions – You are savvy

Here is where the small decisions you make every day affect you in the long-term. Do you really need that extra pair of shoes, or can you add what you would have spent on the shoes to your savings account or investment portfolio?

  • Your monthly budget – It’s so important that when you create a budget that you refer to it often and make sure you keep to it. Remember the reason you set it up in the first place – it’s a plan to help you move from a position of not enough to a position of financial strength.
  • Minimising your debt – Diligently working towards a future of financial freedom means very little if you aren’t making sure you get rid of your short-term debt, minimise your long-term debt and most importantly stop making debt. You are stronger than your credit card.

Let’s guide ourselves, friends and family to become financially savvy. Let’s start budgeting and making some wise decisions.

3. Long-term financial decisions – You are covered

Considering the second point, and assuming that you are making wise decisions and delaying instant gratification to gain long-term security, there are a few things to consider:

  • Your life insurance policy – Is your life insurance policy enough to cover your debts? During our conversation with Simeonides he mentioned that many people have insufficient life cover. “Many people assume that the value of their life insurance policy will be passed on as is to their beneficiaries. But often the life insurance policy is depleted by their debts, such as home loans, and the costs associated with them passing away.”
  • Security against the costs associated with dying – The whole ‘costs associated with passing away’ concept, certainly piqued my interest and upon further investigation, I discovered the following. In South Africa, when you pass away your estate needs to be wound up, and this is done by an Executor who charges 3.5%, excluding VAT, of your estate’s total value. Furthermore, your estate needs to pay for conveyance fees to transfer your home to your beneficiaries. If your beneficiaries are your children, who are still considered to be minors, they are not allowed to inherit directly. If you do not opt to set up a testamentary trust for them, which will incur ongoing costs until such time as the beneficiaries become of age, their inheritances will be placed in the Government’s Guardian’s Fund, and they are responsible for claiming their inheritance when they come of age.

So, it would appear that planning your long-term financial security and that of your family, isn’t as simple as merely getting a life insurance policy – you need to consider whether it is enough to meet the legacy you want to leave through your Will. It goes without saying that as a woman you are constantly working on the multiple facets that comprise your legacy – what you teach your children, what you impart to the people you mentor, and what you create – that impacts the world.

You are enough, you are the legacy you leave

Your legacy, the purpose and vision you work towards every day is more than what you learnt and garnered from your parents. It’s more than the position you hold at work – it’s who you are, it’s what you contribute to this world, and it’s what you will one day leave behind whether physical or impression. And as we can learn from the little girl – you are strong, you are beautiful, you are worthy, and you are a legacy!

In case you wanted to watch the video of the little 2-year old girl again: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10159260963464218&id=101494469217&sfnsn=scwspwa&extid=km4QHGz23fbTk626&d=w&vh=e