I have been fascinated for some years now as to why some families find it so difficult to pass on their values and valuables. Whatever financial wealth we might leave behind when we die, it may be significant or not, we cannot avoid leaving behind an emotional legacy of some sort for the people, organisations and ideas that we love. In the same way that it is impossible not to communicate, it is also impossible not to leave something of us behind when we are gone. Incidentally 90% of families do not successfully pass their wealth on beyond the grandchildren. So what are the other 10% doing?
I have been equally intrigued by the less often asked question about the rise of the modern day super rich. What are they spending their money on? Is money a force for good? For instance does massive wealth administered by the political classes, actually differ significantly, in terms of its power for good or bad, from wealth in the hands of a single family or organisation?
I’ll leave you to answer those for yourself. In the meantime you might find, upon reading this charming and moving novel, a great way to help organise your thoughts about your life and its meaning. The authors set the scene in a hospital for the terminally ill where an old man has just about three weeks to live – tops. All his financial affairs are in order and have been for some time, but a late realisation dawns on him. He hasn’t paid much attention to what his life might mean to others. He therefore selects fifteen values that have been particularly important to him, and then deals with each - one chapter at a time.
He weaves stories of people and events that were important to him and the lessons he drew from those events – describing the consequences that panned out as a result. Poignant, moving and a good read for sure. It is also points the way to a fantastic way to set about making sense of your life so far. Try it. You may find it assumes very much more significance than any Last Will & Testament – important as they are – when it comes to deciding what your life’s legacy will be, what purpose the legacy should serve and most important how on earth can you pass this on.