Executives that have focused significantly on establishing their financial security often find themselves unfulfilled in other areas later in life. The need to leave a meaningful legacy is a powerful one and some planning and foresight is required to meet this need.
Many executives employ financial advisors and tax specialists to help them maximise the return on their earnings. It is commonplace for senior executives to engage wealth managers and estate planners to ensure that they and their families are provided for well into the future. Setting up offshore trusts and tax efficient investment vehicles may take care of financial assets, however the return on two additional assets executives also possess are rarely considered. These assets are time and experience and return on these are typically measured in terms of personal satisfaction and legacy.
Legacy coaching works hand-in-hand with wealth management to better plan for the mark an individual wishes to leave behind. It involves determining the kind and scale of contribution that the executive envisions making and then identifying the practical steps needed to realise that vision. This type of coaching is even more relevant for larger scale initiatives in which simply throwing money at the challenge is not enough to make it successful. For example, establishing a reputed charitable foundation and developing it into something that will substantially outlive you takes time.
Various recent studies have indicated that many high net worth individuals, or HNWIs (pronounced hun-wees) would prefer to continue working well past the traditional retirement age. In fact, according to a Ledbury Research report produced in 2010 in conjunction with Barclays Wealth, these nevertiree executives accounted for about 60% of the 2,000 global HNWI survey participants. Even if you belong to this executive segment, be aware that your needs and priorities will likely change with time.
In his book Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, a prominent Harvard social psychologist, makes a solid case that people are generally lousy predictors of what will make them happy in the future. His conclusion in that book is that you should speak to someone who is already experiencing what you have yet to experience and ask them what it’s like. This makes sense considering your priorities are unlikely to remain the same from when you’re a go-getter to when you’ve already gone and gotten.
So what do executives closing in on the traditional retirement age have to say?
In a coaching survey we conducted, the results were surprisingly consistent. Most indicated that contribution, a value that they had not always paid much attention to before had become an increasingly important one. This value expressed itself in various ways depending on the respondent’s nature and circumstances. For some, contribution entailed giving back to society on a large scale – using their skills, time and money to help others. Others saw it as a need to do something they really enjoyed in a much smaller context. Some felt that their legacy lay in their work or in the organisation they had set up or ran. Still others felt the need to do something meaningful but regretted that they were unable to do so because of their health or other reasons.
Many executives in the coaching survey, when asked: “How will you know you’ve met your need to make a contribution?” indicated that the need would not necessarily be satisfied by an elaborate plan or a structure that is set up. They expected that more often than not it would be satisfied by witnessing some tangible impact their actions have had. Again, to see such an effect often requires time so foresight and forward planning in this regard is invaluable.
“Advisory services like legacy coaching are forming an increasingly important part of the holistic offering provided by ABSA Wealth and other leading international wealth management firms. Sophisticated investors and executives are demanding a more complete, sustainable wealth solution that is in line with their values, and we’re aiming to deliver exactly that.”
– Nomkhita Nqweni, Chief Executive – ABSA Wealth.
Legacy coaching is equally relevant for the growing nevertiree segment. Even if an executive chooses not to retire, ensuring that their legacy is maintained within their work context implies that there needs to be adequate succession planning. After all, what is the lifespan of your legacy if everything you’ve worked for crumbles upon your ultimate departure?
It is important to realise that future financial security is an enabler for something you want for yourself and for something you want to leave behind. Just as proper financial planning is important for your golden years, so is adequate planning for your legacy. What do you want your legacy to be and how will you make it a reality?
To find out more about legacy coaching, or to book a preliminary strategy consultation, please contact Pratish Mistry.