I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination. I have however, in the past shared some of my spiritual journey within the Jewish community in past blogs. This post is one such missive.
This evening is Erev Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. This year, as in past years (though not every year) I attended, what I think is the most beautiful service in the Jewish liturgy - Kol Nidre. It is on this evening that, for those who believe, the gates of heaven open and our prayers rise to God for It to determine if we are worthy of another year on earth AND if that year will be a good one or a not so good one.
Working with families on their legacy is more than just conversations around estate, endowments, bequests, donations to charities and taxes. It is about continuing on what was created in previous generations. This is where succession planning differs from continuity planning.
A Succession Plan is an output of continuity planning. It includes both the emotional and technical solutions around wealth transfers. Continuity planning is the journey or process that leads to the successful transition of wealth between family members, owners and operators, friends, community and we cannot forget, government.
This year Canadian Thanksgiving and the Jewish High Holy Days are back-to-back; Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is a time for celebration and reflection on the year that past and what lays ahead. There are 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when we are hopefully written in the Book of Life for another year. This year, Thanksgiving falls smack in the middle adding another layer of self-reflection and connection with family and friends.
For me, this time of year is always a challenge. I always find myself entering into a major metamorphosis starting early September and ending sometime around late November. Perhaps it is the change of season, or perhaps it is culturally ingrained.
This year is no exception. I have been reflecting a lot on wealth, happiness and what success looks like; for me personally, and for my company, as well as for my clients. Below are some thoughts in the context of my work as a philanthropy advisor and facilitator of legacy and succession plans within families.
Before you say “I do,” it’s a good idea to sit down and discuss your finances. Even if you’re already married or in a committed relationship, scheduling a regular “financial date” to proactively talk about moneywill help avoid any unpleasant surprises in the future. Here are some ideas of what to talk about:
This month I am criss-crossing Western Canada leading workshops for women on strategic philanthropy and legacy planning alongside TD Private Giving Foundation. My travels have taken me from NYC where I added a few new facilitation tools into my toolkit from the 2164 organization to sold-out workshops Vancouver, Calgary, and Saskatoon. Victoria will be at the end of the month and spots are still available – www.dexterityevents.com.
Regardless of where these women reside, there is commonality between all of them. A desire to be able to sit with their families, their partners and in a couple cases, their employees, to explore what their social vision is and how to have it play out during the course of their lifetimes and afterwards.
This past week the Calgary Foundation received a very generous legacy gift from the late Doc Seaman. This is the largest foundational gift in the history of community foundations in Canada. The question now becomes, what will the Calgary Foundation do with this investment?