Several years ago, before my divorce, my husband and I would constantly discuss the pros and cons of different estate planning structures. He had a couple kids and we planned on having more. And we wanted to give money to our children, but we were concerned about them becoming entitled or dependent.
“We could do a matching program,” my husband would say. “So any money our kids earned, we’d match. That way, they would be motivated to work hard.”
“What about setting up a family bank?” I’d say. “We can have our kids borrow money at a super low interest rate for entrepreneurial endeavors.”
“How about we pay for college and then give them a little bit every year? You know, enough to get by on, but not enough to live lavishly.”
The ideas would go back and forth. Then one day, my husband went to a seminar and found out about a company that claimed to specialize in passing on your wisdom and beliefs to your children.
Wow, we thought, what an incredible idea.
So, we set up a meeting with the company. We showed up at their beautiful office and the receptionist directed us to the conference room and fetched some bottled water. A minute later a well-dressed man sat down and laid a one-page worksheet in front of us. It asked us to list our names, values and future plans for our family. He spent the next 20 minutes trying to sell us whole life insurance.
“But what about this idea of passing on your intellectual assets?” my husband asked. “That’s what we’re really interested in.”
“Yeah,” the salesperson replied and held up the one-page worksheet. “This is really all we have. We can help you structure the way you give to your heirs so that it is in alignment with the values you list here.”
Hmm. It was a start, but not what we were after.
Since then, I’ve talked with a plethora of estate attorneys, financial planners, personal historians, anthropologists, religious leaders, family counselors and business executives. I’ve studied everything I could get my hands on about character development, legacy planning, storytelling, effectively giving through charitable contributions, and successful family systems.
Through this process, I realized that no one had exactly what we were after all those years ago. There were bits and pieces, but not a thought out system of creating the kind of personal legacy I wanted to leave behind.
Paragon Road was born. Pulling from my experience as a writer, artist, advertising agency owner and business woman, I have compiled a specialized legacy creation team and together we have designed a step-by-step process of how to build an effective legacy. And by “effective,” I don’t mean boring. Emotions, creativity and love is what will make your legacy great. Your legacy is part art and part science. It is about the creative evolution of distilling your essence into something your family and community will treasure for generations.
All the best,
Laura A. Roser