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Tips for Passing Along Family Values

Aug 18, 2007
According to a groundbreaking study by the Allianz American Legacies Study, a true legacy is a combination of both emotional and financial components. Seventy-seven percent of Baby Boomers say it is important to receive values and life lessons from their parents and as a group prefer to preserve their parent's memories rather than receive a financial inheritance.

Legacy building is becoming increasingly popular as people show more interest in transferring values and non-financial assets from generation to generation. Preserving life's stories is especially important in light of recent events that point out the reality of life's fragility.

According to the study, although both Baby Boomers and seniors say they are comfortable in discussing legacy and inheritance, they do not typically discuss preserving all aspects of their legacy including values and life lessons. In light of that legacy gap, more efforts are being made in making sure that important personal information is saved for the future. Ethical Wills are becoming increasingly popular as a way to write down hopes, dreams and wishes for the next generation.

Intergenerational participants in the Allianz Study shared freely when the topic moved beyond the financial aspect of death to the best way to leave a legacy. In order to make sure that information is captured, many Baby Boomers may have to personally capture their parent's story. Follow these tips to insure that you can extract and preserve information that will document your parent's story and family heritage:

1. Preserve your memories forward in time - be aware of changing digital formats. To minimize the risks of losing your memories, perform frequent backups on an external hard drive and double backups on DVD-RAM storage disks. Use acid free products archival products that will stand the test of time.

2. Ask the right questions - move beyond fact based reporting to evoking sensory narrative. Ask open ended questions such as what did you feel like after accomplishing that huge goal in your life? What was your favorite song from that time period? What are/were your dreams for the future?

3. Tell the story - try to keep the original voice of the author and do as little modifications to the narrative as possible

4. Use technology to make it easier - use an Internet site that in addition to letting you upload photos, will let you preserve your memories in different ways including long-term archiving and acid free hard copies.

By taking the necessary steps to preserve your parent's legacy you will benefit future generations for years to come.
About the Author
Glenda Logan-Glover, President of Preserving Sentiments, LLC writes and speaks extensively on the importance of preserving your memories and legacy in order to benefit future generations. Preserving Sentiments is designed to capture memories and send them forward in time so that loving ties can be strengthened.
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