When I think about what I want for my children and the legacy I would like to leave them, I think about many things, including money.

Forest road

Yes, I admit, it would be nice if I could leave them some money to enable them to get ahead. Money does not equal happiness, but poverty is no great honour either.

As my children are all very capable people making their own way through the world, I often wonder if wanting to leave each some money speaks more to my ego than their need. Whether it will happen may depend on my health, a little luck, and a lot on things I cannot control.

My kids and many of their peers have gotten quite a bit already. The Bank of M & D (Mom and Dad) has paid for clothes, food, education, and travel. They say it costs $1 million to raise a child.* No wonder my line of credit is in such bad shape.

What I really want is for my kids to find happiness. Sometimes when I read the news it seems like finding happiness is next to impossible. My news feed proclaims the next generation has already begun to inherit an environmental nightmare, a world where terrorism inhabits the shadows and family incomes never match those of their parents.

Yet I have hope that finding happiness is both possible and probable for the next generation. Perhaps it will come connected to a partner that supports their dream or a child’s smile that fills a room. Maybe it is a good job, great colleagues, fine friends, and finding a parking spot downtown on a busy day.

There are now scientific studies that prove if you make more than $75,000 per year, more money won’t make you any happier.** My kids already know that money is not the key to happiness.

Although I have owned over 50 vehicles, none of my children have bought their own car. They know owning a car is not the key to happiness either.

Many people believe good health is one of the keys. Going beyond diet and exercise, I read recently that researchers from Kyoto University have shown that people with more grey matter, the mass in a region of the brain called the precuneus, tend to be happier.*** Not bad, I think.

I wish for more grey matter for the next generation. It may come in handy for a lot of things.

* Really, $1 million dollars for a kid? Read here and here for interesting perspectives on that number.
** This article is credited with $75,000 as the magic number.
*** This article details the Kyoto study.

What do you think? Is leaving happiness a desirable legacy for you? And how will you make it real? Please leave a comment below and share this article with someone who might find it relevant.

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Next week Julia talks about her own hopes for the next generation.

2 replies
  1. Heidi
    Heidi says:

    I think leaving happiness is so underrated! We often think of it as by-product of something, but it’s really the whole point, it’s what makes our own experience of our life really good. Working for the Food Bank has allowed me to see and engage with people who are really happy-sometimes ecstatic- about having the choice and ability to take good, healthy food home or feeling accepted and valued for who they are or having new opportunities after experiencing a really rough patch in life. So creating happiness, in the deepest sense, in others’ lives is really the final goal of any legacy gift.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      Great comment Heidi! May the happiness you create in others benefit many around them.
      VP – Sales, Tiny Frog Strategies


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