By Stewart Koesten

As we enter the spring, I am once again looking for some wise, sage-like philosophy to share with you. These days of highly volatile investment markets and equally disturbing economic news can drain one’s energy. Ah, but I recall having seen an insightful bit of philosophy on a Chinese restaurant’s fortune cookie recently (truth be told that’s where most of my best thoughts come from) that I think might be applicable today: “If at first you DO succeed….try something HARDER!”

Maybe in these days of Occupy Wall Street and 1% vs. 99% things seem hard enough. If you step back, though, most of us are far better off than the vast majority of citizens worldwide. We all have attained some measure of success in our lives. Is that enough? Perhaps we could consider the statement as follows: If you DO succeed try something HARD!

For example we all, young and older, are faced eventually with having to prepare for our demise. As you draft the appropriate documents, the EASIEST thing to do is to pass everything to your children or loved ones after you and your spouse are deceased. This doesn’t require great thought. An advantage to such a plan is that it is an easy plan to explain to your family. I doubt that any one of them would object to inheriting everything! Still, is it the right thing to do? What effect will inheriting everything have on the children? I believe it was Warren Buffett who said, “The perfect amount of money to leave children is enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”
Perhaps a more difficult course, a HARD course, is to consider one’s entire legacy. Are there churches or synagogues you want to include in your plans? Perhaps an organization that serves some need in the community you are passionate about that requires assistance you can provide? Maybe your college or university had such a lasting effect on you that you want to remember them at the time of your death or even while you are alive? Perhaps members of your family haven’t been so fortunate and you’d like to give them a brighter future?

When considering your legacy, it’s not just about your financial assets. While you are alive, how do you want to contribute in the form of your human capital to create your legacy? How do you want to use your time, talents, and skills to help organizations you are passionate about?
Whatever it is, taking the time to think through a legacy plan, to clarify your goals takes time and hard work. It’s a HARDER course to take but is it not the better one?

For more information, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Stewart Koesten –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: maza34 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)