Nirdev Desai, Head of Sales at PSG Wealth
September brings with it a few important dates that encourage us to think long term when it comes to financial planning. The first is the “official” arrival of spring on the first, which always brings with it a welcome round of house cleaning and a renewed effort to get your affairs in order. This focus is well-timed because traditionally Wills Week also takes place during September (this year, it’s from 13 to 17 September). However, it is the arrival of Heritage Day on 24 September that puts the focus on leaving a lasting legacy behind.
Use these three key September calendar events as an outline to streamline your thinking and make the most of the renewed energy that the spring season brings with it, and start building your own legacy.
1. Start early – do the necessary preparation to cultivate wealth
If you’re serious about leaving a legacy, you first need to secure that legacy. This starts squarely with having a financial plan in place that allows you to build wealth holistically. Any gardener will tell you that plants take time to grow, and the same is true for your financial portfolio.
Before planting a garden, you should prepare the soil. Similarly, wealth is not cultivated overnight. It is the result of careful budgeting, saving and investing over many years. Similarly, if you have let your investment portfolio run to seed, a little spring cleaning may be in order. Remember that your financial portfolio should be reviewed annually (at least!) to ensure that it remains positioned to help you achieve your goals successfully.
Lastly, everybody knows that gardeners need to take precautions to keep pests under control, and part of the holistic investment planning process should be to ensure you are covered from a risk perspective. This does not only include life cover (to ensure your dependents are provided for) but also severe illness and income protection cover so that you are protected if your ability to earn an income is disrupted.
2. Yes, you need a will
Many neglect putting a valid will in place, perhaps because talking about death is unpleasant and often results in anxiety. However, not taking the time to do so can cause a lot of unnecessary hardship for those left behind.
Winding up a deceased estate is not a quick process, and passing without a will (or leaving behind one that is disputed) can delay this process even further. Even if single with no dependents, you will still leave assets behind that need to be allocated. We also encourage everyone to ensure their will is updated whenever their personal circumstances change.
However, if your intention is specifically to leave a legacy, then working with a fiduciary practitioner is strongly recommended. Putting specific structures in place to secure your estate can take years, and it is best to ensure that you have the time to implement these structures as intended so that your legacy is passed on efficiently and smoothly.
3. Reconsidering the constructs of a positive ‘legacy’
This might seem like a strange concluding point in an article about leaving a legacy, however, it actually circles back rather well to the first point. While reading this, you might think that leaving behind a legacy is a grandiose goal only for the wealthy few. However, the biggest gift you can give your children is ensuring you do not become financially dependent on them at any point in the future, and allowing them the luxury of focusing on building their own legacies.
A proper financial planning exercise will help to determine how much you need to save in order to have a financially secure retirement. Starting sooner rather than later is the important first step to take. So if you have been delaying the process of putting your financial affairs in order, I suggest using the energy of the season to your advantage and plan to leave a financial legacy that truly matters.