From the Desk of Jack Kennedy III
This month’s newsletter features an article on “Passing Down a Passion to Your Loved Ones,” as well as a “Retirement Plan Rules Quiz” and timely articles on “Home Office Deduction” and “New Changes to College Aid and Education Benefits.”
As I read the article on “Passing Down a Passion to Your Loved Ones,” I began to think about the passions in my family that were passed onto me.
My Mother taught me how to cook, clean and always find the good in people. Mom cooked with love and her food fed our souls. Everything she cooked tasted better than anywhere else. I believe she was consciously feeding us her love in every bite. Early in my marriage, my wife, despite her best efforts struggled with cooking. In an attempt to save my marriage (not really but it makes for a better story), Mom used this passion to successfully pass along her culinary skills to Lori. Today, our entire family reaps the rewards with every meal.
Mom also taught me not to curse. At seven years old, I quickly and uncomfortably discovered Mom’s passion to remove curse words from my vocabulary. The first time I explored cursing, my mother introduced me to the dreaded Liquid Palmolive and I became a gargling human bubble machine. To this day, I only use Dawn detergent and cannot stand the smell and taste of Palmolive.
Saturday, May 29th marks three years since the passing of my Mom, Pauline "Aunt Polly" Kennedy. She taught me everything she knew and, along with my Father, molded me into the person I am today. Each and every day, I’m grateful for the wisdom and passion they shared and instilled within my soul.
Sharing a Hobby:
My Grandfather, AKA "Big Daddy," raced pigeons. And yes, I said pigeons and he was larger than life. At eight years old, I would hold a pigeon while he vaccinated the group. I fed the pigeons, cleaned the pigeon coop as well as tagged and clocked them when they were racing. He tried his very best to turn me and my cousins into “Pigeon Racers.” However, we all passed on the opportunity to be in his succession plan. Whenever the family is together, we all laugh at the moments and memories of him trying to pass on his passion.
We often see clients gift tangible items such as instruments, collectibles, cars, records, etc. The gift of teaching and mentoring beneficiaries of a passion, hobby or financial discipline is everlasting. Whether or not a passion is passed on as a tradition is not important. What is important is that the next generation has the opportunity to learn and experience the passion through your eyes - the eyes that matter. I never inherited gifts or money. However, I am more than blessed to have inherited moments, memories and life lessons that will stay in my heart forever. The greatest gift we can give to anyone is our time. This article helped me reflect on being a beneficiary of a passion and it has also challenged me to consciously give more of myself and my time to those that I love and depend on me the most.
I will close with the life lessons and passions passed onto me by my Mom - AKA Everyone's Aunt Polly:
If you want a hug, then give a hug.
If you want love, then give love first.
If you want to feel good, then do good.
If you want to feel happiness, make someone happy.
If you want your friends to love you, then love your friends.
These lessons were not her words, they were her actions for over 68 years of life.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving me and my team the opportunity to serve you and your family.
Any opinions are those of Jack W. Kennedy and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Sector investments are companies engaged in business related to a specific sector. They are subject to fierce competition and their products and services may be subject to rapid obsolescence. There are additional risks associated with investing in an individual sector, including limited diversification.
Passing Down a Passion to Your Loved Ones
Thoughtfulness – and planning – will create a legacy that celebrates your life.
Everyone’s legacy looks different. For some, it’s passing down something tangible to be remembered by. For others, it’s furthering a cause close to the heart. For all, it should be about sharing your life’s passions with the people who matter most.
Heirs may not want your big brown furniture, but they do want to know about you – and what in life excites you most. They want to learn why you love guitars or music in general. They want to understand the reasons you care so deeply about environmental issues. Whatever gives you zest in life can take many different forms and should be shared and honored.
With some consideration and preparation, you can incorporate the loves of your life into your legacy, allowing you to live on beyond your years.
Make it meaningful
When most people plan for what they’ll pass on to family, they think about money and other tangible assets. But there’s more to it than that. Your children and grandchildren want to feel that spark of connection. (That’s apparent by the 30 million people who have taken a DNA test and started their own research about their family’s history.) You’re here now and can share your interests with your family. By sharing the story behind them, you can give them the true sense of appreciating and understanding you.
There are so many aspects of you – the family side, the career side, the civic side – and you can connect the dots through your legacy. There are some very personal things that make you the person you are, and those who call you “grandpa” might not know those things about you.
As life caught up to you over the years, some of your hobbies may not have had your full focus. In retirement, many people revisit old pastimes – so it’s a good time to reignite those interests yourself. It may inspire you to incorporate them back into your life with the intention of passing them to family or sharing them with the wider community and younger generations.
Let you shine through
Imparting your passions will take some thought and a plan of action. Start by pondering these suggestions.
Integrate it into everyday life. Just as your passions can be the simple pleasures of life that you enjoy, like painting or gardening, your gestures to share them with others don’t always have to be grand. For example, ask your children or grandchildren to come to your art studio for a painting session or plant veggies and herbs in the community garden. Involving your family in regular activities that incorporate your interests exposes them consistently and will become engrained in how they think about you.
In the vein of regular exposure, the appreciation for your hobbies will build among family members as they see your excitement for them. It will conjure good feelings and happy memories. There’s a curiosity to learn about your journey with these interests – whether it’s creating something with your hands or getting involved in philanthropic causes.
Write it down. Talking about your pursuits probably comes naturally because it’s incorporated in your daily life. Don’t stop socializing about your passions, but also consider writing about them and why they’re important to you. This is something that can be kept and passed down through generations.
Feeling creative? Create a scrapbook of how your passion has evolved through the years. That would be fun for you to reflect on – and reinforce your enthusiasm – as you put it together.
Gift something special. Gift-giving is probably the first way you think about sharing your interests. But consider getting creative with your gifting. If your passion is woodworking, for example, make each grandchild a puzzle or a playhouse when they’re little. Then, as they get older, think about gifting tools to teach them woodworking. Those tools may become prized possessions over time, regardless of how deep they get into the craft. They’ll revel in the memories of you teaching them how to plane or bevel with the tools you gave them.
As you consider sharing your craft with those outside your family, think about philanthropic efforts associated with your passion. For instance, you might leave financial gifts to an artists’ guild, art studio or gallery that celebrates your woodworking craft, or donate to a local high school to upgrade their woodworking shop as a nod to the teacher who got you into it in the first place.
To pass down your passion in a meaningful way, it will take thoughtfulness, creativity and organization. But these efforts will be worth it to ensure your legacy will be remembered the way you want. It will give your family warm memories of you that will celebrate the life you lived and offer a glimpse to others of your spirit and generosity.
As you consider:
- Reflect on what you desire your family to know about (the whole) you
- Share stories surrounding your passions in regular interactions with people who matter most
- Talk to your advisor about how to best gift assets that align with the vision of your legacy
Sources: slate.com; nextavenue.org
All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and are subject to change. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or that any of the forecasts mentioned will occur. Economic and market conditions are subject to change. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of capital. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. The market performance noted does not include fees and charges which would affect an investor’s returns. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
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