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How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

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Matthew Perry passed away in his Los Angeles home last month. While many are remembering the star for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit TV show Friends, others are recognizing him for his commitment to helping people recover from addiction.

The actor, who had his own struggles with drugs and alcohol, said in a 2022 interview that he would far prefer to be remembered for helping people than for his work on Friends:

“The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it. When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that.”

In addition to helping many people individually, he also converted his former Malibu beach house into Perry House, a sober living facility for men, which operated from 2013 to 2015. 

Matthew got us thinking . . . how do we want to be remembered?

We would like to be remembered as good fathers and husbands, good sons and brothers. We want to be remembered as people who were always learning and growing, both personally and professionally. And we want to be remembered for helping our clients reach their goals. 

We want to have a reputation as reliable and trustworthy advisors who help our clients build financially stable and fulfilling retirements. We want to enable people to spend less time worrying about running out of money and more time checking items off their bucket list. We want to help make your vision of retirement clear and within reach.

How do you want to be remembered?

Legacy plays a vital role in retirement planning. From a financial perspective, it’s important to think about things like: What do you want to leave behind for your loved ones when you are gone? Do you want to pass your wealth on to your children in order to give them a head start in life? Or do you want them to learn the value of working hard and succeeding on their own? How will your gift impact family dynamics?

As you progress through the estate planning process, you will also need to document your wishes in a will and select an executor to make sure they are properly executed. 

But determining your legacy is about so much more than money. It requires personal reflection and intentionality. What is most important to you? Who is most important to you? Are there values or character traits that you want to be known for, or that you want to pass on to your loved ones?

If you want to be remembered as a good father, husband, or friend, spend the time and effort investing in those relationships. Take an interest in what interests your loved ones. Be open and vulnerable enough to share your mistakes as well as your achievements. 

If you want to be known as someone who cares about your community and values being philanthropic, talk to your advisor about a strategy to gift cash, securities, or proceeds from your life insurance policy to your chosen organization while also reducing your tax liabilities. And don’t forget the value of donating your time and skills to the causes you care about.

If you want to be remembered as someone who lived life to the fullest, don’t put off experiences. Stop saying ‘someday’ and take the dream trip, get the advanced degree, learn to salsa, or be present for your grandchildren. Whatever your vision of retirement is, we want to help you make it achievable. 

“I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, and was a seeker. And his paramount thing is that he wants to help people. That’s what I want.” – Matthew Perry

David Popowich and Faisal Karmali are Investment Advisors with CIBC Wood Gundy.

If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy client, please contact your Investment Advisor

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