We all have our favorite holiday. Several years ago, I made the realization that my favorite holiday was not Thanksgiving. It was actually the 4th of July. Independence Day. You won’t find me sporting the Stars and Stripes on my clothing, and I likely won’t even remember to wear red, white or blue. Why is Independence Day my favorite holiday?
So many holidays come with the pressure of a Pinterest perfect holiday. A beautifully cooked, delicious meal, placed on the perfectly set table, with our loved ones in their finest clothes, and getting along splendidly. And don’t forget the house that is immaculate and decorated just so. We all know the picture, right? These types of holidays can create a lot of angst. I know that even the most perfect of holiday celebrations and gatherings don’t always meet the expectation I created for myself.
Memorial Day is a time to celebrate, but it also in the middle of the end of school activities. The official start of summer for many families is over before you know it. Labor Day marks the end of summer. We are so busy planning for the new school year, and all the hope that comes with a day that is nearly like a second New Year’s Day, that it passes in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, we are tucking our children into bed early because it’s a school night while frantically packing last minute items for the first day of school.
What is it about Independence Day? We slow down the week of July 4th. No matter what weekday the holiday falls on, we take a few slow days around the 4th of July. It is a day filled with picnics, parades, fireworks, and swimming, a day of laughter and water balloon fights, a day spent on the boat. It is a day in the middle of the summer, without the pressures of the rest of our schedules. We stay up late in the humid July night watching the fireflies while sitting around a fire, with chocolate dripping as we build one more s’more. We are relaxed and enjoying those around us.
Why am I talking about holidays and what does this have to do with estate planning? It’s all about legacy planning. We want to leave a financial legacy, but have you thought about leaving the legacy that is the story of your life? Does your family know your favorite holiday? Does your family have traditions for holidays and you would love to have those traditions passed on to your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
As you celebrate this week, I encourage you to ask your family questions. What did your mom do for the 4th of July when she was a kid? Did your Dad march in parades? What is your nephew’s favorite thing to do on 4th of July? You may be surprised at their answers. And don’t forget to write those answers down, it will be fun to look back on it in a few years – I promise.