His last column began “Legacies are supposed to be easy to pin down.” He was considering the legacy of the Michigan basketball team, following their last second Elite Eight loss to Kentucky.
The column concluded that the legacy of this Michigan team should not be defined by this isolated season alone, but by the “cementing of the program.” They are a much stronger program than they were 2-4 years ago. They have reached a level of expected success.
This was from my son Daniel’s column in the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan’s student newspaper. It will likely be his last column, as he graduates in May. With pride, I know the legacy that he and his fellow student journalists have left for future students at the Daily.
Usually, legacies are not built quickly. They take time. Legacies accumulate through actions. Legacies, newspapers and firms grow through decisions, big and small. Legacies are built by taking risks and listening to the advice of others. Legacies are built after hard work and preparation, most of which are not seen by others.
When Daniel started at the University of Michigan four years ago, he didn’t know he would write for the Daily. He did not expect to experience and write about a Final Four, two Sweet Sixteens, travel all over the US, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, as well as cover a NCAA wrestling championship. He created a legacy of his own. As he did this, he benefited from the legacy and loyalty of those Daily student journalists who came before him. They built an incredible institutional standard of excellence, camaraderie, devotion and yes, fun.
In our wealth management firm, the concept of legacy is important. We have had many discussions with clients about legacy, usually in the form of estate planning discussions and how they want their wealth transferred to the next generation and to charities. We value these discussions. Our clients value our contribution to this process. We appreciate that our clients trust us and realize the value we provide to them by involving us in this process.
As a firm, we are grateful for the guidance and trust of those who have mentored us, provided us with advice and helped us to form our investment philosophy. We continue to build our legacy through our actions, advice and relationships we develop with our clients. Like a basketball team or investments, our legacy is not defined over the short term. Our legacy is earned over the longer term.