Leaving a Legacy in San Miguel

Leaving a Legacy in San Miguel

In recent years advertisements geared towards seniors have latched on to the word “legacy”.  Inferring you need to use their insurance, or other professional services, to leave your legacy behind following your death.

In the past a legacy normally implied a college campus building, hospital wing or theater named for you.  For those of more modest financial means every Non-Government Organization (NGO) in town adores a legacy donation.  Basically they are real estate or cash donations following your death to, in theory, support an NGO’s cause.

Having been in leadership positions on various boards I’ve seen firsthand where five and six figure donations simply disappear in overhead costs or board member pockets.  For board members that don’t understand the finances (and there are many, if not most) you can bet there is a clever employee who understands exactly how cash flows.

Even one of the largest NGO’s in town only gave out the equivalent of $700 a year to their stated cause.  Personally, once aware of the tiny contribution following hundreds of hours of my own volunteering and having raised thousands of dollars, I was gob smacked.  “Heck” I thought “I’ll write a check for $700 a year and we can close down all these businesses, stop being an employer and let loose thousands of volunteer man hours.”

Of course, that won’t happen.  But what can you do to make sure your “legacy” donation actually accomplishes something more than disappearing into a black hole?

The bottom line is there is so very, very much!

Sure you can drain out your 401K and give all your funds to a local beggar following the advice of many saints who stated giving money after you are dead is valueless since it can’t do you any good at that point.  Instead, give away all that you have when living and experience all the good that comes back to you as true wealth.

Since most of us won’t be doing that , there are other options.  I’ve an octogenarian pal that travels the campos to teach women how to make things from shawls to fly swatters she can then sell at craft fairs to raise funds for their deaf children.

Others donate, on the QT, funds to local dentists so they can provide services to kids whose parents lack funding.  Sure, there are NGOs that may do something similar but by going directly to the service provider, you’ve eliminated a mountain of overhead costs allowing your legacy to go directly to making a poor kid smile better.

Yup, you won’t get a tax write off for your efforts.  And, yup, at times you may find that after paying for a semester of school the student drops out.  Sometimes you will get fooled, just as you do now when leaving an NGO funds in your will.

What also happens is you’ve helped someone (perhaps anonymously or perhaps a pet) progress in education, health or living standard beyond what they could ever have done on their own. When you do succeed you’ll know you did in a variety of forms beyond just being told you did.   These acts of love are a real legacy you can do while alive and like saints have stressed, enjoy the repercussions.  All the while still being able to live way above the poverty level yourself.  A win-win all around for everyone!