Other than the holidays, summer is peak time for gathering family, laughing with friends and enjoying long, slow evenings. The accumulation of “experience assets” – things you’ll tell a story about later – doesn’t require a big gesture or spending lots of money, and they aren’t reserved simply for holidays or vacations. Although, of course, we create memories from life’s big moments, we can create experience assets from ordinary days, too, with a little mindfulness and preparation.
Our firm’s planning philosophy places just as much value on experiences as financial assets, but if you hope to pass them on – the lessons learned, memories made and traditions started – experiences must be documented. When we dream about what’s next for our business, finding ways to plan, document and share clients’ experience assets is at the top of our list. Because we don’t simply want to encourage and hold you accountable to reach your financial goals but your experience goals, too. So, until our vision for tracking asset growth holistically becomes a reality, here are a few ways to memorialize experiences so you can pass them on to the people you love.
Take pictures of the people, the places and the activities of your daily life – not just your vacations. If you opt to share them on social media, write a post that reminds you what you were doing and feeling at that moment. Compile photos into an annual “family yearbook” so you can look back together and remember life’s little memories. Kids especially love looking at pictures of themselves, and you’ll be shocked how much everyone changes in just a year!
Write about it. Keep a handwritten journal or start an online blog for family. Write poetry, if that’s your thing. The point is to get down on paper the experiences of your life. Unlike short social media posts, writing helps you process what you were feeling – not just doing – and articulate lessons learned. Today, you might think no one would be interested to read what you write, but in the hands of future generations, your perspective on life events could be incredibly special.
Tell a story. Storytelling is the oldest trick in the book for passing on information, but it takes some effort to build this into your daily routine. When you sit down to dinner or travel in the car, practice sharing stories from your day – not simply the motions you went through or tasks you completed. Set the example by sharing first, if necessary, and ask open-ended questions so you get more in return than, “My day was fine.” Here’s a great list to pull more stories from your kids.
Repeat it. Some of the best family memories are traditions that take place year after year. Typically, most people focus on creating traditions during the holidays, but you can repeat important or special moments any time of the year. Sunday night dinners, family service projects or standing date nights are opportunities to model your family’s core values and create valuable, recurring memories.
When you share experiences with others – positive, negative, big or small – you relive the joy and remember the lesson. We’re all building life experience assets regularly, but this summer, take a little extra time to document and pass them on.
Blog by Andrew Gaskill, Financial Services Manager