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Try This Twist on Home Movies: Capture What Your Family Values Most

December 12, 2017

THE HOLIDAYS ARE A TIME FOR SHARING — not just gifts, but family lore. How your grandparents met. The summer Dad swam across Lake Winnipesaukee, on a dare, for charity. The app cousin Sarah created while on maternity leave — that's now a multimillion-dollar business.

“Every family has favorite stories that live on from generation to generation,” says Stacey Allred, head of the Center for Family Wealth, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “And most of them contain a moral that reveals a lot about your family’s values and the way you’ve been raised.” A combination of social codes, financial practices and traditions, these values are a key part of your family’s legacy.

 

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In years past, families might have chosen to write down their core purpose in a mission statement of sorts, and some still do. “Nowadays, nearly everyone has a smartphone or digital camera, which makes it so much easier to capture and share important memories and the essence of what your family stands for.” Doing so can provide an invaluable guide to the next generation.

 

To capture conversations around your family’s values, Allred suggests asking about your parents’ or grandparents’ definition of success. “You’ll find it goes way beyond the financials,” she says. You can also reach out to your Merrill Lynch advisor for “value cards”—bulleted statements and prompts—to help kick-start and steer these conversations. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Our family values generosity’,” says Allred. “It’s quite another to say, ‘Here’s why and how’.”

 

For more tips on how to capture your family’s favorite memories—and core values—on video this season, check out videographer Steve Pender’s tips, above.

 

For more insights on talking with your family about values and money across the generations, read "Aging and Your Wealth."

Steve Pender and Family Legacy Video are not affiliated with Bank of America Corporation.

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