Legacy for Future Generations

Someone in the Deep Adaptation group started a thread seeking tips for deep adaptation and preparations people can make who are older and concerned about their families, kids, grandkids and so on.

Below is my comment with a few minor changes for this blog.

Financial: I have about 80k left over from what I inherited after Mom & Dad passed. This is a vast fortune to me; I otherwise for most of my life have tended to not have money beyond what I needed for my basic needs or sometimes a little less.)

(I used most of my inheritance to buy my house free and clear which I am kitting out as a communal living pod and urban permaculture micro-palace to accommodate as many people and beneficial connections as I possibly can. And I invested 25K in a part ownership in a permaculture farm/education center that is a great asset to its community in another part of my home state of Florida. (I do not seek nor anticipate monetary returns from this investment.)
And I tithed to my community, with a focus on Black businesses and organizations, mental-health services, and conservation groups.

And now, I am exploring the possibility of gifting a chunk of that remaining money to each of my (adult) nieces right now.

One, I don’t want them to have to wait til after I die to inherit some of my portion of our family’s intergenerational wealth. (I spoke with my departed parents about this recently, and they gave me the OK as long as I make sure to take care of my own health issues and build a resilient flexible livelihood plan that will bring me security through old age. I am in the process of building this.)

Two, they have dreams and wishes, and I want to be an older person who chooses to support those dreams and wishes rather than hoard. Three, I see the very real possibility that money will at some point become virtually useless. Maybe sooner rather than later.

And four, I feel that it would be the ultimate empowering example to my nieces to see their aunt the family oddball — writer, artist, and climate activist — living boldly in line with her stated values, and not building her life plans around stockpiling money.

But! I do feel a responsibility to my parents, siblings, ancestors, and future generations to treat this money compassionately, wisely, and reverently. It is a resource that, like fossil fuels, may never come again.

When I was in my 30s I had a semi-normal middle-class-type career that allowed me to amass about 70k. I kept it in a 401k. After the stock-market crash, I realized I did not want to be involved with Wall Street at all (and later, I decided this for moral reasons as well as for my initial financial reasons). I took the money out of financial instruments. But, I wound up throwing it around (to well-intentioned people & organizations, and to my own failing business model) in a futile effort to find a more useful place for it than under my care. I guess I basically didn’t trust myself much. Well I ended up with zero. And a life-lesson that has been priceless and I would not trade for anything, and was lucky to learn not too late in life.

Now I am committed to sharing my money wisely and regeneratively even if it means hanging onto it for a little while.

We don’t tend to talk about money openly in my family. Certainly I have never talked about money anywhere near as openly as I do with my permie and DA and SC-FIRE circles. Thank you all for tuning in here and on my other channels, and I hope some of what i have said is useful to someone.

Resilient-living skills; discussions about climate crisis: At this time, I don’t sense that my family members would be wanting what I would have to offer in this area. I am located geographically distant from them, and while I stay in contact with them and always strive to deepen our connection, for various reasons I don’t feel it would be appropriate or effective for me to bring these topics up with them. Rather, I feel it’s more respectful, as well as effective, for me to simply express my love and appreciation for them as best I can, and offer them cheerful encouragement for their plans and dreams, and celebrate their joys and share their sorrows, and hold the strong conviction that all good things are possible.

Some years back, when Mom & Dad were still alive, I gave them a solar oven and a mini Rocket Stove. I framed the gift as “camping gear, and a fun thing to do with the grandkids” — but actually I was more thinking of it as my tiny effort to provide them with some Zombie Apocalypse insurance, however small. It didn’t end up needing to be used that way, and I myself only remember using it with the nieces on one holiday visit. My takeaway from this experience: Sometimes our efforts might miss the mark, but we can’t beat ourselves up for trying to help and protect our loved ones, if it is truly from the heart and based on our best understanding of the situation.

Further Exploration:

• “Impact Banking: Another Way Your Money Can Support Social Justice” (Laura Oldanie, Rich & Resilient Living blog). Includes tips/links for breaking up with your mega-bank, banking with BIPOC-owned institutions, and finding an impact bank near you.