This year, the holidays are going to look different for most of us. The challenge will be to remember and cherish all of the great times we’ve had with our loved ones in years past, while trying to make the 2020 holidays special in their own right. Our partner at Shakespeare Wealth Management, Kevin Reardon, shares his thoughts on his family traditions: fishing trips. He speculates whether or not his father knew what a tradition he was creating, or was it “just fishing?”

From Family Traditions to Legacy

My father was an avid fisherman.  To satiate his hobby, and to appease my mother, my brothers and I tagged along on his fishing excursions.  When I was not yet five years old, he began an annual tradition of taking us fishing in Canada.  In 1981 we went to a new ‘fishing camp.’  The fishing was good, but the camp owner and the surroundings were great.  We’ve been going back to the same camp now for 38 years.

This tradition has become a large part of my life and the life lessons I’ve learned sitting in a boat with my dad and brothers have been invaluable.  Of course, I learned a thing or two watching the older men drink whiskey and tell stories in the evenings, but let’s keep this blog G-rated.  Our annual trip took on a new meaning for me over 13 years ago when I began taking my own children on the trip.

They were roughly the same age I was when I began coming to this very same Canadian lake.  The experience of having my children see and do the same things I did at that age has been phenomenal.  Whether my kids were 10 years old, or now as young adults, it’s been incredible to see their excitement to go fishing and to witness their growing understanding of the significance of the tradition that was established long before they were born.

The Tradition and Legacy Continues

Although my dad has been gone now for more than 13 years, my boys get a chance to know and learn about their grandpa through old ‘fish stories’ and shared experiences.  As my dad was able to impart his values to me through countless hours in a boat (and car rides) together, so have I been able to pass those same values to my boys.

Every tradition starts somewhere.  I’m guessing my dad had no idea that his family would still be interested in fishing, much less still going back to the same Canadian lake 38 years later.  He probably had no idea we would become lifelong friends with the camp owner, who has literally watched 2 generations of Reardons grow up.  My dad probably had no idea what a positive impact this trip would have on my life and the lives of my siblings.  He surely had no idea what a positive impact this trip would have on my kids and my nephews and nieces who have participated, and how this trip has brought our family together.  But then again, maybe he did!

The challenge questions today for all of us:   

  • What legacy and traditions do you currently have?
  • How can we most effectively pass these traditions on to the next generation?
  • What new legacies do you want to establish moving forward?

Legacy is rarely about money, though sometimes money can help facilitate the continuation of a legacy and tradition.

If you want to discuss how to continue to fund a legacy after you’re gone, give us a call.

Kevin Reardon, CFP, is the President and Owner of Shakespeare Wealth Management.