A professional woman smiling and collaborating with a colleague

6 Ideas for Building a Lasting Career Legacy

Making your mark through your work doesn’t have to take a lifetime.

If you left your job today, how would you be remembered? Thinking of the legacy you’re creating through your career or business helps you focus on the big picture – and enables you to maximize your influence for decades to come.

People rarely get the chance to preview what their career legacy will be, but the inventor of dynamite did. In 1888, his brother died and newspapers mixed up the two siblings. One obituary read, “The merchant of death is dead,” which shocked the 55-year-old inventor. His name? Alfred Nobel. He famously rewrote his legacy, changing his will to leave his money to a foundation that would fund Nobel prizes – including one that promotes peace. You don’t have to have Nobel money to make your mark, though. Here are some tangible ways you can leave a legacy through your career or business.

1. Become a mentor

Chances are, someone helped you get to where you are today. You can be that lifeline for a colleague as a mentor or advocate. If you’re a business owner, you can help other entrepreneurs as a volunteer mentor for SCORE or the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. And don’t forget children – will match you with a child who needs a caring adult in their lives.

2. Make a business succession plan

As a business owner, this is a crucial yet often overlooked task. Nearly 43% of family-owned businesses don’t have a succession plan, according to a 2016 survey conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The same goes for selling a business. A staggering 67% of owners selling a business did not do any in-depth planning before putting it on the market, according to a 2018 Market Pulse Survey produced in part by the International Business Brokers Association. A plan created in collaboration with a knowledgeable advisor can prevent worst-case scenarios, such as your business partner passing away without an heir, forcing you to sell or close up shop.

3. Take a chance in your career

Not taking enough career risks was a top regret cited in “30 Lessons for Living,” a book based on interviews of 1,500 people over age 65. For you, maybe this means taking that assignment in a new location or overseas. If you’re a business owner, maybe it’s pursuing your dream of expanding your business.

4. Publish your insights

If you’ve gathered wisdom about business and leadership over your lifetime, maybe it’s time you shared that knowledge via a blog or a book.

5. Start a new venture

After you’ve spent years building your professional reputation, it might be time for an encore career in consulting. Or perhaps you’d like to change industries altogether and start the business you’ve always wanted. Explore which possibilities appeal to you most and how having renewed purpose could add to your quality of life.

6. Pay it forward

Let the resources left behind and opportunities created for you by your predecessors in the workplace inspire you to find a way to leave your own positive impact. Studies show that when we think about what we’ve gained from the prior generation, it spurs us to think about what we want to leave behind.

As you contemplate how to live your legacy in the professional arena, your advisor can help you assess how changes in your career path will impact your financial plan. He or she can also help you consider all the options when it comes to buying or selling a business, and offer guidance as you work toward making an enduring impact.

Raymond James is not affiliated with any organizations mentioned.


Important Disclosures

Saling Wealth Advisors is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Louisville, Kentucky. Saling Wealth Advisors may only transact business in those states in which it is registered, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements. Saling Wealth Advisors’ web site is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its advisory services, together with access to additional investment-related information, publications, and links. Accordingly, the publication of Saling Wealth Advisors’ web site on the Internet should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as Saling Wealth Advisors’ solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, over the Internet. Any subsequent, direct communication by Saling Wealth Advisors with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. For information pertaining to the registration status of Saling Wealth Advisors, please contact the state securities regulators for those states in which Saling Wealth Advisors maintains a registration filing. A copy of Saling Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing Saling Wealth Advisors’ business operations, services, and fees is available at the SEC’s investment adviser public information website – or from Saling Wealth Advisors upon written request. Saling Wealth Advisors does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Saling Wealth Advisors’ web site or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility therefor. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

This website and information are provided for guidance and information purposes only. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy. This website and information are not intended to provide investment, tax, or legal advice.