What Money Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

written by Bari Tessler September 17, 2022

Dear Money Adventurer,

Welcome to your daily dose of Money Mocha wisdom, the latest sweet sample in this season’s free money support mini-series. This series is my own little tradition, a way of expressing my love and appreciation for this community, an offering of gratitude to lift you up in your money journey, and to thank you for the way that you have encouraged me in mine.

Bari Tessler | Money Mochas

Each Money Mocha is a tiny taste test of the compassionate teachings, body-based wisdom, and real-life money-savvy skills that you’ll discover in my year-long money school, The Art of Money. This flagship program is now open for registration. If these bite-sized morsels of money inspiration have you longing for more, you can get all the details and join us for a life-changing journey right over here.

And if you know someone who could use a little gentle encouragement in their money journey, please send along this post with all my love and dearest wishes. What a difference it makes to feel seen and to know that we are not alone.

Today’s Money Mocha is a heartfelt, handcrafted homage to the money stories we inherit, the ones we choose for ourselves, and the legacy we leave behind. Because money doesn’t just touch every part of our lives, it influences the way we touch the lives of others, and the money stories they carry as their own.

A Money Legacy is everything you pass on that is related to money, including how you live your life. It’s the wealth you accumulate, your attitudes and beliefs, and everything that money means to you.

We all inherit a Money Legacy. But we get to choose what we do with it, what we choose to heal, what we choose to celebrate, and what we choose to pass on.

You can choose to craft your Money Legacy as a loving integration of the past, present, and future. Bringing compassion and awareness to the parts of your past that need to be recognized, healed, or honored. Cultivating an inheritance of grace and mindfulness for the loved ones you leave behind. And living the legacy you want to create, right here, right now, one day, one baby step at a time.

You can choose to break the silence around money. You can choose to face the exquisite beauty, the uncertainty, and the pain. You can choose to release the wounds of your past. You can treasure the gifts that you have been given. You can honor your dreams, and your strengths, and bring your deepest values to our relationship with money.

Today’s Money Mocha is a tender one, so put a little extra TLC in your morning cup and take a few minutes to curl up somewhere cozy and listen in, or read along, to explore:

  • A Money Legacy that goes beyond debt and assets
  • My own Money Legacy and the difficult money dynamic my father and I struggled with
  • The turning point in my relationship with my father–and his own Money Legacy
  • How we can create space to heal the past and honor the gifts we have been given
  • The values I claimed for myself as part of the legacy I want to leave behind


A tender story about money legacy. This is a story about my father and I; The money legacy I received from him, what I am choosing to do with it and what money legacy I want to leave behind.

It took me years to unravel all the money dynamics my father and I created together, to forgive the hurt, to claim my own worth and value and to recognize the gifts he gave me even in our toughest challenges. You see, we all inherit a money legacy, but it’s our choice what we do with it. And, we all leave behind a money legacy. It’s our choice what we do with it.

Whether you leave behind 14 grandchildren, a circle of friends or close colleagues and clients, whether you leave behind trust funds, inheritances and real estate or nothing more tangible than memories – although those are all equally as important – even if you never explicitly talk to anyone about money, your attitudes, beliefs and values will touch those around you and outlive you. It’s up to you to consciously choose what money legacy you want to create. If you admire your great grandmother’s thrift and generosity, you can claim these values as part of your money legacy and amplify them in your own life.

If you inherited wounded, stressful beliefs around money from your grandfather, you can choose to transmute those beliefs and pass on something far kinder and gentler to those who survive you. Money legacy is the loving combination of past, present and future. It’s noticing what parts of your past need to be healed, shifted and honored. It’s bequeathing compassion and mindfulness to those who survive you and it’s living the legacy you want to create right here, right now.

We can choose to release the traumas and hurts of our past. We can choose to emphasize our strengths. We can bring our deepest values into our money relationship. There’s so much suffering in the world around money. This area of our lives is laden with karma and taboo, wounding and shame. But we can choose to face this and forgive in our own lifetimes. When we become more conscious, healed and compassionate with money in our own lives, we model a new, more honest and mindful lifestyle for everyone around us and for generations to come. Please sit back and listen as I tell you the story of the turning point in my relationship with my own father and his own money legacy and my own money legacy.

This was recorded at one of my live readings of my book tour in the summer of 2016, so please forgive the audio quality, but I really wanted to share this story with you. I hope it touches your heart and I hope that it inspires you to honor your own money legacy and create a money legacy that you can be so proud of.

Your Money Legacy

The hospital room was quiet. The hush broken only by the hypnotic beep-beep of my father’s heart monitor. The lights were soothingly dim, though I could glimpse the brilliant white snow out of the window, blanketing Madison in silence. Nurses and doctors moved slowly and meditatively through the ICU and I squeezed my father’s hand again, ever so gently, careful not to disturb the IV in his vein.

My father, who had always been such a strong, stoic figure, was now utterly vulnerable. Earlier that day, I received the phone call. My mother, her voice cracking, told me that my father had suffered a severe stroke and they weren’t sure whether he would live. By what felt like miraculous timing, I was only a five hour drive from my parents, celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family in St. Louis. I packed my overnight bag and with quick and emotional goodbyes to my family drove straight to Wisconsin.

When I arrived, my father was conscious. He knew I was there. I held his hand, he held mine back. I stayed by his side that whole night in ICU and throughout that long night, listening to that beep-beep as doctors and nurses shuffled in and out of my father’s room, sitting there, I had a lot of time to think, to remember, to pray and to feel. We plan our lives like crazy and then life happens. The unexpected, the tragic and the wonderful, too. It is often in those unexpected moments that we transform.

That night in the ICU with my father and the days that followed felt like a right of passage; one of those sacred moments that brings us face to face with what truly matters. For me, this is love, family and health connecting to one another in the simple sacrament of holding a loved one’s hand.

My years of professional training as a therapist and hospice worker had prepared me to offer tender, clear headed support to my mother during that difficult time. Yet, within myself, I could also feel deep emotional stirrings. My whole relationship with my father was being transformed.

Before his stroke, my father was an intense Chicago-tough entrepreneur. My whole life, he focused intently on business, work and money. He was proud of my own entrepreneurial path, though we didn’t always agree with each other’s business values. I fought to carve my own path in life and in money, knowing I needed it to include creativity, intuition, grace and gentleness that had not been prioritized in my father’s life or his money relationship.

All of this hard stuff came up for me during that week in ICU. I held my father’s hand for days as wave after wave of grief, fear and love passed through me. Each time one of those tough memories, harsh judgements or past fights bubbled up, it dissolved into forgiveness and love. None of that mattered anymore. I simply loved my father, held his hand and loved him some more.

In those few days, I made peace with what had defined my father and challenged me my entire life. I felt deeply that his legacy was living in me and wondered what legacy I would eventually leave. That was two and a half years ago and we all, my whole family, got to have two and a half years with my father after his stroke where he changed. Where the aggressive part of him went away. It went away and where he became love.

Whenever I would see him, and I got to spend a lot of time with him, he would say, “You’re so smart. You’re so beautiful.” Really, what any little girl wants to hear from their dad. “You’re so smart and you’re really beautiful and I love you.”

It was huge. It’s been so much forgiveness. My father passed away three weeks ago. He was cremated the day the book was published – and that wasn’t planned. My mother, who was at the book reading the other night, knows he’s living through my legacy. I’m so much like my father. I have his face, I have his legs. I learned so much. To complete this work, it is about our legacy and everything that we were given from our family of origin – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the hard – and our lineage. We can go back. We can go back and go back and go back. We go back to the healing work. It’s, “What do we need to forgive and who do we need to forgive?” What do we need to learn? I learned from him how to be an entrepreneur and be a boss, which has its challenges and its strengths. I learned – I got that from him and a lot of things that I transformed for both of us.

The legacy is where we want to go from here. Again, no matter what age, no matter if we have children or we don’t, no matter where we are, what money legacy do we want to be living and what money legacy do we want to be leaving?

Here we dive beyond personal finance and into the heart of money, meaning, and what matters most in this life.

We bring our hopes and our healing and our deepest values to craft a legacy with compassion and loving intention.

We offer grace to the past, present, and future.

Because when we nurture our own money journey with authenticity, we are role-modeling a healthier, more compassionate, more mindful relationship with money for everyone around us–and crafting a legacy for generations to come.

May you craft your Money Legacy with intention and a heart full of love.

This is my wish for you and yours.

P.S. The Art of Money year-long program is open for registration for a little window right now. If you would like to learn the details to see if it’s a fit, go here.

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