In the financial planning and insurance business, we hear the term “legacy” tossed about frequently. Usually, the term refers to our financial legacy – our estate – that includes, of course, life insurance and other financial holdings. But I’m here to remind you that “legacy” covers much more territory than just money. In fact, as I mentioned above, it includes dozens and dozens of “things” that probably have no intrinsic dollar value at all. For example, I’m guessing my Dad’s audio recordings wouldn’t fetch much at a garage sale, but to all of us Stones, they are priceless!
When it comes to those “one-of-a-kind” family treasures, here’s a fact you might not be aware of: old audio tapes (reel to reel, cassettes, micro-cassettes, and even those “classic” 8-track cartridges) and your family video cassettes (VHS and BetaMax) are deteriorating every single day. At some point, you won’t be able to play them, even if you can find a working machine in the basement or at Goodwill! So, if you’d like to watch your Aunt Martha and Uncle George dance the samba at Cousin Chrissy’s wedding back in 1983, you’d better hurry! The same goes for Little Julie’s first hit in Little League baseball, Junior’s solo performance at the Fall Festival impersonating Elvis, or that surprise birthday party for your mom’s 60th birthday when she slipped and fell, face-first, into her three-layered cake! Or, how about that favorite record album that’s out of print?
Luckily for all us, a small cottage industry has grown up over the past couple decades that specializes in transferring all of these media formats to current, virtually indestructible formats. We can, for example, transfer all of your old VHS tapes to crystal clear DVDs, so you can share those precious family memories with generations to come. We can take your old home movie film – 8mm, Super 8, 16mm, even 35mm – and enhance and restore it so that it looks better than the original in many cases – delivered to you on DVD that you can copy and share with friends and family around the world.
Oh and one more thing. Among the most enjoyable projects I get in on occasion is what I call “Individual Tribute” videos that we produce for a special occasion: anniversaries, special birthdays, retirement parties, graduations, and, quite often, memorial services. For theses videos, we transfer all sorts of media to DVD – photos, slides, video tapes, home movies, newspaper articles, yearbook photos, bowling trophies, and audio tapes … just about anything we can scan or photograph, we can put into your special tribute video!
Aside from my “not-so-subtle” commercial message, my point is simply this: Don’t put off transferring those memories to modern formats. Contact me through your Safe Money Places agent or just take a look in your local community for a company that does this kind work. Back in 1991, I helped one of my closest friends start his own business (Home Video Studio) that today has grown into an international concern. Look him up online: www.homevideostudio.com.
And think about this scenario for a moment. What do you think that most victims of home fires try to grab as they’re rushing their family and pets outside? Their jewelry? Their flat-screen TV? Their computer? (Well, maybe their computer!) Surveys show that most families try to save their family photos and videos. Because they are priceless and usually irreplaceable. But, if you’ve transferred all of your audio and video media onto discs, you could place a copy of each one in a small safety deposit box or give complete sets to other family members … or both! You could probably transfer every single movie, video, audio, photo, and slides onto a dozen or fewer DVDs or CDs – about the size of shoebox. And you’ll have a collection that will outlive several generations of your family.
By all means, be sure to take care of your financial legacy by working with your Safe Money Places Agent, but don’t forget those other priceless treasures stored away in a closet, desk, or dresser. That’s as important a legacy as you can leave as anything else!