How to build wealth as a lawyer
Over the past week, I’ve been asked a lot twice about how I define wealth. I am an estate planning lawyer and do a lot of podcast interviews. Inevitably, this question arises because people associate estate planning with having lots of money, assets, land, and financial resources. Thanks to Scrooge McDuck swimming through the gold coins in the beloved late ’80s / early’ 90s classic cartoon “Duck Tails” and Robin Leach broadcasting the lifestyles of the rich and famous, our concept of wealth is distorted. A lot of people only think of assets when they think of wealth – I also think so many people fail to make their estate plans because they really can’t relate to wealth. (But the truth is, estate planning is for everyone – I’ll get into that song and dance another day.)
Yes, of course, wealth is linked to having material goods. These are life insurance, real estate and money in the bank. This applies to money market accounts, mineral rights and trust funds. There is nothing wrong with it. However, as I have grown, especially in my job, I know that wealth is more than money. Do you have rich relationships that can support you through tough times? It is wealth. Can you have options for how and where you spend your time? It is also wealth. Do you prefer nature outings? Sounds pretty rich to me!
As the owner of a law firm, I love the possibilities of working for myself. I can stop my day at 2:30 p.m. and pick up my children. I like being able to take them to gymnastics class at 3pm and not having to answer anyone to do it. It’s a great feeling. I also know that wealth as an entrepreneur is having the freedom to create businesses that work for our clients. and we. Most law firm owners don’t want to be beholden to our schedules, tied to a billable hour, and chained to our desks. If you are currently being held hostage by your business as the owner of a law firm, what is the point? Why not go to work for someone else?
Working as an entrepreneur is Assumed to give you options. It can give you the freedom to make choices without having to answer someone else. So why not take it? If you really feel like your business is something you work for and it’s not working for you, it’s time to make a change. Do something different!
Here are some concrete steps you can take to help your business generate wealth for you if it isn’t already:
- Ask for help rather than doing it all yourself. Going it alone is a ticket to burnout.
- Constantly change your mindset. Stop setting limits on yourself. If it’s legal and ethical, go for it, even if others aren’t!
- Regularly a break. Nothing beats a day off or a weekend off. Endless work is another ticket to bitterness.
- Go with the flow. I started my practice in business law, but I quickly found that estate planning was better for me. It’s OK to turn around.
In addition to the treasures I listed above, I also appreciate other aspects of wealth, like the freedom to travel – or to stay home on Mondays and do nothing. I enjoy the excitement of building my own farm with chickens and (maybe) horses. I can’t wait to have more land to grow heirloom tomatoes, snow peas and asparagus!
What is wealth for you? Think about it and answer this question for yourself. Is your life aligned with your response? What can you do to align your life with a wealthy perspective, regardless of your definition of wealth? Let me know at [email protected] I would love to hear from you and discuss your rich future.
Iffy Ibekwe is the lead lawyer and founder of Ibekwe Law, SARL. She is an evangelical lawyer in estate planning for intergenerational wealth transfer with effective wills and trusts. Iffy is writing her first book on culturally competent estate planning, available in 2022 (prayers in the air!). She graduated from the University of Texas Law School and has practiced law for over 14 years. Iffy can be contacted by email at [email protected], to his website, and on Instagram @thejustincaselawyer.