Friend, I’m outrageously fortunate. In an ordinary year I talk with 1000+ multimillionaires, winners who have had uncommon success. The landlords among them influence the lives of hundreds of their tenants and many others whose lives they touch.

Most months I’m amazed at the wealthy people who are owned by greed and the other folks who are fountains of generosity. You already hear about many of the greedy ones. The media love to tell the stories of notorious slumlords and fraudsters. In this post I discuss some others.

Recently we visited a great-grandmother in her hospital bed, who was decked out in exorbitant red and flamboyant green. Nine people from her extended family attended her that afternoon. She died soon after. Several million dollars flowed through her fingers and almost none of it stayed with her. Instead she valued family.

For her, memories were better bargains than more money. She raised more than five kids and subsidized them at various stage of life. Some of the money went for wise and profitable ventures, some was purely fun, some was wasted. People mattered more than what wealth could do or its freedom and responsibility. The memories are an important part of her legacy.

In the last year we served one family where one sibling gave another $250,000+, “because he and his kids needed it and we didn’t.” That’s the kind of story that families tell for generations.

If you are a good landlord, part of your legacy will be to have people remember you as good and fair. Rental ownership offers unique opportunities to build legacy. I saw this most powerfully because of the life of a person who did not own any apartments. I tell the story in Building Legacy Wealth.

Tracy worked for one of out city’s best management companies. She dealt with all kinds of tenants. When she died, more than five hundred people showed up at her memorial service. That’s impressive, but the most impressive thing to me was not that her boss, or her husband or kids, said, “We’re going to miss her. She was a wonderful gal.” I expected that. What I didn’t expect were the tenants who came and swelled the crowd beyond the building’s capacity. And I certainly didn’t expect one of the speakers to be a tenant telling how Tracy had helped her when she hit a rough patch.

Every day we choose how to use our time, effort, emotion and energy. Every day we get to leave the imprint of our life on the lives of others. There’s always a choice; we always choose. Legacy is the result of a life’s work, making the most of thousands of choices, not the result of one event. Choose wisely.

What legacy are you building?


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.