What do you envision when you hear the word legacy? Investments? Estates? Cash? New legislation passed, or a building with your name on it?

I believe a legacy entails leaving something behind. However, I wouldn't necessarily measure it in dollars or by any other tangible evidence of our own success. I want to know, what kind of impact have I had on other people's lives? Was my contribution one of success or one of significance? Will others feel that their lives are better off for knowing me or studying my work?

As the first generation in my family to graduate from college, I saw my parents' dreams for me become a reality. Their encouragement, wisdom, and support were the guiding lights that helped me create and sustain my own prosperity. I remember my dad asking me each night if I had added value to someone's life that day.

My life's mission is to provide others with the same encouragement, wisdom, and support that my parents gave me, so others may discover their own potential to earn, build, and sustain prosperity into their future.

Early in my career as a CPA it was clear to me that I could continue climbing my way up the proverbial corporate ladder. However, the entrepreneurial bug bit me, and I decided if I planned to work that hard, I should do it for my own business and in areas that were important to me as a parent.

Some time later my oldest son went off to college and got into credit card debt, and my life's work took on a razor sharp focus on the need for financial education and inspiring others to become the CEOs of their own lives. My son's mistakes presented the opportunity for a teachable moment, and we seized it. The painful lessons he learned about credit cards and financial responsibility have defined and driven his own passion to coach others today.

That experience also led me to coauthor Rich Dad Poor Dad and many other books in the Rich Dad series, and to launch my latest company, Pay Your Family First, through which we teach financial responsibility to and inspire entrepreneurship in families. I believe the most lasting gift we can give our children is the lessons they learn through experiences we provide. I will continue my work to empower others and in doing so I trust that my legacy is planted in the hearts and minds of those with whom my message resonates.

Bestselling author, entrepreneur, CPA, philanthropist
and proud mother and grandmother, SHARON LECHTER
passionately promotes financial literacy as a national
spokesperson for the AICPA and member of the first
President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.
Founder of Pay Your Family First, Lechter recently
Three Feet from Gold and Outwitting the Devil
with the Napoleon Hill Foundation.