When it comes to succession planning, it turns out that advisors face the same hurdles as their business-owning clients. What should be done way in advance and in a manner that anticipates changes in life circumstances or life events often gets thrown together either at the last minute as the need to sell an advisor’s business becomes a realilty much sooner than originally anticipated.
A recent survey showed that out of 400 respondents, only 7% of advisors had implemented a succession plan and only 15% had one in place. Why are advisors so reluctant to do planning that could define their retirement lives in ways they may not anticipate?
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That’s a question that every business owner faces. And just like their business-owning clients, one primary answer is the emotional tie advisors have to their ‘babies’--the businesses they have started, grown, and caused to thrive from the ground up.
More broker-dealers are developing programs to help advisors plan their succession or, at least, have a foundation for the possibility that life might hand them something different than anticipated. An unforeseen illness, a second marriage, or simply a change in goals as advisors age can all instigate the need for impromptu planning. And that can compromise the value they receive at the time of sale.
Like their business-owning family clients, advisors are incapable of stepping back enough from the emotional attachment to their businesses to plan adequately on their own. Sorting out how you really feel about your business, what you want it to enable you to do personally, and the process of ensuring that the business is viewed as a viable asset instead of as just a practice takes time and effort but it’s worth the investment.
Just as you would advise a family to weigh its options carefully and to negotiate the best deal possible to get the greatest value of your entire life of work, starting sooner than later is key. It will enable you to have the life you want after your business is sold. Taking advantage of the tools broker-dealers have available or hiring a personal consultant to give you more personal guidance in the process is the best place to start.
Finding the right fit is essential for anyone seeking advice to accomplish a major life goal
. We often think of life goals relative to our businesses. But it’s time we began thinking of life goals outside of the business and the business as the mechanism that will enable us to reach them.