The Future of Your Business and Your Retirement Depend on it.

Chances are, if you’re like most busy business owners, you’ve probably thought about some level of financial planning or even planning for your retirement. If finding or working with a financial advisor isn’t on your “Important and Urgent” list…it needs to be.

Does your team of trusted advisors include someone who helps you manage your assets as well as your obligations and helps guide you when you’re making critical financial decisions?

Why is this important? Financial planning is important because your current and future lifestyle depend on it. Most of the people we admire put others before themselves. But that doesn’t mean that you should never think about what’s good for you. You should be very interested in maintaining and improving your lifestyle now and in the future.

Why is this urgent? The lifestyle you will enjoy during your retirement, regardless of how active you are, will depend on how you envision and plan for it today. You should plan with the end in mind, and the lifestyle you enjoy during your retirement will also depend on the lifestyle you choose to enjoy today. The decisions you make today or tomorrow will affect you for decades to come.

I am sure you will agree that, after your health and family, the thing that you could never afford to lose is your wealth!

So, finding a wealth advisor that will look after your best interests and help make your dreams for your future lifestyle a reality should be paramount in your mind right now.

Finding this most special person to trust with your fortune and your future may seem a bit elusive and concerning. You may be asking yourself, “How can I find this person and what type of questions should I be asking them?” My good friend Lee Davis, Managing Director of JL Davis Financial, an advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. graciously spoke with me about these and many other questions you may have. Lee has been successfully advising clients for over 41 years, and Lee leads a multi-generational team including his son and partner Jeremy L. Davis, CFP that provides financial planning and wealth management services for business owners. Some of Lee’s clients include the grandchildren of clients with whom he’s been working for decades.

Lee suggests, instead of just asking questions at first, starting by imagining your future – beginning with an end in mind. By helping you define your monetary and retirement goals and painting your retirement picture, a wealth advisor can work with you to make a solid plan to achieve your goals.

An early-stage plan might focus, for example, on stabilizing cash flow and identifying cash that might be available to for savings or investment. Even at an early stage, it is important for the advisor to help you assess your appetite for risk and to allocate and diversify your portfolio accordingly.

As an example, many business owners think that the best way to build value for their retirement is by amassing cash and keeping all their liquidity in their business. This isn’t usually the best strategy. A better plan may include making savings a part of your salary calculation, as well as part of the compensation for other employees, from the very start.

The typical owner’s mindset is wired to put off the reward and keep money in the business. Adequate liquidity in a business is important, but Lee cautions against keeping too much money in the business at the expense of personal savings and investments. This practice is unsustainable, leading only to hardship down the road from a variety of tax and legal issues that may impact you at retirement.

As your business grows and changes, so should the guidance you get from your wealth advisor. Each business stage is dynamic, according to Lee, and requires its own approach for maximizing and optimizing wealth. Say for example, you want to bolster talent retention by increasing benefits for the stellar employees you acquired with your excellent starting compensation package. Doing so requires the strategic allocation of assets to ensure they receive the financial rewards that keeps everyone happy over the long term…this includes you too.

Lee pointed out that having a trusted wealth advisor during the early phases of a business is vital. Having that trusted advisor when you sell or transition the business to family, employees, or third parties is equally crucial. A solid proven wealth advisor can help with special tax considerations that arise during these times, and can also help smoothly guide a change of hands. When a business passes from one family generation to another, the wealth advisor relationship that is attached to it pass along with it, lending familiarity and security to the transition and for the future of the operation.

I asked Lee if there are any specific characteristics to look for in a wealth advisor, and he delivered his top three:

  • Experience
  • A strong team
  • Compatibility

When choosing someone to manage your wealth, you want to be sure they have significant experience. No matter how experienced, though, this person should be surrounded by a competent, collaborative team of people who aim to best serve your needs. Finally, they should have a strong history of serving people like you. That way, the advisor is more likely to be compatible and anticipate your needs.

If you would like to meet Lee and speak with him directly about how financial planning and wealth management can serve your needs, contact me at 303-831-1411 so I can connect you.