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Tag Archives: Certified Financial Planner

Are You Prepared to Leave the Business You Built?

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More and more small business owners are selling their companies, with sales hitting a four-year high earlier this year in the United States, and Canada predicting its largest small business turnover ever in the next five years.

“Many of our CEOs are baby boomers approaching retirement age,” says Kathleen Richardson-Mauro, co-author with Jane M. Johnson of a practical new guide, “Cashing Out of Your Business,” (www.richardsonmauroandjohnson.com).

“We’re about to see a tsunami of ownership transitions and Kathleen and I worry that too many of these small business owners are not taking steps early enough to plan for it,” adds Johnson.

Richardson-Mauro, a Certified Financial Planner, and Johnson, a Certified Public Accountant, specialize in helping business owners successfully transition out of companies and achieve their goals. They recently launched an educational website, Business Transition Academy, to help owners plan their exits on their own.

“Most CEOs don’t realize they need to start planning years before they might, potentially, be ready to sell or hand off their business,” Johnson says. “And while a lot of that planning is to ensure they’ll have the money to meet their lifestyle goals, there are other equally important considerations.”

Small business owners tend to pour their lives into their companies and it doesn’t take long before their identity is entirely defined by their job, the women say. In order to achieve a successful after-life, they need to start laying the groundwork early for their emotional separation.

Johnson and Richardson-Mauro suggest these steps for small business owners of any age to begin preparing mentally for their non-CEO future:

• Start now. You never know when you might receive an unsolicited purchase offer or what life events might rock your world. Most owners do not start thinking about transitioning out until some event gives them a jolt: a significant birthday; children graduating from college or starting their own families; illness or injury.

“Planning improves your chances for a successful outcome and gives you more control over the process,” Richardson-Mauro says. “We sometimes don’t realize just how much our lives revolve around our business – or we do realize it and don’t want to think about it because the future looks scary.”

With planning, you can ensure you still have a social life, a sense of accomplishment, challenges, and the other intangibles that make us satisfied and gratified.

• Identify what you want to get from your ownership transition. You’ll have both financial and non-financial goals and objectives. Financial may include receiving enough money to live on for the rest of your life and creating a foundation to further a cause important to you. Non-financial may include regaining balance in your life and following a passion you gave up when you started your business.

Consider goals in every area of life, the authors say, from health, to family, to social connections.

“This is about remembering your true passions, determining what’s most important to you, and deciding what you want to do when you can spend less or no time with your business,” Johnson says.

“This will re-energize you and provide you with direction as you figure out the best way to transition the ownership of your business. It will also enable you to minimize any chance for regrets.”

• Identify your fears, concerns and other barriers that prevent you from planning. Many owners fear what will come next and worry about losing their life’s purpose. Most wonder if they will have enough money to live the lifestyles they desire, and they’re concerned about their employees’ futures, Johnson says.

“Take proactive action to address these concerns by having a family meeting; discussing the future with your spouse; and identifying your actual financial needs. That will allow you to find solutions and work through them,” says Richardson-Mauro.

The two women say they’ve met many business owners who one day just decided they were tired of the headaches and ready to relax. They sold their business or otherwise transitioned out, only to discover they were bored, lonely and unhappy.

“After all of your years of work and sacrifice, you deserve a happy life after business,” says Johnson.

“It’s completely doable,” adds Richardson-Mauro, “with planning.

About Kathleen Richardson-Mauro & Jane Johnson

Kathleen Richardson-Mauro, CFP, CBEC, CM&AA, CBI, has owned and operated five small companies and has successfully assisted more than 150 business owners in achieving their transition goals.

Jane Johnson, CPA, CBEC, CM&AA, started her career in public accounting and finance at General Electric, then established her own practice. Fourteen years later, she negotiated the sale of her firm, retaining all of her clients and team members. In 2010, Jane received the Excellence in Exit Planning Achievement Award from Pinnacle Equity Solutions.

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4 Things Parents Should Know Before Paying for College

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Financial Specialist Shares Ways to Help Your Child
 While Protecting Your Retirement

From $20,000 to $65,000 a year – that’s the tuition cost for one year of college, says John McDonough, a money expert who helps retirees and parents plan for their families’ futures.

“For the 2012–2013 academic year, the average cost for an in-state public college is $22,261. A moderate budget for a private college averaged $43,289,” says McDonough, CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions, www.studemontgroup.com. “But for elite schools, we’re talking about three times the cost of your local state school. Either way, your kid’s higher education can easily shoot into six figures after four years.”

Along with worrying about rising tuition prices, parents also fear for their own futures if their retirement savings are drained by children’s college costs, McDonough says. Only 14 percent, for example, are very confident they’ll have the money to live comfortably in retirement, he says, citing a 2012 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

“Families feel they’re faced with conflicting goals, but there are numerous ways to pay for college while investing in your future retirement,” says McDonough, who offers insights for parents to keep in mind while planning for their child’s education:

• The ROI of a college education: At a time when so many American families are financially strapped, college is an especially stressful topic because parents know higher learning will help their kids succeed. College graduates earn 84 percent than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Here is how earning breaks down over one’s life time, based on education: a doctoral degree-holder will earn $3.3 million over a lifetime; $2.3 million is estimated for a college graduate; those with only a high school diploma can expect $1.3 million.

• Move retirement assets to qualify for grants: Most parents know about the 529 savings account, but that’s not necessarily the best or only option. Reallocating your retirement assets, such as 401(k)s, can better position a child to qualify for grants and scholarships. This legal and ethical maneuvering may be the single most important factor when considering how to pay for college.

• Know your student’s strengths and weaknesses: Consider independent and objective analysis of your future college student. Assessment might include a personality profile and a detailed search for a future career. Also think about a more nuts-and-bolts approach, including scholarship eligibility, SAT and ACT prep courses, review of admissions essays and an in-depth analysis of chances for enrollment in a student’s top four choices of colleges.

• Make a checklist of financial aid forms: In order to maximize a fair price of higher education, remember there is plenty of data to review. McDonough recommends a checklist with a timeline and notable deadlines. Be ready to troubleshoot the “alphabet soup” of data forms: FAFSA – Free Application For Federal Student Aid; CSS profileCollege Scholarship Service; SAR – Student Aid Report; and more. Think about this process as a second job, or find professional help you can trust.

About John McDonough

John McDonough is the managing member at Studemont Group, which is primarily focused on helping retirees gain peace of mind with unique market rescue and recovery programs. He is also founder, president and CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions. His experience in the financial services industry includes managing partner at Granite Harbor Advisors in Houston and divisional vice president of AXA Equitable/AXA Advisors, the third largest insurance company in the world. McDonough is a member of the prestigious Forum 400, a qualifier at the Court of the Table qualifier for Million Dollar Round Table, an active member in National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and Society of Financial Service Professionals, as well as American Association of Life Underwriters. He has completed the course work to sit for the Certified Financial Planner® professional designation exam from Rice University.

 

 

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