White Paper

Sustaining Your Practice and Reclaiming Your Life

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Executive Summary

As a financial advisor, you’ve been there to share your clients’ dreams and witness their milestones. For years, you’ve helped plot their paths. You helped transform their busy workweeks into a more forgiving work-life balance and advised them on how to leverage their assets in order to transition into the next phase of life, one where they have full rein. Your efforts have helped them segue smoothly into their next life stage.

What you’ve done for your clients you ought to be able to do for yourself. No matter what you envision for your next phase—whether total freedom from former duties (the classic American “retirement”), a new career or service to others—the question is: How can you leverage your own assets to support the next phase of your life? In particular, how can you best extract value from what’s arguably your most prized asset—your business—in order to make a successful transition?

This paper discusses three variations on funding your transition:
1. Plan for the sustainability of your business; that is, make a commitment to perpetuate your business and use it to realize your next life stage.
2. Exit the business after putting a strong succession plan in place.
3. Do nothing; that is, keep going and let the business fade away.

Not one of these is the “correct” life transition strategy. One of them, however, will probably work best for you.
Because most advisor-owners fail to plan ahead, however, their choices often end up more limited than they’d like. In fact, when owners leave their financial advisory practices, the vast majority simply let the businesses fade away. Does it make sense for them to put so much effort into building a business, over so many years, then not use it to manifest their next dream?

What are these owners missing? They may fail to realize that sustainability, not just succession, can be the optimal way to capture the value of what they’ve built. They may fail to see that even by itself executing a succession plan might be a good way to preserve and protect the firm’s client base—which, in turn, can help support the owner’s transition. Above all, they may postpone making plans of any sort until it’s too late for planning.

You have the opportunity to fund new milestones in your life by preserving and perpetuating the value of your practice. This paper presents the tools you need. It’s also designed to help you weigh alternatives, then consciously choose the best transition strategy for your new life.

To bring you these insights, First Clearing is co-publishing this white paper with LederMark Communications, a marketing strategy and communications services provider, and drawing upon the expertise of FP Transitions, a leading provider of equity management, valuation, and succession planning for the financial services industry.