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Steven Tenney, Senior Vice President of Family Wealth Management Partners at UBS, and his team use wealth management and advanced planning to help business owners bridge the gap from their current reality to their intended legacy. With offices in Portland, Maine, Steve can be reached at (207) 791-5559 or steven.tenney@ubs.com.

Make sure your personal goals inform your professional decisions.

Selling or transferring your business is an involved process. It can be easy to get caught up in the complexity of each successive step to the extent that you lose sight of why you’re taking those steps in the first place. So instead of letting the process drive the execution of your plan, take a step back and clarify your goals and values before moving forward. Doing so can give you a much better shot at crafting a successful plan for the next phase of both your life and your company’s existence.

Define your priorities.

Start by getting a handle on your personal values and attitudes toward money, family, and the future. You can pinpoint those values by asking yourself the following questions:

What will you do when you’re no longer involved in the company?

In other words, how would you prefer to spend your days if work didn’t occupy the bulk of your schedule? Moving away from your business can be emotional, so it’s important to have something positive to move towards, whether that’s more travel, community involvement, time with grandchildren, or something else.

When you think about money, what concerns or needs come to mind?

Is it important that you maintain a certain lifestyle or level of financial security? Are you concerned about providing for yourself or your family over the long term?

What would you like to leave as a legacy?

You can choose to spend your last dimes on the nails in your coffin, or you may decide that seeing to the needs of children, grandchildren, or perhaps a favorite charity is more in line with your values.

Which relationships are most important to you?

Your spouse and kids might be the obvious answer to this question, but are there others in your life who are important to you? Do you want to help support those individuals after you are gone?

Fill the business gaps.

The answers to the above questions can help you form a clear idea of the future you’re working towards. Then you can review your existing business structure and uncover whatever planning gaps need to be filled. For instance, you may find you’re missing relevant legal documents such as a will, trust, or buy/sell agreement. If your answer to the question of leaving a legacy centered on supporting your grandchildren’s future, you might consider setting up college savings accounts in their names. Or you may find that your current support team of advisors and professionals isn’t providing the full range of expertise you need to meet your goals.

Reviewing your business structure in the context of your personal priorities can help you develop a better plan. Just as important, this exercise can provide the motivation to follow through on those next steps. When you know what course of action you are taking and why you are taking it, you are more likely to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way. You will find it’s much easier to move down your chosen path when you know that path is taking you in the right direction.

To see Steven’s original blog click here.

Steven Tenney is a Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services Inc. a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of UBS Financial Services Inc. UBS Financial Services Inc., its affiliates and its employees are not in the business of providing tax or legal advice. Clients should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax or legal advisor. As a firm providing wealth management services to clients, we offer both investment advisory and brokerage services that are separate and distinct differ in material ways and governed by different laws and separate contracts. For more information please visit our website at ubs.com/workingwithus.