Finding the right balance between your life plan and business plan

Just as every business needs a business plan, so too should every individual have a life plan. While it doesn’t need to be overly complicated or regimented, a life plan will help you understand where you want to be at retirement age and how you’re going to get there.

A business plan should fit into your life plan, not the other way around. As a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day goings on at work and to lose sight of the prize – a happy and healthy life. When we get the balance wrong, it can result in relationship breakdowns and adverse health issues - the very things that are the most important to us.

Like a business plan, a life plan usually has short, medium- and long-term goals, prioritised based on their importance. Behind these goals are action plans to ensure energy and effort is channelled in the right areas.

Business plans are not set in stone and the same is true for life plans. Business plans change as the economic environment changes, as we saw when COVID-19 quickly shifted the focus for many businesses in 2020. Issues such as accessing Government support packages, liaising with staff and customers, remote working infrastructure/IT challenges, short term cashflow forecasting and liaising with the bank all became a priority in a very short space of time.

Life plans also need to be able to respond to a changing environment. Every business owner or group of owners are at different stages of life, have their own personal circumstances and ambitions and have varying levels of financial security. They will also have differing views on when they want to retire and what lifestyle they may desire in retirement years. There’s no right or wrong. It’s a personal choice and your life plan should reflect that.

A life plan can include things such as “bucket list” activities but from a financial perspective, should consider Kiwisaver, property investments, Shares, Bonds, Term Deposits and potential inheritances. It should also take into account your desired lifestyle in retirement. Travel, holidays, continuing to work part-time, financially supporting children all come into the mix.

As a business owner, the proceeds from selling your business could be a major component of your retirement nest-egg. So, understanding how businesses are valued and sold is worth knowing well before putting up the “For Sale’ sign. It’s common for business owners to over-estimate the value of their business so an early reality check will allow time for plans to be put in place to cover any shortfall. For others, the current value may exceed expectations and therefore retirement decisions can be brought forward.

I encourage you to think about your own life plan and challenge yourself. What do you want your retirement years to look like? Are you on track or not? How do you know? What changes do you need to make now?

If you would like any assistance setting up or reviewing your life plan or business plan, please contact the Findex Business Advisory team.

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