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Normally during a business or professional coaching session we discuss transitions centering around a business decision or outside force requiring the individual to make a hard decision.
Lately I’ve received numerous calls about individuals going through various personal transitions needing to discuss the financial aspects of their situation. Most decisions have financial implications either immediate or at some future date.
What should I do? It depends.
Key questions to ask yourself whether you’re going through a separation, forced or early retirement, long-term illness, job change or shift to the self-employment arena, ask yourself the following questions:
Will this change require me to change my spending habits?
Who specifically will be affected? Will they accept/cooperate with this change?
Will this event/circumstance cause me to have to re-tool to become more marketable or to
network within a different circle?
How will others, not directly involved, react? Will they have influence over those close to me? Will I have to build a new team?
Where do I stand in this situation (i.e. am I the only one with this rare illness, do I have a number of competitors for my desired job)?
Do I have a written plan of how I will address key changes?
Do I have enough money to handle these changes (i.e. will I have to borrow or cash out long-term investments)
Do I know my net worth and current cash flow needs (i.e. when is the last time I wrote out a personal spending plan)?
Of course this is not a complete list but does provide some of the questions you will need to address immediately, if you are to assess the financial implications of your actions.
A quick story from the past
Many years ago an associate, now deceased, lived like he would never leave this world. He had a residential construction business and significant real estate holdings, but did not maintain good records or clear title to deeds (i.e. he might have his ex-wife on a deed, one of his sons, the business name, etc). He also did not always pay his taxes on time, so it was not uncommon to have to negotiate a release of a lien on a property he might wish to sell.
Unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer and died within 8 months. Since he did not give power of attorney to his grown children and insisted on staying in control until the last few months of his life, it was very difficult to clear up the titles prior to his death and eventually a number of the properties had to be sold "fire sale" to handle loan pay-offs, estate taxes, etc.
To leave you on a positive note, it’s been over 10 years since his passing and the estate has been resolved and the family is doing well.
Don’t be like my associate. Take some action now to plan for the unknown.
Genevia Gee Fulbright is VP/Marketing Director for Fulbright & Fulbright, CPA, PA headquartered in North Carolina. Gee is also a Senior Small Business Advisor for the National Association of Black Accountants Inc. and also author of Make the Leap: Shift from Corporate Worker to Entrepreneur and Make the Leap: From Mom & Pop to Good Enough to Sell (Infinity Publishing). For more information visit makeleap.com; huemanbookstore.com; amazon.com or call (919)544-0398.