Don’t let sudden wealth from selling your business take you by surprise.
It’s a day many business owners have experienced – either with enthusiasm or anxiety – the day they sell their businesses. Depending on why or how you plan to sell yours, you may experience a meaningful increase in “liquid” assets under your direct control. Financial decisions may take on more weight. And once the event occurs, there almost always arises a seemingly simple question that is deceptively complex: What now?
How you answer this question will determine whether the wealth ultimately creates new obstacles or enables you to achieve other goals. The best advice: be well prepared and rely on a professional team you trust to help you respond pragmatically throughout the process. The following steps can help.
Before the Sale
- Assemble your financial team – get advice upfront from smart people you trust
- Do your homework – this includes valuation, deal structure and tax implications
- Address potential tax consequences and event timing
- Establish a cash flow budget
- Anticipate attention – sudden wealth sometimes affects people around you
During the Sale
- Avoid large expenditures based on impulse
- Work with your advisor to determine an appropriate liquid and secure structure in which to hold cash
- Update your wealth management and retirement income plan
After the Sale
- Implement and continuously monitor your plan
- Anticipate and manage risks of significant increases in wealth
- Reflect on and outline your financial legacy and how you would like to benefit others
Enjoy your New Beginning
Beyond the financial ramifications are emotional ones. Even though you’ve met and approved the buyer and settled all the major terms, the business you’ve nurtured for years will officially belong to someone else. You may alternate between elation and sadness, a sort of bittersweet feeling as you start a new chapter in your life. Communicate your feelings with those closest to you or those who’ve experienced a similar event so they may lend their support. But, don’t be afraid to enjoy all you’ve earned – think of it as the new beginning of a life made better by your own hard work and planning.
- Prepare for the emotional challenges of transitioning your business to a new owner.
- Consider a “waiting period” before making any large purchases with the sale proceeds.
- Talk to your advisor about how to best deploy this newfound wealth in conjunction with your overall financial plan.