When I ask advisors how long they’ve been in the business, it usually prompts a response about how long ago they started in the business. They even elaborate more on what business was like in the early years of getting clients and how much has changed in the industry.
A common theme is that advisors who started 20+ years ago, have built strong client relationships who are also friends, having attended weddings, vacations, planned for children, grandchildren all along keeping retirement on track, but clients are now beginning to ask the advisor, what are you thinking about doing for retirement?
What would become of your practice, clients or family if you were unable to run your business?
Sometimes advisors have a continuity or succession plan but most times have not, particularly with practices under 100 mil assets under management. So what will prompt advisors towards proactive steps so there is a plan this year? Here are a few things to consider:
First: It’s about the clients; it’s not about how you’re looking at you working longer. Help the clients by starting to take steps and seeking out a few options for how you may want to bring in a successor
Second: Start talking to people who have done it already. Speaking with a colleague or associate who you know will give you some feedback. The more you talk about it, the closer to taking the next planning step.
Third: Ask yourself, if your own doctor, dentist or tax professional who you’ve trusted for decades suddenly disappeared, how would that feel? Or maybe it’s already happened to you – most likely an unsettling experience. An unexpected sudden change isn’t the best feeling about the relationship, especially going forward.
Taking early steps to proactively find a continuity partner or secure a successor will begin to ease the uncertainty for both you and your clients.