Part Four: Look ahead – far ahead
There’s a scene in Nick Park’s wonderful animation, The Wrong Trousers, in which claymation beagle Gromit, seated atop a speeding model railway, has to rapidly lay out extra lengths of track ahead of himself, just to keep going.
If you run your own business, you may recognise that picture – it can be hard work and in the early days at least, it may feel like you can only look ahead to the very next concern, with no time to think about the longer-term future. The reality is, we need to – businesses survive because they have plans and there may even come a day when we find ourselves handing that plan over to another generation.
As we start a new decade, in this instalment of the 10 key things to do to make sure your business and personal finances stay up to scratch, we’re looking to the future.
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett
First up, we know it’s easy for someone to wag their finger and tell you to think of the future – but doing it is much harder, so this post is more a reminder than a remonstration. Running a business is a full-time, or rather, extra-time, affair so it’s understandable if your mind is in the here and now. Once you hit your stride and make a real success of your business, you may find yourself with more breathing space to consider what’s next. You can look forward to the financial rewards – a nice place to live, frequent breaks and the knowledge that you don’t really have to worry about money.
But even then, it doesn’t mean you no longer need to plan – and not just for your business affairs. If your life is the Tour de France, then your working life is an important stage, one in which you work hard and get ahead, but no more than that. Someday you’ll be doing something else.
Pensions can be something of a turn-off for business owners, particularly while they’re ploughing money into driving the business forward, but it’s a mistake to ignore them. They can help you save throughout your working life for the retirement you really want and they’ll make sure you’re not paying any more tax than you need to.
Now think even further ahead – if you’ve done really well, you may find yourself in the enviable position of having more money than you know what to do with. So what should you do with it, how will you be remembered, what’s the legacy you’ll leave behind? There’s no time like the present to think about making sure your loved ones can benefit from your wealth when you’re no longer around.
It might sound complicated, or far away, or something you’re not comfortable thinking about, but careful planning now means you can ensure your family is financially secure and your business interests are taken care of. Don’t wait until you’re forced into a position from which you need to make these kinds of decisions quickly. Thinking about them now means they’re dealt with and you have peace of mind.
Where Citywide can help
At Citywide, we know that the old cliché about not seeing the wood for the trees is absolutely true. We have many years of experience in seeing our clients’ pictures from an elevated position, so we’re well placed to help you think ahead. We’ll start by asking you exactly what it is that you want to get out of your business and your life –that’s a great way to remember what you’re in it for. Once we understand you, we’ll work with you to map out your next moves and your long-term plan for the months, years, perhaps even decades ahead, to help you live the life you want and secure the legacy your family deserves.
Want more tips?
If you’ve enjoyed reading this part of our guide to keeping your personal and business finances in shape, you can download our full guide, 10 actions successful business owners take to grow their personal wealth, today.
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