Plan to Prosper: Financial Planning for All Business Life Cycles

Kelly Anderson, Financial Representative, Northwestern Mutual

Business and personal financial planning are tied together whether you are just opening your doors or passing the torch to the next generation. Where do you begin? Is something missing or exposed? What is the next step? These are best answered with an advisory team including an accountant, business attorney, banker, and financial advisor. Whether at startup, growth, maturity, or transfer of your business, planning for your personal needs, risk management of the business, employee benefits, and business succession are all vital. You may feel confident or that you skipped steps along the way. Regardless, consult with your advisory team and review your plans annually. Here are some strategies to consider during each phase.


 Business Risk Management – Protect against liability and loss of property.

  • Secure commercial liability coverage.
  • Provide workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Obtain property coverage for business assets.

 Personal Planning – Financially protect owners and their families against sickness, injury, or death.

  • Audit personal assets, life insurance, and long term disability plans to insure sufficient income.
  • Evaluate options for major medical coverage for self and family.
  • Create your retirement savings plans along with business growth savings plans.

 Business Entity & Succession – Taxes, legal & financial liabilities, and ownership transfer vary with formation types.

  • Select which business formation is best with your attorney and CPA.
  • Update your will and legal documents to include your business entity.

Employee Benefits – Distinguish your business to quality professionals and foster loyalty.

  • Group benefits may attract and retain employees.


  • Continue annual review of risk management and wealth accumulation for business and personal needs.
  • Disability overhead expense coverage provides monthly income for covered business expenses if an owner experiences a health slowdown.
  • Key person disability and life insurance plans allow capital while operations may be challenged from absence of a key employee.
  • Consider a qualified retirement plan for all employees.
  • Enhance executive benefit offerings for attracting and retaining select talent.
  • Begin addressing succession plans by setting your objectives, calculating your business value, choosing the next owner, and funding your buy-sell agreement for retirement, disability, and death with help from your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor.
  • Share your plans with select employees and your bank to foster retention and access to loans and lines of credit.


  • Review and adjust as needed to ensure financial security for your family and business continuity.
  • Inform any creditors of continuity plan changes.
  • Update employee benefit programs to remain competitive in attracting and retaining employees at all skill levels.
  • Update your strategy and funding for orderly transfer of your business.
  • Estate taxes can be your largest liability, so determine your liquidity needs and enhance your strategy to preserve your estate’s value and efficiently transfer wealth to your heirs.


  • Leave a legacy by allowing your business to continue to selected owners.
  • Share business risk management and employee benefit plans so the new owner can adapt the plans to meet business needs.
  • Execute your exit strategy and enjoy the rewards of your hard work while ensuring your estate and retirement income plans continue to provide for you and your heirs.
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