From the September 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

September 1, 2008

It's Business, Not Personal

The first step in getting a handle on an advisory firm's financials is to separate the owners' personal economics from business economics. You can't make sound, long-term business decisions when your strategies are continually undermined by your short-term personal needs. (This if often exacerbated by the also ironic fact that many financial advisors don't have a long-term personal financial plan.)

Certainly, your business strategy must be driven by your overall personal needs and goals. For instance, do you want a cash flow business that maximizes owner's income today? Or do you want to maximize the future equity of your firm, by reinvesting part of the profits in staffing, technology, and attracting new clients? Yet, once this decision is made, your personal finances should be based on its projected owner's income, and business decisions need to be made on the basis of how best to achieve the goals you have set for your business. Without this kind of separation, your firm will never achieve its full potential.

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