I have a client in his mid-sixties suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In the beginning it was just the little things that began to fade. He used to complain about feeling slow, but discounted that feeling because he believed it just came with aging.
My client has run his own business for over thirty years and his business has been his family’s main source of income, accounting for about 80% of their total annual income. As his financial advisor, I recommended putting together a succession plan for his business should he become unable to run it himself. Thinking this scenario would and could never happen to him, he did not heed my advice, therefore no plan was in place should he be unable to fulfill the duties of running his business.
Now, his fading memory is becoming more and more obtrusive to the cohesion of running his business, and it is too late to create the best possible succession plan, which would of course provided the greatest retention of resources for his family’s survival and his care.
Lacking a succession plan, he had not identified a person to take over his business nor did he specify who he wanted to sell his business to should he be unable to run it any longer.
Suddenly he finds himself incapable of running his business and has no one to take it over for him. His spouse, with no knowledge of the inner-workings of her husband’s business, shoulders the responsibility of taking over the business that provides their family with the majority of their income.
As a financial advisor and CPA, I see far too many business clients in similar situations. The scary truth is that Alzheimer’s disease will end up affecting 50% percent of the population at some point or another – a staggering statistic. In the interest of protecting yourself and your family’s future, you would be wise to accept the possibility that this could happen to you. My advice is that you empower yourself by confronting that possibility, then take the next step in planning for such a future.
Treat your business like a business; have a succession plan in place, update it periodically and start training someone who would be capable of taking over your business should you no longer be able to run it yourself.
Remember, no one thinks this could happen to them, but it does, and I’ve seen it far too often. Plan now so you can live the way you want through retirement.