By Patrick A. Ungashick
Reviewed by Jon Ford, CFP®
Jon Ford, CFP®, is owner of CF Financial Planning Solutions Inc. in Mesa, Arizona. He writes a regular "Financial Fundamentals" column for the Cedar Falls Times in Iowa.
Read this book! Dance in the End Zone should be on the bookshelf of every financial planner. It's about how to stop doing business; and unfortunately many financial planners are considering getting out of the business as a result of the economic crisis. In addition to being a profession occupied by older practitioners, recent sampling discovered that asset managers expect it will take four to seven years to recover from the financial meltdown. Many have neither the time nor the patience in such an economic and political landscape and are looking for an escape route.
Even if leaving the profession is not a pressing consideration, it will be someday. My guess is that financial planners are no less guilty of failing to develop exit plans than other small business owners. With clarity, breadth, and action-orientation, the author jolts the reader from a constant preoccupation with keeping it going to thinking about the finish line.
Ten chapters take readers from a general discussion of the end zone and how an exit plan creates a better business today. Through a number of self-discovery assignments, Ungashick describes how developing the plan and considering how to move forward can help make life after exiting easier. The author helps us along with easy-to-understand tables and charts, revealing questions, examples, and key points reviewed at the end of each chapter.
He also establishes ground rules for getting the most out of the book as quickly as possible. Read the first few chapters, he encourages. Then decide which of four exit circumstances best fits you, and dive into the relevant chapter. All readers are then instructed to return to the remaining two chapters. This could be perceived as a bit controlling, but it's not-it works.
Along the way you'll learn how to help yourself and other small business owners understand the components of an exit plan, the importance of proper management prior to exiting, risk management, and recruiting your team. You'll visit the notion of calculating your "exit magic number" or the dollar amount you'll need from your business in order to reach financial independence. For those of us who can't imagine anyone considering purchasing our small business, Ungashick provides directions for making an orderly transition for employees and clients.
As difficult as it is to think about ending the work I love, this book sensitively lessened the pain of its reality. I'm pleased I could help my clients through the valley, and from what I gather, so are they. As I've said many times, "I will be doing this job as long as God gives me breath and a sound mind." But someday it will end, and Dance in the End Zone has helped me face that certainty better equipped for the change.
Camarillo Press (2008)