Personal business isn’t an oxymoron

| May 19, 2023

Sure, you’ve heard of Walmart, Nike, and Apple. But small businesses actually account for about 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. There are around 33 million of them.

Many of those small businesses are owned and led by people working countless hours to make their enterprise successful. They’re putting their own money at risk to grow: Some 60% of businesses with five to 500 employees are using personal savings to fund growth. The number’s higher for businesses with four or fewer employees.

And according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they’re working harder than ever: “Six years ago, 30% of small businesses said they were working more hours than they were a year ago,” the Chamber says. “In 2022, half of small-business owners said they are working more hours now than they were a year ago.” A lack of available workers is a contributing factor.

All those hours take a toll somewhere in the owner’s life. On the financial advisor, we definitely notice it. Last week a colleague shared that he was having difficulty getting a client to focus on important personal finance matters.

“He’s so busy making sure his business gets orders out the door that he isn’t taking care of issues that will provide security for his family,” he said. “Ironically, the busier his company is, the more he puts his family at risk.”

The advisor the owner cares a great deal about his family but can’t be persuaded to take the time out to, for example, updating various estate planning documents after getting married and adding to his family. He has no succession plan in place for his business, and if someone offers to acquire his company, no plan for what to do with significant increase in personal wealth.

It’s a common problem. And when you consider that for many business owners, the value of the company composes a large part of the family’s wealth, it’s a serious problem.

Business owners have their circle of influence for company matters—CPA, attorney, banker, consultants, and so on. And then they have someone or a team advising them on their personal wealth. Ideally, the two sides should be working together because what affects the business side impact the personal side, and vice versa. That way there’s less of a chance that important planning issues will slip through the cracks.

When an important business transaction occurs, for example, a financial advisor can work with the business team to make sure the effect on the family is consistent with the owner’s aspirations. The owner is often too tied up in the many details of a major transaction, such as a merger or acquisition, to pay enough attention to how the deal will affect his family and its wealth.

But owners need to consider their business and the people they care the most about all part of the same family. If they don’t care of their family business, everything they’re doing for the people they love could go for naught.


Evan R. Guido is the Founder of Aksala Wealth Advisors LLC, a 2018 Forbes Next-Gen Advisors List Member, and Financial Professional at Avantax Investment ServicesSM. Evan heads a team of retirement transition strategists for clients who consider themselves the “Millionaire Next Door.” He can be reached at 941-500-5122 or   Read more of his insights at Securities offered through Avantax Investment ServicesSM, Member FINRA, SIPC.  Investment advisory services offered through Avantax Advisory ServicesSM, Insurance services offered through  an Avantax affiliated insurance agency.  6260 Lake Osprey Dr. Lakewood Ranch, FL 34240.  The views and opinions presented in this article are those of Evan R. Guido and not of Avantax Wealth Management® or its subsidiaries.  Past performance does not guarantee future results. The S&P 500 is an index of 500 major, large-cap U.S. corporations.