What Do You Value? What Is Your Legacy?

Early in my career, as a commercial banker, I had the opportunity to work with and advise a variety of companies and management teams. My new role at Baldwin & Clarke gives me similar opportunity and thus I’m excited to have joined the B&C team. As a recovering CEO, it wasn’t long ago that the daily demands of my job precluded much in the way of forward thinking. But forward thinking is necessary for sustained success, and too few of us set aside sufficient time for this critically important task.

All of us involved in business have had to speak to the value that our business can provide a potential customer. Even if not explicitly asked, the question of “What can you and your business do for me?” is implicit in discussions that we all have with business prospects. As business people, we often think about how we best provide value to our customers, but we spend little time asking ourselves what it is that we – as individual women and men – value. Most business owners are quick to indicate that they hope their business will continue to help provide for their families; and they hope their business will, one way or another, continue to thrive beyond their involvement. But between today’s customer or employee issue, this quarter’s business targets, or perhaps next year’s budget, there is little time to dedicate to some fundamentally important questions: “What do I personally value?” and “How are these things best preserved, shared and passed along to others?” To put these two questions together in their simplest form, “What is it that I want my legacy to be?”

There are as many answers to this question as there are people. And our respective answers are likely to be better defined with the knowledge and experience that comes over time, with the wisdom that we all hope comes with age! We don’t wake up one morning with “the answer.” It takes time and thought, and our answers are likely to come by way of an iterative discovery and planning process. This planning process will no doubt involve others: your business partners, your family, your key employees… perhaps your lawyer, accountant, banker and other business professionals. This process will in fact differ, depending upon individual circumstances, but through this process the following questions need to be answered:

  • How do you best provide for your family and heirs?
  • How might you provide ongoing opportunity for your employees and business associates?
  • What might you continue to do for your community?

Answers to these questions will certainly depend upon the individual, but the process begins with a more complete understanding of one’s options, and an assessment as to the difference one might make with alternative legacy strategies. In short, this work takes time. It’s work we best start to do sooner rather than later. Knowledge, experience and age are, for each of us, finite. Fortunately, there are those to whom we can turn for assistance as we contemplate all this. Baldwin & Clarke has been assisting families and entrepreneurs with the creation, realization and thoughtful transfer of wealth for over 40 years. I look forward to working with the B&C team, and assisting Baldwin & Clarke clients with these fundamentally important questions and a better definition of their respective legacies.

This article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice. Consultation with the appropriate professionals is recommended. Every transaction is unique and warrants individualized evaluation.

 

Todd F. Bachelder
Director of Corporate Development
The Baldwin & Clarke Companies
Email: toddbachelder@baldwinclarke.com

About the author:
Todd joined the Baldwin & Clarke Companies in July 2017 as Director of Corporate Development. Todd has 20 years of commercial banking experience and 15 years of C level experience with middle market companies, serving in the capacities of Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer.