Reaching the sweet spot of financial/business life (and why it is important to know these details)

Lisbon, Portugal, where we will soon visit

A few weeks ago, I reached 65, and the official “retirement” age. The Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments (roughly similar to US Social Security) will start and continue for the rest of my life at the end of June. My health is good. And I’m still drawing a salary and working at a vocation I truly enjoy.

It’s the sweet spot of life/business and these golden years will last for about five years. At age 71, mandatory draw-downs from the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (equivalent to US IRAs) start, and the tax burden increases, especially if I wish to continue drawing employment income. But this I suppose is a small part of the first world problem, because many people don’t have enough savings, inadequate pensions and RRSP/IRA accounts, and continue working not because they enjoy their jobs, but because they need the money to survive.

In the meantime, there are funds for travel and adventure with my wife, and we’ll shortly head to Europe for a visit to Portugal and then a Baltic cruise. (As I purchased my first class train ticket between Lisbon and Porto, Portugal, I found a new advantage of senior life — the price of the already-reasonable train ticket declined 50 per cent with the railway’s senior’s discount.)

Not everything is perfect, and there are things we need to do to sort out some issues, namely a very large amount of not personally guaranteed business debt to one key trade creditor. This will require a challenging settlement process, but I believe I’ve prepared for the worst possible outcome, and it doesn’t change the fundamental story even if things don’t go perfectly.

However, there are other surprises, and the one that excites me the most is the new business we are creating, which will go into full operation within the year, and challenge me with intense business and production work. However, I’m fulfilling my original goal of achieving a business transition to key employees and contractors, who will be partners with me in the new enterprise. I’ll lead the charge, but won’t have to struggle with the grunt work.

I’m sharing these personal observations because they have relevance in how you handle your marketing and business development work for your own business. First, your personal circumstances shape your perspectives and attitudes and how you see the world. Secondly, if you don’t understand the state-of-mind of the individuals you are working with on the client/prospect side, you won’t have the whole picture.

And you need to look beyond the individual, obvious decision-maker. In one case, an individual was working as the executive director of an association and all seemed normal; the next day, the association’s board of directors decided to ask him to leave. He received a healthy financial settlement, so has no complaints, but if you were a supplier to the association or trying to build a relationship with it through him, you would be back to square one, if you didn’t see the bigger picture.

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