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The Advisor

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Risk Management: Protecting your life’s work

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

By Jeanne Stapleton, Financial Advisor, The Co-operators

Are you prepared . . .

  • if you are sick or injured and unable to work for weeks?

  • if you or your business partner should die suddenly?

  • if your key managers are injured, are diagnosed with cancer, or die suddenly?

How long would your business function without you, your business partner, or your key manager? Who would look after your employees, your customers, and your physical inventory and location? What plans do you have in place?

Unfortunately, as human beings, we are not invincible: we get sick, and accidents happen. When this scenario involves a small business owner, it can be devastating to the owner’s business, family, and livelihood. So what can you do?

If you are a solopreneur, you need to have the resources in place to replace your income and cover the cost of your business overhead, or for your family to find a replacement to run the business for you, sell the business, or hire someone to close the business.

If you are a sole proprietor with employees, then you need similar resources to the solopreneur, plus the resources to fill the gap created by the absence of a key manager.

If you are a partner, then you need to have the resources to hire a replacement temporarily or to be able to execute a buy-sell agreement (a legal agreement that allows the partner to buy the other partner’s share of the business) so that the business can move forward.

If you own a corporation, then you need to have a plan in place that considers your share ownership and responsibilities, along with a buy-sell agreement and resources to execute the agreement.

The key is preparing contingency plans, so if something of this magnitude happens, your advisors, partners, shareholders, employees, and family know what to do.

So where do you start?

  1. Plan ahead. Decide what the long-term plan is for your business. Are you building something to sell, for your children to take over, or to close when you retire?Document those plans and share them with your family and key advisors.

  2. Based on these wishes, make contingency plans. How will the business operate and produce income if you are not available, whether that is tomorrow or in ten or fifteen years?

— Are you replaceable? Who could they call in? How loyal are your clients if you are

not available?

— Do you sell? Is your business sellable? What is its value? Who would purchase it?

Would they have the resources on short notice to purchase it? Who would you hire

to manage the sale?

— Do you close? Who do you hire to close it up?

And the big question: where are the resources needed to put these plans into action? Do you sell assets, cash in investments, tap out your business’s cash or line of credit, or invest in insurance? The challenge with selling assets or cashing in investments is that you may be forced to sell at a loss. If you use your cash or line of credit, you may be limiting your business’s ability to function normally.

Using insurance is an investment in your business’s and your family’s future. The undisputable value of insurance is that if the worst happens, your business and your family will be looked after: that’s guaranteed. Investing in an insurance policy with a monthly or lump-sum benefit can take care of your business’s needs and protect your family, all for a low monthly cost.

Do you have your contingency plans in place? Don’t wait—we never know what tomorrow will bring! For assistance on putting a plan in place or to learn more about how insurance can reduce the risk to your business and family, reach out to me at


Jeanne Stapleton,

Financial Advisor, The Co-operators

Jeanne’s current mission in life is to bring financial wellness to every Newfoundland family. A personal finance professional for over seven years, she focuses on increasing her clients’ bottom line through better cash-flow management, investments, and efficient insurance programs. A native of Labrador City and a graduate of Carleton University (political science and law) and of Dalhousie University (MBA), Jeanne continues to add value to her clients by working toward her Certified Financial Planner® accreditation. When she is not helping her clients build a better financial future, she can be found playing with her two daughters or fulfilling her role as President of the NLOWE Board of Directors.

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