Wealth Transition Planning with Brannon Fisher

Episode Description:

In this episode, host Elizabeth Ledoux is joined by Brannon Fisher, Principal at Simon Quick Advisors, a multi-family office wealth management firm. Responsible for new business development at Simon Quick, Brannon provides wealth management and investment consulting services to clients. Tap or click the play button below to listen to: Wealth Transition Planning with Brannon Fisher.

In this episode, Brannon shares his unconventional journey from being a high school English teacher to becoming a certified financial planner, and how he helps families navigate the complexities of wealth management and business transition.

Elizabeth and Brannon also discuss the significance of setting clear financial goals and strategies, navigating family dynamics and legacy wealth, and the emotional challenges faced by business owners post-sale.

Visit the Simon Quick Advisors website: https://simonquickadvisors.com/ 
Brannon Fisher on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brannon-fisher-cfp%C2%AE-b45a2b2/ 

Connect with Elizabeth Ledoux and the Transition Strategists:
Website: https://transitionstrategists.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetransitionstrategists 
Elizabeth on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethledoux/ 
Transition Strategists on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/transitionstrategists/ 

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Get Elizabeth Ledoux and Laura Chiesman latest book, “It’s A Journey: The MUST-HAVE Roadmap to Successful Succession Planning”: https://amzn.to/3oq2LQv 

This episode was produced by Story On Media & Marketing: https://www.successwithstories.com

Wealth Transition Planning with Brannon Fisher Transcript

Brannon Fisher: I’ll offer one truism, there’s a difference between wealth creation and the sustaining of the wealth or the wealth preservation. And that is that, you know, families typically get rich through concentration by having a business where they have poured their their sweat and energy and expertise into, and they’ve they’ve created wealth that way. But you stay rich through diversification. So once you have had that liquidity event, and you’ve created the wealth, it’s important, I think, to take some of the chips off the table, and to create a diversified portfolio of investments that will sustain future generations of the family.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Welcome to the business transition roadmap. My name is Elizabeth Ledoux. And through my years, I have seen how communities thrive. When business succession and transition are done. Well, me and my team at the transition strategists have been helping business owners develop and implement transition strategies for over 30 years. And on this show, we want to help you by giving you the roadmap to a healthy business transition. Let’s get started. Hi, everyone, and welcome back to our business transition roadmap Podcast. Today, I am so grateful to have Brandon Fisher with us. He is a director, client advisor and principal at Simon quick, and is basically one of the people who founded the Denver office here for Simon quick and also leads that office up. So, just an amazing advisor. So welcome, Brandon, and thank you for being here today.

Brannon Fisher: Thank you for having me, Elizabeth, it’s great to see you. Thanks.

Elizabeth Ledoux: So I’d like to start out Brandon, if you could just tell our audience a little bit about you. And also kind of the journey of how you came to be an advisor, you’ve got a very interesting history.

Brannon Fisher: Well, thank you. It’s kind of unconventional in terms of the work that I currently do. But I’m on my third career, I was a high school English teacher first, I was a college administrator second, and I made the transition into wealth management in 2017. And that move was prompted in part by an interest in working with my family and providing a potential succession plan for my dad and have a plan to preserve some of the legacy wealth in our own family. And long story short, what made sense was for me to align my career with the need that my family had for stewardship. So that’s when I joined Simon quick, became a client advisor became a certified financial planner, and work with families that have legacy wealth, either through the sale of a business, or through some kind of multi generational legacy.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Nice. Yeah, that is unconventional and, and also a great thing that you saw the opportunity, a need in your family and the opportunity for you to fill that. And it also fit in your vision of yourself and your dream.

Brannon Fisher: Yeah, it’s been great. I feel, you know, there was sort of a calling, which I think a lot of your, your listeners and your clients feel to serve their family and to work with their parents. And, you know, that’s been one of the most rewarding parts for me is adding that new dynamic to the relationship that I had with my dad and some of his siblings. So it’s been been a great fit for me. And you know, the title of your most recent book, it’s a journey. It’s true. For us. It has been has been a journey, but it’s been a good one.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it looks, yeah, it looks fun in the future to expand things. Yeah. So anyway, I thought that we would spend a good part of our time, you’re just talking a little bit about what you see with families. It’s always, I think, helpful for the listeners and for our audience, to have insight into things that work in a transition journey. Things that really, some people try and they just don’t. And so why don’t we start with that? What have you seen or what do you see families doing? Where the business actually is transitioning and how it’s doing it and what’s working there?

Brannon Fisher: Sure. So I think I should I should provide some clarity for your listeners, just so they understand that, you know, what we do is we work with financial assets. So families that own businesses, and they’ve created legacy wealth that they would like to sustain across generations come to us for investment consulting, and financial planning, and family office services. So we’re not dealing with the operating business itself. And we’re not dealing with, you know, management or leadership issues within the business, as it transitions from one generation to the next. What we’re dealing with, this is a little different slant on your on your podcast, I think, is the wealth itself, the financial assets, and oftentimes, that is created by a living generation. And I think that comes with one set of considerations. In other cases, you know, the second generation or third or even beyond that will come to us for advice, and engage us as a as their client or as their advisor. And that comes with a different set of considerations. But I think one offer one truism, in answer to your question. There’s a difference between wealth creation and the sustaining of the wealth or the wealth preservation, and that is that, you know, families typically get rich through concentration by having a business where they have poured their their sweat and energy and expertise into and they’ve they’ve created wealth that way, but you stay rich, through diversification. So once you have had that liquidity event, and you’ve created the wealth, it’s important, I think, to take some of the chips off the table, and to create a diversified portfolio of investments that will sustain future generations of the family.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah. And that’s a great point. And sometimes I think of it, it’s an interesting point, because there are, so a family office basically runs the family, but also manages the assets, typically, yes, for those listeners. And so, when we work, sometimes we work with the family offices, sometimes we work with a functioning, you know, revenue producing business. But in either case, I just see a family office many times as a business, because it still has potentially employees, still has taxes, still has, you know, some of the basic things, it’s just that the, the revenue stream is from a different source, right. And hopefully, in the family office, it’s from a diversified source, where in a functioning business and operating company, it’s from one source, which is very focused. And sometimes, again, for our listeners, sometimes you’ll have a family office that has functioning businesses as some of their assets, so they’ll have one or more functioning, operating companies, along with some of the assets. Right. So yeah, it’s just an interesting thing to start to think about and wrap your head around. What does that look like, and for you, you’re managing the assets at the family office level with us,

Brannon Fisher: right. And, you know, in some cases, families will choose to have what’s called a single family office where they hire employees to run their assets, or, you know, manage the business and that kind of thing. Other times families will outsource that to what’s called a multi family office. And that’s what Simon quick is. So, you know, we we tried to do is provide our clients with the freedom to focus on what matters to them and what they’re good at, by outsourcing to us all of the other sort of financial considerations that might otherwise be a burden or a distraction. And we can be the quarterback for their financial life and work with their other advisors, whether it’s investment bankers, or attorneys or tax advisers, insurance brokers, people like that, to make sure that, you know, they’re they’re meeting the needs of their family. So you know that you’re right, it’s a business, whether they keep it in house or they farm it out to a firm like ours.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah. And so yeah, brings up an interesting thought that you just triggered on my side. So let’s say a business owner is considering transition. And you know, that I’d like transition to be a journey. Instead of just like, Oh, I’m selling up, I’m sold. Now what? I like the strategy side of it, and part of the strategy side is if you’re going to sell your business Um, and have that liquidity event, what happens? And where’s that money going? And how do they find advisors who actually can help them? And I think that that’s one of the things that you could say is maybe missing. What, in my opinion, when business owners get ready to do this, they’re focused on, they haven’t really made it to journey sometimes. And they’re focused on that exit event, and just trying to get to that event, and nothing wrong with that. Not though thinking about what’s next for them and how they want to live their life, but then also what, what’s next for that money? And how do they preserve it, it’s pretty frightening, right? To sell your number one revenue generation source that you live on every day.

Brannon Fisher: That’s true. And I’ll make some comments about that. But I let me reframe the question a little bit, you know, what are the considerations for an entrepreneur who is either thinking of selling the business or has already done that, and, you know, I think those are unique, compared to a multi generational family where the business was already sold one or more generations ago. So in the first case, if you have a wealth creator, and they are thinking about selling the business, the earlier that we can engage them, the better preferably before the sale, we want to make sure that they have the right advisor team in place, we want to make sure that we have collaborated with their legal representation, their tax advisory, their investment bankers, that kind of thing. And that we have helped them set up the right entity structure to receive the proceeds from selling their business. You know, do they have the right trusts life insurance, a tax deferred accounts 529 accounts for education planning, donor advised funds or foundations for philanthropy, those kinds of things, you know, if they kind of get the framework in place before they actually have the wealth, that can be super helpful, and I think reduces the stress surrounding the the sale of the business. The third thing I would say is that they need a goals based financial plan. It should consider everything from risk tolerance to return expectations to income needs, and liquidity needs and things like that. Otherwise, they’re just sort of casting into the wind and, you know, maybe making investments here or there, but without any kind of strategy. And so it’s important to first have the investment policy in place before they start to try to build a portfolio. And then the last thing, and this is super important, particularly in the context of this conversation, is, do you feel confident that your family is going to adjust to this new circumstance that they can navigate this adjustment to having legacy wealth, and that’s where consultants and coaches like you come into play. So educating, especially the clients, the primary clients, children, about what’s in store and assuring that there’s an alignment of values within the family, so that everybody’s kind of on the same page about what they’re going to do when they have this new level of wealth and, and how is that going to impact their family? And how can we make sure that it isn’t destructive, but that it’s constructive? In creating a family with legacy?

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, that’s great. And, yeah, a couple of things. There is, I think many, many times business owners are so again, focused on what they’re doing that the idea of a donor advised fund a daft DAF or a foundation or you know, how to how to have some tax shelters, those kinds of things. They really are unfamiliar with them. And the other thing is, it’s, I, the people that I’ve worked with, that have sold and haven’t done that work, come in and they’re, they’re anxious, they’re sometimes sad, depressed, they just is there, in a way sometimes terrified of losing that nest egg and don’t know what to do. Because they, they were really good at doing this. But when they think about all the different things and the opportunities to invest, what they want to do is go back to the same thing, but they’ve got to compete or something. But they don’t want to work for anybody anymore.

Brannon Fisher: Yeah, there’s a, there’s a lot of data to support the idea that you need a retirement plan. And I don’t mean like, you know, money in a bank account, I’m talking about, how are you going to spend your time? And how are you going to find meaning in your life? And how are you going to continue to make other people better and lift people up around you and that kind of thing. So the focus of how the how you spend your time might change. But, you know, you definitely need a plan going into it. And that’s actually a part of the work we do that I enjoy the most sort of the softer side of wealth management, around relationship dynamics within a client family, or, you know, helping people strategize about what they’re, they’re going to do through service or through giving, you know, and really sort of relishing the appreciation for all their hard work through building a business and then selling it.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, yeah. That’s great. So okay, so we’ve talked a little bit about what worked well, but about what hasn’t worked, right. When you look, what’s the biggest thing that people deal with, as far as what’s confusing as they navigate into this strategy or structure of transition? And then ultimately having that if you want to call it a retirement plan, I call it sometimes the next adventure plan, too. Because I don’t know, I don’t know, many entrepreneurs who sit down on the couch and actually retire, I haven’t found those yet.

Brannon Fisher: Right? Well, I think unless you’ve been to law school, or unless you have gone through the training to become a CPA or something like that, you know, you probably don’t have the arcane knowledge to really understand tax law, or, you know, some of the things that become relevant if you have wealth. So, I think people get confused about some of those things, you know, like, Hey, what’s this about a transfer tax? I’ve never had to pay that before. I’ve never encountered gift taxes or estate taxes, or, you know, I never had to think about trust structure or trust situs or any of these issues. So you know, how do I think about those things? Who do I need to engage to help me through that? So that’s really getting back to where we started the importance of surrounding yourself with good advisors. And I think that takes the stress out of it for for most people. Now, having said that, sometimes if people come of age, in a family with wealth, if they’ve been educated, and they are genuinely and authentically excited about working within the family structure, they may pursue the right education and you know, from an early stage in their adult lives, become well acquainted with investments, become well acquainted with tax law, become well acquainted with, you know, legal structures, LLCs versus family limited partnerships, and things like that, which make most people’s head spin. But yeah, I think I think that that’s really where a lot of the roadblock is, is just trying to navigate this, this world of, you know, confusing words and terms and arcane tax law and stuff like that.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, and you’re, you’re a perfect example of, you know, from your story, when you first when we first got into the podcast, just that, I think it’s, I liked the idea of the journey. And I like the idea of the person transitioning inviting in the successor properly. So the successors actually know what might be helpful in order to write take on the role. So then, I have, she’s a great friend of mine. And she also, I’ve been working with her for years. Her family had quite a bit of wealth. She had no idea that they had it, like it was zero idea, but there were multiple businesses going on. So instead, so they had this kind of family office concept, had some investments, but most of the investments were active businesses. And I know quite a few entrepreneurs that start one, then I like, oh, that’s working. Let me start another one. Oh, that one’s good. So let’s start another one. So they ended up with this, you know, grouping of businesses and yeah, she just was like, you know, if I would have known what might have been expected of me instead of going and getting my history degree, I probably would have chosen now chosen something else, but I just didn’t understand So think that knowledge helps successors, people being invited into the business, or the family office to step up and do what’s required. Because so many times, the people who are transitioning those owner founders look back and they go, Oh, well, my kid wouldn’t be able to do that. It’s not that they wouldn’t be able to. It’s just that they haven’t had the training. And then

Brannon Fisher: I think it’s important to acknowledge that every family is different. So there is no recipe for you know, when the child turns 16, they should be told this. And when they turned 21, they should be told that. I think it’s it’s really dependent on the family dynamic. But that is, you know, going back to your earlier question about where, where’s the confusion? Where are the roadblocks? I think that a lot of it has to do with clarifying a common understanding within the family about everybody’s role, you know, is there a need for a prenuptial agreement, a post nuptial agreement? Is there a need to talk about who in a blended family is considered in or out? What is the role of philanthropy and service in the family? And is there an expectation there in order to participate in the in the family business, so to speak?

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, absolutely. And I, you and I, as we were getting ready for this, we were just talking a minute ago about the idea of people living longer. And, you know, next gens also living longer. So we were, I was just giving the example of, you know, father who’s, I don’t know, 100. Now, maybe, because I’m honored medicine, so incredible. 100. And then the kids might be 25 years younger, which would put them at 75. And, yeah, if I liked the idea of the journey concept, because if you wait until that time, to sell if you sell later, or if you transition later, some of the assets, or even some of the responsibility and authority, you don’t actually have to, you can transfer responsibility and authority, assets can come along with it, or it can come later or even earlier, sometimes because of what you know, whatever the family wants. But the ability to do that, if you do that sooner, it allows you to have fun with your family. Yeah,

Brannon Fisher: yeah, I think you just made a really important point there at the end, which I’ll expand on. And that is that, you know, working together, whether it’s, you know, in a family office or a family business, I think is a great opportunity. And it has the ability to strengthen relationships with family members, of course, there’s some risk. Obviously, there are people out there that advocate, you always separate business and family, and you should hire outside advisors only, and that kind of thing. But I can tell you that I think that if it’s done with intention, and it’s done carefully, and it’s done with a mission of some kind of North Star, and some core values that sort of underpin the work that people do together, I think that it can be additive, and enhance relationships within a family.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah. And I’ve even seen it take relationships like brother, sister, sibling relationships, that are not as stable as people might like them to be. And by taking the brother sister relationship, we’ll take that example. And then creating a structured business relationship because they’re, they have assets, and it’s better for them to invest those assets together. You know, if it’s a business or a building, or whatever it might be, but it’s better. It’s it’s a functioning thing that I’ve even seen that the there can be some repair over on the family side, but they’re also with the right structure in that right, the values and all of that intentionality. You can have a working relationship that you didn’t think was possible.

Brannon Fisher: Well, I’ll offer another truism. I told you, I mentioned earlier that you know, concentration makes you rich, and diversification keeps you rich. Another truism is that you need to identify a wealth creator within each generation of a family that has legacy wealth. There’s usually some entrepreneur, the first generation that creates wealth and then sometimes their intention is to set up future generations of their family so that everybody will be good, but What’s true about family trees is that each generation is is typically larger than the one that preceded it. And therefore, if you’re not generating more wealth that each generation, everybody’s going to have a smaller piece of that original pie. And so this speaks to the importance of education, within a family, to the rising generation, you know, if you truly want to build a dynasty, something that lasts beyond two or three generations, you do have to provide education to the rising Gen, you do have to identify talent and foster that within the family. And that’s not to say that that next gen has to work in the same business as their forefathers, it’s not to say that they have to do the same thing. They can choose an entirely different line of work, but it has to be under the guise of furthering the family legacy and building on on what came before. So yeah, that’s I think something that people don’t recognize is that with taxes with poor investments, sometimes, you know, there’s a chipping away at wealth that was created by previous generations, and it won’t last if you don’t keep building it.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Sure. Well, and it’s true. That’s a great point that, let’s say you have your business and you’re gonna have this liquidity event, and then all of a sudden, you know, is your personal wealth. And so it’s your personal wealth? Well, that, in itself is also another, it’s just assets that are being managed in a different structure, different status than the business that you have over here. And so in a way, and a lifetime, let’s say you were a business owner of one business transacted, it came into your personal side, and you’re going to transition that again, someday. So in a way, just thinking about what does that next transition look like? And don’t forget about that one, too, because you do this one right, set of the feeling properly, and then you’ve got just an amazing life ahead of you.

Brannon Fisher: Yeah, I think, you know, in the family office world, some of the best practices, or some of the families that really have done it, right, seem to what they have in common across generations, is an entrepreneurial spirit, right? It’s not necessarily wanting to follow exactly what was done by their, their parents or those ahead of them. It’s more about like, how do I get innovative? And how do I become ambitious and create something build something that, you know, my successors and future generations can benefit from? So an example I’ve I know, of a family in California, that going back for generations created wealth through real estate development. And there’s currently a rising Gen family member who’s become very successful with venture capital. So he looked at what his family had created, and said, Well, that’s great, you know, there are certain characteristics to real estate as an asset class, let’s create a barbell, where we’re also, you know, we create this very successful portfolio of, of growth businesses. And so you’ve got venture capital and real estate serving as a really interesting complementary portfolio.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, yeah. And it takes a lot of communication and a lot of trust and a lot of other things to make a leap like that. As a family. There’s also there’s just, again, so much fun and connectedness that happens with that. So um, yeah, so our time has gone so fast. Ready here, just looked at the clock. Oh, my goodness. But yeah, so Brandon. Yeah, in your experience, you just have so much, you just have so much insight into some of this. What would be a thing that you would like to leave with our audience? That would be something that you’d like for them to remember or consider as they start to think about their transition?

Brannon Fisher: Sure, well, I think estate planning, this is sort of like in light of everything we’ve just talked about over the last 40 minutes. But estate planning is is super important and often neglected. So for those who are thinking of selling a business or who are creating significant wealth, make sure you’ve done your estate planning. If you haven’t engaged to any attorney, you should do that. If you have an estate plan that you haven’t reviewed in the last three to five years, I reckon. In doing that, just to keep it current, that’s the you know, that’s the best thing you can do for your for your heirs is to make sure that the assets that you’ve worked hard to create are transferred efficiently. And, and to your liking to your intention. I will just as a public service announcement, remind people that at the end of 2025, the current lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is going to be cut in half. So if you have not created the right trusts, or other legal structures to transfer your wealth, efficiently, keep that in mind. And I will, I will leave it there.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah. Which is a great point and, and when to consider even if you’re not thinking about a liquidity event, because they’re all different kinds of things and strategies that can be done to gush create different trusts and things like that. We don’t do that. Obviously, we’re not tax people or attorneys. I’m not. But I work with enough of them that there’s some different strategies. And even if you have an active operating company, you can think about transitioning some shares, or some other things before that deadline, just so that you get that transfer, that’s going to be a big one for people to keep in mind. As that gets neared.

Brannon Fisher: Yeah, I think so. And I also just wanted to point out, you and I have known each other for about four years. And it’s been great that we’ve collaborated as, as colleagues on more than one client, but I want to make sure that I thank you, in this format, for the good work that you’ve done for my own family. I shared your most recent book, it’s a journey with my dad a couple years ago, and we agreed that we needed your help. And that’s been really beneficial and ongoing. So thank you for the good work that you’ve done with my family.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Well, thanks, Julie, thanks for the one the opportunity and to the trust, because that’s a big deal, too. I think it’s a really big deal to be introduced to a father from a son. So I appreciate that. That

Brannon Fisher: was brave. It’s been all good. So thank you.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Well, thank you. Thanks, Brandon. So I just again, Brandon, thank you so much for being here with us today, I hope that the audience will do some, you know, listen to this, and then take away some great things to consider and ponder as you navigate not just your transition, but also what’s next. Because it’s all one big journey. Right? It starts now and will continue throughout your life. There’s so many fun things that you can do. Also some scary things, and engaging in those and facing them engaging in them. There’s opportunity everywhere that there’s fear. So just would love to encourage you to engage.

Brannon Fisher: I like that positive reframing.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Thank you. Thank you.

Brannon Fisher: You’re welcome. Thanks.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Thank you for listening to this episode of the business transition roadmap. If you’re listening to this, and you’ll find yourself wanting to go deeper into these topics and start the process of putting together your transition strategy. I’d love to offer you a free initial strategy session with my team, where we’ll help you to explore the future transition of your business, head over to www dot transition strategies.com To schedule a call. Thank you again for listening, and I’ll see you on the next episode of the business transition roadmap.


The Business Transition Roadmap with Elizabeth Ledoux

How do communities thrive? When businesses experience healthy growth and transition. Join CEO of The Transition Strategists, Elizabeth Ledoux as she and her guests identify what makes a successful business transition roadmap. If you know you want to transition or exit your business “one day”, today is the right day to start planning. This show will give you the roadmap.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, you can check out other episodes here: Podcasts – The Transition Strategists


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