What are you doing today to be sure you are ready to spend the time after you retire or sell your business, i.e., the rest of your life, in the style you desire with the resources needed to take care of you and your family and any other charitable desires you may have? This post is about that time between now and the future, or interim time. Interim time is the time when all the good things happen now (or not) to get you ready for the life you want to live then.
Interim – A Time Between Now and Another Time
The definition of a word, interim, which forms the basis for today’s thoughts. Interim is defined in the The Free Dictionary as:
noun. Interval of time between one event, process, or period and another.
In my book, Unlocking Private Company Wealth, I introduced a concept I call interim time. To discuss interim time, we need three concepts that we can all identify with to greater or lesser degree.
- Now, your current status quo. The beginning point of interim time is now, and by that, I mean right now. The things that are in place around you are there. The things you have set into motion (or not) are there. Your life is as it is, unless you take action to change things for the better. And know that if you don’t work to improve your current status quo, that position will soon be in a state of decline.
- Your business end game. Every business owner has a business end game. For some, their business end game is something they can “see” in their mind’s eye, and work toward. For some of us, the end game is the future sale of a business. For others, it is the accumulation of sufficient assets to retire and live in the style to which we aspire. Others do not “see” their business end game, but believe me, it is there, if only when we (hopefully, they, not you or me) die.
- The rest of your life. After your business end game, there is a period of time we can call the rest of your life. If you sell your business or retire at age 65, for example, the rest of your life can extend for ten, fifteen, twenty years or more. In other words, this rest of your life period can last a long time, so it is worth thinking about and preparing for.
We began this post with the definition of interim. Interim time is the time between two periods, now, or your current status quo, and your business end game, whatever that end game might be. We can relate the three concepts above, now or your current status quo, your business end game, and the rest of your life in a simple graphic.
Interim time, we see, is the time between now, or your current status quo, and then, your business end game. Your current status quo is what it is and is the result of everything you have done to date to get you there. Your business end game is at some time in the future, probably at a point that is not precisely defined in your mind, but it is there.
Your business end game is the set of circumstances that you envision today that will put you in position to live the rest of your life in the style and manner that that you set in your mind. The rest of your life (or mine!) is a scary concept in many respects and is filled with uncertainty.
Questions to Focus on Interim Time
You can ask (and answer) a number of questions about the part of the chart above called the rest of your life. Here are seven such questions for your consideration:
- What is your business end game? Do you plan to sell your business? The rest of the questions are important even if you do. You may or may not be able to expect sufficient proceeds from the sale to finance the rest of your life. What then? If you work in one of the various professions, do you have a business to sell? Or will you need to plan on accumulating assets from savings and investments to accumulate assets for your end game?
- What do you want to do after your business end game and for the rest of your life? Will you retire in a traditional sense? Or is this a frightening prospect? Will you continue to work in some fashion in your business or at your profession? If so, how is that going to work with your colleagues who are at an earlier stage in their lives? Do you want to work for a nonprofit organization in some capacity? Do you want to work in some fashion for your church? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? It is an important question that deserves thought and attention now, during your current status quo. What I know from observing friends, clients and other acquaintances is that after you retire is not a good time to figure out what you want to do after you retire.
- What is your current status quo (in relation to your desired end game and the rest of your life? It is one thing to think about where you are in life right now. It puts things into a different perspective when you ask that question in relation to a future period in your life, i.e., your business end game.
- What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Thinking about post-business end game can be daunting. But it is hard to plan for the life you want unless you decide what that life(style) is. We have all heard stories of people who waited until they were 65 or 70 to retire, and then died within weeks or months. There are undoubtedly medical reasons why this happens, but one real reason based on my experience is the stress of figuring out what you want to do after you retire — after you have waited until you retire to think about it.
- Will you have the resources you need to live the kind of life of life you desire for the rest of your life? Whatever plans you have for interim time, you will need to focus on accumulating the resources necessary to live for the rest of your life. This may require a change of current life style to create resources for your future lifestyle.
- Who do you need to get to help you to think about you and the relationship between your current status quo and your business end game? You may need help from professionals like your accountant or attorney or financial planner. If you are a professional, you may need help from other relevant professionals. The idea is to peg where you are and where you want to go in order to set a course between your current status quo and your business end game. In other words, you need to decide on a plan of action for interim time.
- And importantly, what will you do during interim time to assure the future success of your business end game and the rest of your life? Ultimately, you have to take action during interim time in order to assure reaching your business end game.
Interim Time Can Be Insidious
Insidious means working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner. So why do I say that interim time can be insidious? Think about these aspects of interim time:
- Interim time passes one day at a time with no benchmarks or markers to guide you.
- There is no one to tell you what to do during interim time.
- There is no one and nothing to force you to do what needs to be done to achieve a successful business end game.
- There is no one keeping time or score to tell you how you are doing during your interim time (unless you hire or otherwise retain timekeepers or scorekeepers.
- There is nothing to distinguish one day from the next during interim time unless you create the distinctions along the way.
- No one knows how long his or her interim time will last. Business end games are sometimes forced upon us by business changes, health reversals, life changes and more.
The real insidiousness of interim time is that, without conscious thought and effort on your part, it simply passes. When it passes and you haven’t done the things that you know you need to do, you incur opportunity costs that are very real and quite detrimental to your successful business end game.
Succeeding During Interim Time
Those who succeed at their business end games do so because they succeed during interim time. Unless they are very lucky. And how you spend the rest of your life is far too important to leave to Lady Luck!
How do you succeed during interim time? By asking and answering the questions above. And by taking action now, while you have time.
I hope you will think about the ideas in this post:
- What is your current status quo?
- What is your business end game?
- Will you be prepared for the rest of your life?
After thinking about these questions, I hope you will begin to take action to identify the critical things that need to be accomplished during interim time and then begin working on them.
For additional perspective on interim time, see my book, Unlocking Private Company Wealth. Don’t let the insidiousness of interim time keep you from the path that will lead to a successful business end game and a wonderful rest of your life.
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