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Why You Need a 'Business Plan' for
Your Family

When business owners start a new venture or seek out funding, they always create a detailed business plan first. But chances are, most parents have never once thought about creating a similar type of plan for their most important asset: their families.

Your family may not be a business, but clearly it can be a good idea to foster it like good business owners do with their companies. By taking steps to formally identify your family’s values and goals, as well as to assess the quality of the relationships you have with each other, you can start to strengthen existing bonds—and repair any bridges that are in bad shape. By actively working together toward family goals, you can instill greater resiliency, competency and life skills in your children.

Here’s why it’s so important to create family plans along the lines of highly successful business plans—along with actionable advice for creating these plans in your own life.

The need for a family plan

The fact is, business plans weren’t always needed. Once upon a time, there was the one cobbler in town. But as business and trade got increasingly complex, the need to plan, prioritize and track results in business became paramount to simply staying afloat.

Likewise, family plans weren’t always necessary back when communities were more tightly knit and neighbors looked out more for each other and each other’s kids. But as that dynamic has changed over time, a few scary trends have emerged, as these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show:

  • The suicide rate for girls ages 15 to 19 doubled from 2007 to 2015, when it reached its highest point in 40 years.

  • The suicide rate for boys ages 15 to 19 increased by 30 percent over the same time period.

  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death in 2016 among Americans ages 15 to 24.

The upshot: Many children today seem to be both in pain more than in the past and unsure how to cope with their struggles. That’s why there’s a greater-than-ever need to focus on your family with a very close eye.


Component #1: Assessment

Before deep and impactful conversations can begin, family members have to see where they are—and aren’t—on the same page in some key areas of their relationships:

  • Connection. Determine how much one-on-one time you spend with your children. How engaged are you during those moments?

  • Understanding. Do you and your kids see eye to eye on the degree to which you seek to understand them before trying to be understood? Also, how well do your children understand important characteristics about you—your values, what you do for work, etc.?

  • Balancing. How well do you communicate expectations and how well do you balance your needs with family needs?

  • Influencing. How often do you lead by example to teach children values and behaviors? How well do you demonstrate self-care?

  • Empowering. How willing are you to let your children fail at something? Are you more of an encourager or a criticizer when helping your children with a task?

Vital: It’s crucial that you and your children answer these questions about you, to see how aligned or misaligned you are in these areas.

Component #2: Action

A great family plan will contain big-picture family goals that are being pursued each quarter—much like a business pursues certain objectives each fiscal quarter. Common examples include improving communication, building financial awareness in children, making smarter decisions and becoming more fit.

However, those large-scale goals need to be broken down into smaller, simpler and achievable goals. A family that wants to achieve better overall fitness might set a goal to run three 5Ks per quarter.

Important: These goals must be SMART to succeed—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

Component #3: Accountability

Like a business plan, a family plan will accomplish little if you don’t implement it or don’t stick with it long enough to achieve the desired results. Hiring a facilitator to help you with your plan can make a lot of sense—just as hiring a personal trainer can enable you to show up at the gym on those days you’d rather binge-watch Netflix.

That facilitator has to be neutral and objective, and shouldn’t kiss up to the parents just because they’re the ones paying for the service. The facilitator must advocate for everyone while also calling out anybody who isn’t holding up their end.

Any facilitator or coach you select should have a few other characteristics:

  • They are direct and honest about your plan and your amount of progress.

  • They are objective and they examine your family as a disinterested third party—not as someone who has strong emotional ties to you.

Regardless of whether you pay someone to keep you on track, you will want to regularly review your family plan to see how everyone is progressing toward their stated goals. Determine where family members are encountering roadblocks and brainstorm about ways to overcome any hurdles.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This article was published by the VFO Inner Circle, a global financial concierge group working with affluent individuals and families and is distributed with its permission. Copyright 2018 by AES Nation, LLC.


Every business plan includes protecting your assets. We can help you celebrate your story through your legacy by putting a plan in place to protect those you love and cherish most.

Click the button below to schedule a time to speak with our Director of Client Relations, to see how we can help you create a piece of your family’s business plan.


In Florida, “homestead” has several meanings. by_ The Jacksonville Bar Association Staff Writer (2).png

By John McE. Miller • JBA Environmental & Real Property Committee

“Homestead” under Florida Law has at least 3 primary definitions which will be discussed in this article, often leading to confusion among practitioners and lay people alike.

Historically, Homestead in Florida was granted to provide two important protections to settlers in the Civil War era and afterward: first, to prevent forced sale by creditors, and second to provide a surviving spouse (usually wife) and family with shelter, a place to live.  This was to encourage pioneers to stake their claim in Florida, which became a state in 1845, in the days before electricity and air conditioning.  If the head of household failed, at least the family would have a home.  This was codified by the U.S. Congress in the Florida Homestead Act of 1862.


Florida’s love affair with homestead was further codified when Section 7 was added to Article X of the Florida Constitution on November 6, 1934.  The Supreme Court of Florida considers this to be “the Greatest Benevolence ever shown by the people of any state” toward the exemption of homestead from taxation.  But, homestead in Florida has several meanings.

To provide a refresher, this article will briefly review three homestead laws, which are (1) exemption from forced sale, (2) restriction on transfer and devise, and (3) a property tax exemption.

Exemption from forced sale

The exemption from forced sale protects a Florida homeowner’s primary residence from forced sale by a creditor. For example, if a court enters a money judgment against a Florida homeowner, the judgment creditor will not be able to satisfy its judgment with the person’s homestead. This protection is extremely strong, and has worked under dubious circumstances such as O.J. Simpson shielding funds from the Goldman and Brown families by moving to Florida and investing in a Miami-area home. 

Rare exceptions include recovery against the homestead for unpaid (1) property taxes, (2) defaulted mortgage debt, and (3) unpaid obligations contracted for labor performed on the property. The exemption from forced sale not only protects the homeowner, but also allows his or her heirs to inherit the property free of the homeowner’s creditors.

Restriction on transfer

Perhaps the least known of the three Homestead laws is the restriction on transfer and devise. The restriction prevents a Florida homeowner from transferring, his/her homestead property without joinder or waiver of a spouse. In addition, absent a waiver, the property must pass to the homeowner’s surviving spouse following death.

There is also a restriction on devise for a Florida homeowner who dies survived by one or more minor children. This restriction is absolute, and the homestead passes to the decedent’s minor children by operation of law. These restrictions are designed to protect “widows and orphans” but are often a trap for the unwary when it comes to estate planning and pose difficulties when dealing with homestead property during the administration of a decedent’s estate.  

Property tax exemption

Perhaps most important to Florida homeowners is the property tax exemption and related Save Our Homes law (“SOH”).  The Constitutional property tax exemption provides that the first $25,000 of a Florida homestead is exempt from all property taxes. An additional reduction of up to $25,000 applies if the home is worth at least $50,000; however, the second exemption only applies to non-school taxes.

The SOH law cap begins when the county grants the initial exemptions and caps the increase in the assessed value of homestead property to the lesser of the rate of inflation or three percent (3%) per year.  Historically, the appreciation of property in rapidly growing Florida has outpaced the SOH cap and has created significant property tax savings for longtime homeowners. In addition, if a homeowner moves residences but stays in Florida, up to $500,000 of SOH cap may be ported to the new property.

Homestead issues can be difficult to navigate.  Those with questions should contact a firm with attorneys who specialize in both Real Property and Estate Planning.

John McE. Miller is senior attorney/owner with Rock Solid Law, focusing on Real Estate Closings, Estate Planning and Small Business Representation, and Andrew Woods, was an associate with the firm at the time this article was written.

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