After Divestiture: Shifting Your Focus from Investing in the Family Business to Investing in Financial Security

After Divestiture: Shifting Your Focus from Investing in the Family Business to Investing in Financial SecurityNortheastern University

Family Business Quarterly
by Michael Winter and Josh Gold
Bear Stearns

Relinquishing control of the family business that the owner has spent a lifetime building is both a complicated and painful affair. Part of what makes it difficult is deciding what to do with the proceeds from cashing out.

The principal of a family business typically has had the majority of his or her personal net worth invested in the company for many years. This individual hasn’t had either the time or the inclination to become well versed in the public financial markets.

Yet senior members of family businesses are often thrust into the position of having to provide both income and future financial security for themselves and their spouses. Ensuring personal financial security as the business is either passed to the next generation or transferred to outside sources demands thorough attention and due diligence, even for someone experienced in the ways of the public markets. More…

Who Will Take Over When Pop Retires?

Who Will Take Over When Pop Retires?

by Kate Beem
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

This article is reprinted by permission from

It took a quadruple bypass for Jay Rains to get serious about handing over family-owned Rains Electrical Sales to his 36-year-old son.

The firm — an electrical-equipment wholesaler in the Kansas City suburb of Shawnee, Kan., for electrical-equipment manufacturers — has been tightly controlled by the 65-year-old father for years. Wes Rains, his son, concentrated on his work as a salesman in his 10 years at the firm, which has eight employees and has $15 million in sales. He didn’t demand, nor was he encouraged, to learn mundane necessities such as payroll or income-tax withholding or legal issues. That left him, he says, unprepared to run the firm should something happen to his father.

“I don’t even know what everybody makes,” Wes Rains says. “There’s just so much paperwork and legalese.”

His father’s successful surgery in December forced both men to confront the thicket of emotional and financial issues involved in succession in a family business. But even now, the elder Mr. Rains isn’t handing things over right away. They’re just beginning a planned four-year transition, after which Mr. Rains says he’ll pull back and concentrate solely on schmoozing customers, leaving his son as the boss. More…