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 I’ve been a fan of the phrase perma-five for over thirty years.  The term started as one where a business owner is stuck.  Now, when I use it the term it’s usually around business owners not willing or able to think an exit from their business.

When you have a permanent five year plan on the same topic you are in perma-five.  Unless you take specific actions around this issue, you will likely stay in this state for a very long time.  The world might change and you could be rescued, but changes will likely come only if and when you change what you’re doing.

These changes don’t have to be gut wrenching ones.  Sometimes the changes you need to make come from learning.  We often are stuck and the reason we’re stuck is we don’t have knowledge about becoming unstuck.

Becoming unstuck often comes when a good question is asked.  This is where talking about your issue with others is a great idea.  If you know what is happening over and over (as in Groundhog Day) then talking with someone will often help you understand the issue.

The problem often is you don’t know what the problem is in the first place.  I find that most of the time the problem that you’re suffering through is one where you aren’t even aware it exists.  Not knowing what question to ask is frustrating.  You might want to take a particular action, but the action never seems to get any closer.

Some of the issues that might be keeping you in a perma-five state are:

  • Not knowing how retirement will look once you leave your business.
  • Not knowing what you’re going to do after you leave the business.
  • How you want your business treated after you leave.
  • Not being able to sell the business and not having an alternate plan.

Each of these issues often requires working with someone who understands the exit planning process.  If you have an advisor who has been working in this area for at least five to ten years, they will often be able to ask the right question to help you move forward.

Experience is important when working on perma-five issues.  Lots of people are going through exit planning training.  Learning new skills takes time.  If you find someone who is new in the exit planning world, you should ask them to bring in an experienced person to help.

I can tell you that the exit planning work I do today is much, much better than the work I did fifteen years ago when I first started down this road.  I believe I’ve moved from being unconsciously incompetent to unconsciously competent. 

Through my experience, I’ve learned that we need to start with financial planning and what’s next before we do anything else.  Until these two issues are successfully dealt with, we’re not likely to be able to effectively help others take the next step.

What are your thoughts about perma-five and why you might be stuck there?  Please contact me at Jpatrick@stage2planning.com or click here to set up a conversation.

Josh Patrick


We have a complementary special report we would like you to have.  It’s titled 7 Steps To Leaving Your Business In Style.  If you’re interested in receiving this report, please click on the button below.  We believe you’ll enjoy this report and get some good ideas that you can use in your own business.  Some ideas that might keep you out of perma-five.



Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: retirement planning, retirement, financial planning, exit planning, business exit planning, leaving your business, perma-five

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