John Coltman | Good health to protect wealth

He’s been a police officer, builder and run an iconic Wellington art gallery, but these days John Coltman is all about helping others realise their own business and family dreams.

John is part of the Moore Markhams Wellington team, carrying out financial health checks for clients to test how well their business and family plans are aligned with their goals, and how they would cope with an unforeseen event, such as illness or injury.

“I look at what current plans you have in place, test those against what you want to have happen and look for any potholes or areas you might have missed.

“The free check-up covers off cash flow, debt management, estate planning and risk management to come up with a holistic view of your business and family situation.”

Clients can then opt to work with John – an Authorised Financial Advisor - to address any gaps that could derail their plans, and to insulate against risk.

A lot of people and businesses have plans that don’t relate to their actual financial situations or lifestyle, and don’t reflect the outcomes they want, he says.

They often have no documentation, such as wills or shareholder agreements, which state what needs to happen in an event.

“We are also seeing outdated or unnecessary insurances, some of which will never be paid out.”

The consequences of being unprepared can be serious, John says.  In instances he knows of, business people have become unwell and unable to work, meaning their business has had to close or be managed by someone who isn’t able to run it properly. 

“They have financial obligations that the business can’t meet and no plan in place. Income to their family has stopped, which has created a big issue for them in meeting mortgage payments and living costs.”

Life is unpredictable but having a plan in place makes all the difference, John says. He worked with a company with three directors and shareholders, one of whom had a stroke at age 39 and was unable to work in the business again.

Fortunately, John and the firm had put a shareholders’ agreement in place that laid out the process for shareholders to exit the business and how they would be paid out. “Their family was paid out and we had in place plans to ensure that money continued to flow into the family and business. This kept the family and business afloat.”

“It’s all about cash flow – what needs to come out of the business for families and how can we protect and grow it?”

John’s 18-year stint as owner and manager of Van Helden Gallery in Eastbourne and Lambton Quay, showed him the importance of planning, preparing and protecting his family and business – his livelihood.

After the sale of the business in 2000, John wanted to transfer the knowledge and processes he had learnt into what is now the financial health check.

“I really love seeing and helping people achieve their personal goals and family goals through their business.”

It’s a drive shared by Moore Markhams, which is committed to helping clients in any way possible, John says. 

“They are very focused on getting businesses to perform to the expectations of their owners. They are open, friendly, give great advice and are very proactive with the businesses they deal with.”

John’s long history of self-employment means he’s very familiar with all the complexities businesses face. But he was not always so savvy.

“I wish when I was starting off that I had something like the financial health check. Every single person who has been through it with me has got something out of it for the betterment of their business and family life.”

Photo caption: John likens the financial health check to a smoke alarm test for your business.