The Challenges of Having Business Partners with Drs. Donna and David Gage

Philip Fish, CFP<sup>®</sup> and Estate Planning Specialist with Sandy Spring Trust

In this Professional Discussion Philip Fish, CFP® and Estate Planning Specialist with Sandy Spring Trust interviews Drs. Donna and David Gage with BMC Associates, a local firm that helps business owners prevent or mitigate conflict between two or more partners. In this discussion, Phil, Donna and David discuss a few common challenges that face business partners along with strategies to manage those conflicts and also prevent them before the partnership is formed.  

Guest Speaker:  Dr. David Gage, founder of BMC Associates has over 25 years of experience as a mediator and over 30 years of experience as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Donna Gage brings more than 25 years of experience as an administrator, mediator and consultant helping groups find common ground and working efficiencies. Together through BMC Associates they lead a group of professionals helping business owners prevent and manage conflicts.

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    The Challenges of Having Business Partners with Drs. Donna and David Gage


    - Hello everyone, and welcome to Sandy Spring Bank's Real Life Matters discussion series. My name's Phil Fish. I'm a Certified Financial Planner and an Estate Planning Specialist with Sandy Spring Trust and the host of our discussion series where I interview local professionals in the area of law, tax, finance, and healthcare. Today I'm being joined by Drs. David and Donna Gage and they work with BMC Associates. So, I wanted to take a moment to thank Donna and David for joining us today. And why don't we start with just an introduction of yourselves, kind of a background on who you are, your business, BMC Associates, and then we'll get into our topic today which is the challenges of having business partners, which I know is kind of a core of your business. So, it'll be a very interesting conversation. So, why don't we start with just an introduction of the two or you and your business please?

    - It's nice to be here, Phil. So, I will just give a little bit of my background and Donna can tell you a little bit about hers. I got into this business of working with partners, family partners, non-family partners, honestly because I grew up in a family business. When I was young my grandparents started a business outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a construction business, and I think growing up in that business had quite an influence on me and my career. It was my mother's parents and when I was about 10 my father joined the business along with his brothers-in-law and his father-in-law, so he became the outlaw in the family business. And I think we had, I had a kind of a bird's eye view of all of the dynamics that go on regularly in family businesses, and I think it was all of those dynamics that got me interested in psychology in college and I became a psychologist and then specialized in working with families and couples. And it was about that time in my career becoming a clinical psychologist and thinking, you know, what I know is that people who are in business with family members or with non-family partners, when they get a little sideways with one another, which happens with some regularity, they really didn't have good places to go to get help for that kind of thing. And so there I was, a young psychologist and I thought, well, I know something about dealing with conflicts and family dynamics, interpersonal dynamics, but I knew there was a lot more to being co-owners than just the psychology side of it. So I thought, well, should I go to law school? Should I go to business school? And I thought no, I think it's what I wanna do. I wanna help owners of businesses, co-owners of businesses, but I think we're gonna need a team of people really, because my background is in, isn't enough in a way. So, from the beginning, which was around 1990 when I started the business, we've always had a team, multi-disciplinary team comprised of psychologists and lawyers and business consultants, and other people who really are comfortable and understanding of the whole business partner arena. So, that's a little bit about how my background and how I started.

    - Okay, Donna, how did you get involved in this business?

    - Well, through my partner, is how I got started working with BMC Associates, but my education and training background is actually as a nurse and spent the majority of my career as a Nurse Administrator. And I had a great deal of experience working as the Chief Nursing Officer at Penn State Hershey Medical Center for more than 12 years, and then moved to Washington DC and was the Chief Nursing Officer at Med Star Georgetown University Hospital. And then, moved on to the Chief Nursing Officer role in Washington DC for the Veterans Health Administration for the entire country. And throughout my career and time as a Chief Nursing Officer I spent a lot of time working with teams, physicians, all members of the healthcare team helping everyone collaborate and provide the best care to patients and also did a lot of negotiations with members of the unions, a number of the nursing staff were represented by collective bargaining agreements, so I was one of the Chief Nursing Officers that would sit across the table. So, I had a great deal of experience with negotiations. And after my time at the VA, David said, you know, I think that you might really enjoy and bring a wealth of experience to BMC. And so, I decided to switch careers and join BMC Associates and I've been working with the team and a number of our associates for more than five years now.

    - So, as far as the timeline, how long have you two been married for?

    - We have been married for nine years.

    - Nine years. Okay, and BMC Associates has been around for how long?

    - For 30.

    - 30, so David, you were running BMC Associates. You then met Donna and then, how long have you been with BMC Associates? You've been married for nine years. How long into the marriage before you decided to go full, full bore and both be a partner in both personal and in business affairs?

    - It was four years after we were married.

    - Okay.

    - Separate career, I decided to join BMC.

    - So, basically, the two of you are a part of a team and you're helping, and I think in conversations before, you sometimes help individuals before business partnership is established to kinda lay down some ground rules, almost like a prenuptial agreement, I guess, to kind of figure out who's gonna be doin' what. Then you also get involved in some difficult scenarios of businesses that are already established and might be going through a difficult time. And so, there's all types of different business, you know, formats out there. We're not gonna get into you know, the different forms of partnerships and C Corp and S Corp and all of that. But basically, we're talking about two or more individuals involved in a business with some form of co-ownership. And so, since the two of you are married, and a lotta people say you know, being business partners is a kind similar to being married, do you find that is a fair analogy, that there are some, I'm sure there are some similarities, but also some differences in how business partners go through different, I guess, cycles? I've been married to Lisa for 27 years and so certainly we've had our ups and downs and we have our kind of together moments and moments when things are more challenging. So, do you think there is a connection between those two different kind of partnerships?

    - Yes, what business people tend to say is you know, the number one comparison they make is to being married. Having a partner in business is like being married. And then they usually add, except I spend more time with my business partner. So, it's interesting.

    - It is interesting and I think it's very similar and one of the analogies that David and I find to be very appropriate is really a tennis analogy. And it's very similar to being a solo owner of your own business. In that situation, you know, I am the captain of my own ship. I can do whatever it is I want to do and make my own decisions. And wake up and decide to do something different or change the direction of my business. But when you're married that's not always the case. You have a partner and it's very similar in business. And the analogy of tennis is also a very appropriate. When you're playing another individual across the net and you're a solo player you know you can make decisions about which ball you'll chase and hit, in back, how you wanna do it, front hand, back hand. But, when you have a partner it requires a great deal more of collaboration and communication and understanding and clarify expectations, who's going to go after which ball when it's hit. And so, it's really much more of a challenge to make sure that you have all of the necessary conversations so that you can work together and be successful and make sure that both of you understand how you're going to work together.

    - The solo owner can wake up one morning and say, you know what, I have an idea. I wanna take this business in a really a very different direction. And she can go into the office and tell her entire staff, then it's okay. They probably would say, eye, eye, captain, and they'll take the business in a different direction. Well, you try that when you have a business partner and you're in trouble.

    - Well, I guess a lotta issues too is, you know, is it a 50/50 split? You know, is it one person having majority control? Are there three business owners? If the three of us were in business together, if two of us wanted to go in one direction and the other did not, then you have real challenges there. And we find that in my line of work being a trust, you know, with the trust division and with estate planning, when we're asked, should we have two trustees or two personal representatives or three, the same conversations come up? What if they disagree? Who's in charge? Who's doing what? And it can be done, but it is more challenging. So, what are some of the most common disputes and challenges that you see in business through your years of experience?

    - And I'd like to just add one other thing, Phil, before we move on to the challenges, because it's equally as important, and that is not everyone has the right personality or temperament sometimes to want to be in a partnership. You know, we have a very, we know a very successful real estate agent down in Sarasota, Florida. Her name is Ginger Spencer, and Ginger has a great deal of wisdom and what she once told us is you know, I could never have a partner, because I have to do things my way. And furthermore, I never wanna be accountable to anyone.

    - It's so terrific that she understands that about herself and can admit it. It's not everybody who can say, I'm just not a team player.

    - Well, I'm kinda the same way. I've been with the bank for 21 years. I've been in the exact same position for 21 years, and I've been thrilled with that position, no desire to move up into senior management. I see the meetings, I see the budgets, I see the headaches and the stress and you know, I love what I do. Also, my skillsets are not suited for that type of work. And you see, I think in any line of work you see people who are really good at what they do because their skillset and personality is matched to what they're doing. And then you see the disconnects, where people just, they're good people, they're hard working, but they're in a position that doesn't match with what their skillsets are, what their temperament is, what they enjoy doing, and they struggle or they're really unhappy, which is very sad to see, 'cause work is such a big part of your life. So, what are some of the challenges we see in business ownership that you see? What are the you know, the two or three ones that keep coming over time and time again?

    - Right, two or, it's hard to stop at two or three.

    - Okay.

    - Let me count the ways. People say is it turf issues? Is it personality conflicts? Is it differences in values?

    - Money.

    - Money, greed. Are we stepping on people's toes? Are there fights about equity and how much ownership each person is? No, we like to say yes, yes, yes, and yes. But, above and beyond all of those, it comes down to really what we think is planning. So, we've seen all of those different kinds of disputes, disputes at startups, disputes in the middle of a long term partnership, disputes when people are unwinding. We once had two guys call us from, one was from New York and the other was from the Philadelphia area, they had a partnership in an architectural firm and they were unwinding. They decided they couldn't really work together, but they were fighting over the last expenses and who was gonna pay those. Well, that was a very interesting case because that's what they were fighting with. Money, really essentially, very common, but they needed help and they were referred to us. And we sat down with them and that's, that was a fairly simple case. They were coming unwinding and they got stuck. But interestingly when we really started talking to them they talked about how they had worked really well together for years as architect and a sales person, and they worked so well together they thought we should be partners. But, they didn't work that well together as partners. So but, actually at the end of the day what we realized is they could step back and restructure and not be partners anymore, but have kind of the strategic alliance that they had before that worked. So we helped them with that in that one day. That was probably one of the shortest mediations we've ever done. We helped them with that and years later we heard from them again and they were doing very well. So, we think if they had really when they said, okay, why don't we be partners, we're doing so well. If they really had gone through and really looked at all the different aspects of their partners two things might have happened. One, they might have worked out a way to work together as partners that would have worked really well for them. Or, in that process they would've said, you know what? What we have is pretty darn good. Let's just keep it.

    - Yeah.

    - But, I also think that the planning, as you said David, is really, really important and what we like to refer to is, in addition to the planning it's really the DNA of your partnership. It's really having those discussions, as you mentioned, with those two partners, really talking about things ahead of time, because you can be swept up in the excitement and energy about this new partnership and not really talk more about the specifics and how things will work. And then, begin to negotiate. As you said, if you had talked about things, how will this work? It's pretty good, you keep yours, I'll keep mine. And then through those discussions to really reach agreements about how the two of the partners will work together. And it's very nice, it's cute with the DNA of your partnership because that's really what the basis is, understanding then how the two of you are going to collaborate and work together in this partnership.

    - We owe that to a genetics researcher who once came to us for some help because she was forming a partnership. We told her about the process and she said, oh, it's like the DNA.

    - Like DNA, yeah.

    - Discussions, negotiations, and agreements.

    - Right.

    - There's no different component. So, with all of these challenges, do you find that partnerships can be beneficial? Obviously, there's thousands, you know, hundreds of thousands of partnerships out there of all different shapes and sizes. So, what are kinda the up sides that you see of having a partnership?

    - Well, we, there really is tremendous up side, and to help explain that we often use a very simple metaphor of driving across country. And think about, if you have to drive from the Washington DC area to San Francisco and you've got your car and you've got time, but you need to do it and you need to do it and not take too many vacation stops along the way. Imagine doing it just solo versus doing it with just one partner. What a different experience it is going to be. It's a long drive. And if you're solo you've got, you've got a lotta rest stops or hotel stops. If you have one partner you have so much more flexibility. So, you could drive straight through. But, you can't do that solo. You can you know, kick back and be doin' miles. The one thing is though, you wanna make sure you're still talking to one another and you haven't killed one another in the process. There are people who can't make it across the country with one other person.

    - Yeah, or argue about when to stop, where to stop, which direction, which path to take, which route. Do you go highway? Do you take the country roads, go through the mountains? And so, it's you know, basically business partnership is like life. It's about different choices, different paths and figuring out together how to go through that. So, how do you reduce the risks of failure? Because I'm sure a failure in a business can be, it might be the business, the partnership is still in place, it's just very unproductive, because if the partners are not working well together it's gonna affect the employees who are there. You know, I'm sure it'd be terrible walking in to an office and having the two owners screaming at each other and then venting their anger or frustration downstream to the staff. And I'm sure the business would suffer. It's like having you know, a set of Dunlops and a set of Michelins on your car and the car's bouncing around because the tires are not aligned, if you wanna use the car analogy. So, how can we reduce the failure rate or the problems that we see?

    - You know, Phil, I have to just compliment you on that car analogy. And when Abe Pollin and Michael Jordan became partners in the Wizards years ago, a Washington Post reporter, you just reminded me, I wrote about this in the book. A Washington Post reporter said, Abe Pollin and Michael Jordan, their personalities were outsized personalities, and one was like a gigantic Lincoln Town Car, but the other was like a Maserati.

    - Yeah.

    - It did not work.

    - Didn't work, no.

    - It probably didn't work for that exact reason.

    - Yeah.

    - So, there, partnerships are risky and really many, there are, truth be known, there are many business advisors out there who advise people, you know, stay away, don't touch it, don't do that, they're dangerous. And they are kinda dangerous. As you pointed out, if it doesn't work the fallout can be terrible. It can affect people's emotions, the partners' emotional lives, their physical lives, their families, and their bigger family, employees, and employees families.

    - And I guess like with mortgage, like with marriages you would have to go through a divorce and you would have to go through a legal separation, which I'm sure is gonna be very damaging to whatever business you might have in place, because if you're a client of that business and you're seeing a divorce happening you're gonna be very nervous about continuing to do business while they try and sort things out.

    - So often your best clients, your best staff, they, they wanna protect themselves and sometimes the best leave the quickest, because they want a safer place.

    - Yeah, and they can kinda see what's coming, you know, if they're really smart then they can see they might say, you know, they might start searching for a job, find it, and just hand in two weeks notice and just get out before the, before the volcano erupts, 'cause they see the pressure building.

    - Exactly, exactly. And one of the dangers with partnerships that maybe it's a little bit like marriage, they're so easy to get in to. People don't realize it, but you don't need to sign documents to become partners. In the eyes of the law all you really have to do, Phil, is start talking and acting like partners. This is my partner. Really, when you do that, for all intents and purposes, in the eyes of the law you are going to be partners.

    - Okay.

    - That's a bit scary.

    - It is.

    - It's very easy to get into and as you were eluding to, it's pretty hard to get out of.

    - Okay.

    - I think 20 years ago I said, a garden variety partner dispute with just a couple partners, if it's a real partnership dispute, for them to get out of it is probably gonna be a quarter of a million dollars total.

    - Wow.

    - But, that was years ago. It's costly when you go that route of a legal battle. So so, there are many risks and there's the collateral damage to the people around the partners. So, it's really worth being, slowing down and being careful. One of the things people can do is to make sure, A, you need a partner. Do you really need a partner? And some people will want to bring in a partner just for the money. And what we tell them is, that's not a good reason to have a partner.

    - Yeah.

    - Go to Sandy Springs Bank if you need money and talk to them, it's much easier.

    - Well, and also it might be, you might bring the person in, not make 'em a legal partner, but you hire them and you pay them well, but you maintain separation, you maintain clarity.

    - Yes, because right now the failure rate of partnerships still hovers around 50% after two to three years. And so, it's not something that should be taken lightly. And yet, as we've said, it's very easy to get into and when partners or potential partners get together they can get swept up in the excitement and thinking, yes, we're going to be very successful and not really talk about all of the other issues.

    - Sometimes there are more susceptible people. For example, siblings who have really gotten along so well for years and years, or best friends. I remember two brothers a few years ago said, one of them said to us, if anyone had told us five years ago that we would be in this mess with each other I would've told them you have got the wrong brothers.

    - But, it's funny, as you were talking about the 50% failure rate, that is a number thrown around a lot with marriages. Around 50% of marriages don't last. And you talk about the excitement of getting together and how easy it is to get into a partnership, how easy it is to get married, and how excited it is to join and how many people just don't realize how hard marriage is and they don't realize how hard a partnership is. So I think we're coming full circle around. So, you had mentioned as one of the things that you two do to help is a partnership charter, which is I guess, either a prenuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement, a conversation either before the partnership is established or once the partnership is established to try and clear the air a little bit. Can you talk a little bit about what a partnership charter looks and feels like?

    - Oh sure. And actually one other comment before I talk about the partnership charter, because it is relevant, as you said, that sometimes partners don't talk about all of the issues and they may have a little bit of an awareness that there may be some things they're not aligned on, but they don't talk about them because they're very excited and this is going to be wonderful. And in fact, I was working on a case with some partners and they said just that. You know, early on when we got together we had some disagreements and things weren't really quite right, but we were moving forward and we were making money and everything was fine. And so, we kind of pushed that off to the side. But then when things took a different turn it became much harder and then the conflicts became larger and larger. And so, we recommend that partners do a partnership charter, which we believe can be very helpful if it is as you're saying, is it like a prenuptial or what is it.

    - We sometimes call it a road test.

    - Okay, yeah. My wife and I are going on a trip and we're actually, we're taking the car to the local Toyota dealership, and it's like, do a full once over, check the tires, check the brakes, check everything, 'cause we're gonna be driving. We don't wanna get stuck on the side of the road in South Carolina.

    - That's a really good analogy.

    - Yes, exactly. And this road test is actually the partnership charter is a three step process. And it's a structured process that can help partners have those discussions about a variety of topics. And the first step in the process is we ask each partner to answer, I don't know, about 300 questions, David, on a variety of topics, to take time themselves to answer those questions, jot down notes for themselves, their thoughts about each of those areas.

    - Each person individually, on his or her own.

    - Okay, so you place 'em in separate rooms with little noise canceling headphones on and seal them in that little cubicle.

    - They're asked some of those questions about every, all these different topics from the business side, money, equity, roles and responsibilities, governance, to the interpersonal side, personal values, personal styles, conflict handling styles, expectations, all these are discussed.

    - Just like, why are we doing this? Why do we wanna be partners?

    - All of those questions and each person has to answer something for those things and some of them are stuff they'd never thought about before. Also, keep in mind that nobody's really taught how to be partners. It boggles my mind, but I did teach a course on this subject at America University and Business School some years back, and the business school did some research for me. They wanted me to write an article. I said, sure, if you will do some research. Research, is anybody else teaching a course about how to be business partners?

    - Yeah.

    - And you'll be happy to hear this, Phil. Nobody in this country, there was a university in England that was doing some, had one course that was somewhat similar. But it's kind of, it's kind of shocking I think.

    - Well, but I think there is a lacking of practical, pragmatic training how to be married. You know, how to be financially secure. You know, we have individuals entering the workforce and they don't know anything about mutual funds, stocks, bonds, 401Ks, tax issues, you know, housing. We see a lot of people get into houses they just cannot afford and the mortgage company is happy to lend them, but when you run the numbers, when we, my wife and I live, you know, you see the backdrop behind me, we live in a very nice house, but we live outside of Hagerstown, so we're west of Frederick, so we're able to afford a house that we could not afford in Montgomery County. But, when we applied for the mortgage the mortgage amount that we could take on was about one and a half times more than the mortgage we actually did accept. But that was the limit, but there's no way that we could afford, 'cause my wife's, retired isn't the right phrase 'cause she runs this house and me and the animals and everything, so she has a full-time job keeping this place you know, running smoothly. But, we couldn't afford you know, to set money aside in the 401K plan, to live comfortably, to have savings, to not have a credit card balance. And I think there is a lack of pragmatic training unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be changing. So yeah, a lot of people are not trained in how to be business partners or you know, how to be a husband, how to be a wife or how to be a partner.

    - Yes, I think that there's kind of a glaring gap for us when we look at business schools that train that often now have programs in entrepreneurship, how to be an entrepreneur, how to start a business.

    - Okay, that's singular.

    - Yeah, how to find money, how to hire, how to market, how to do a business plan, all these things, but really they skip this one piece which, it's a little hard for us to understand because, why they skip that piece, because really almost anybody starting out nowadays, whether it's you know, you all hope, everybody hopes to start the next Google or Intel or Etsy or Hewlett Packard or Microsoft. All of those companies had partners. So, it is a little surprising still that there's not more emphasis, but we're working to change that.

    - Wonderful. Any other components of the partnership charter? You get the people in the room, you separate them, you have them start thinking about things separately and then I guess you pull them together to see how together they are, how separate they are and you try and figure out the gaps, the overlap, the misunderstanding, you know, clear the air which is gonna be a psychological you know, exercise. I guess it is like marriage counseling in many ways.

    - Well yes, we bring them together and have them talk about the different subjects and topics and share their thoughts and hear one another. And then you know, have discussions and help them to reach agreements. And what's really important about that, Phil, is documenting and writing down those agreements that they agree to about how they're going to work together and about their different styles and learning and understanding how they handle conflict and what they're willing to do so that they can work better with their partner, because this isn't about changing people, right. It's hard to change people. But, it's helping people change their behaviors so that they can be more collaborative or work better with their partner or future partners. And we have found that to be extremely helpful and we have a number of partners that have gone through this process, or perhaps haven't even finished the process, because based on those conversations with their potential partner they don't wanna finish and realize this would not be a good partnership.

    - Okay.

    - So they do not finish.

    - That's probably about close to 20% of the people who wanna do this road test and wanna answer all these questions and think about all these is probably about 20% of 'em say, you know what? I think we would be better off not doing this.

    - And maybe they figure out a way to work together and just you know keep their separate entities or to be of counsel to one another or you know, help each other. You know, if you could have business A and business B work together, but they are separate businesses with each individual owning the business separately, and then it's very easy three years down the line to head down different paths, you know. You don't have to, if you made A and B into C, you know, a business together then if you wanna go down separate paths, that becomes a lot more challenging 'cause you have to dissolve the business. And if you I guess, co-own you know, buildings and you have staff, you know, who gets which employee? You know, it would be incredibly difficult to split something up that's been formed for a number of years I would imagine. I guess you get involved in those types of. So, your line of work is you know, multi-faceted. I guess it's before businesses created, before a partnership is created working with the partners to see if it's a good fit, and can you come to agreement? Can you prevent problems down the line? Businesses that's up and running that may be hitting some problems, can you kind of get them back on track? Businesses that are really in crisis, do you I guess, helping them with a fair dissolving of the business, a separation? And then, as you said, the winding down. So I guess you guys are busy.

    - Yes, and it is all of those. We can help business partners in all different stages and phases of their partnership, as you mentioned. It's not just before they start or when they're winding down. I worked with three partners in Philadelphia, an architectural firm, and they had been in business together and were doing well, but they hadn't really figured out the direction and the future and they were of different ages and they were doing okay, but they really wanted to get greater clarity. And they had had a little bit of conflict, so I worked with them with an associate and we helped them do a partnership charter and today they are thriving and growing and expanding because it helped clarify and they learned more about each other through the partnership charter which was really terrific.

    - Wonderful.

    - It was so interesting because they had a successful firm and all three partners were pretty successful, but they described it I think you said, they were, they functioned a little bit more as three silos, which an architectural firm you have your teams and your clients and they could do it. But, they realized something was missing and they didn't quite know where they were going long-term, so they did a partnership charter and they figured out how they could work much better together.

    - Okay, well David, Donna, thank you so much. We've covered a lot of really interesting topics today and thank you for your time, I know how busy you are. Are there any final words of wisdom you would like to share with our audience before we wrap up today's discussion?

    - Well, I think if I could do one slightly sales piece, just telling people that the book I wrote years ago, how to, the title is long, but it's How to Start Out Right with your New Business Partnership, parentheses, or fix the one you're in. It, I really wrote it for people who wanted to be partners or already were partners and wanted to understand a little bit better how partnerships can really be, high functioning and work well. And so, I wrote that book. It's not expensive and it's very readable and I tried to make it very interesting, my stories about Ben and Jerry and all kinds of different partners. So, just wanted to mention that in case.

    - Is there information on your website for the book?

    - Oh sure.

    - Wonderful, so the website's BMCAssociates, I believe, .com, and we have David and Donna's contact information, email address, and website will be at the end of today's presentation. Donna, any last words from you?

    - I would just encourage anyone who has any thoughts of being in a partnership to check us out and it can be a fun experience and really be beneficial, and we'd be happy to help any way that we can.

    - Wonderful. Well, thank you both for your time today and for the audience today, thank you for joining us. My name's Phil Fish with Sandy Spring Trust, the host of our professional discussion series. As you noticed when you logged on to watch today's video there was no registration. We did not ask for your name, email, telephone number. This is a community educational hub hosted on our main website, so please share information about the programs with family, friends, both locally and around the country. You do not have to bank with us to participate in these discussions. I also host a seminar library of seminars that I've recorded on different topics. For those we do ask for your name and how you heard about the event, but we do not contact you unless you've asked. For those of you who bank with Sandy Spring Bank, thank you so much for banking with us. We've been around since 1868, founded after the Civil War, and we are the largest, local community based bank in the greater Washington region and we are who we are because of the clients who have chosen to do business with us. So, if you bank with us, thank you. If you don't bank with us we'd love to be your partner and help in any way. Reach out to any of our staff and we'd be happy to assist you in any line of business, of retail, personal business, mortgages, trusts, investments, you name it. Just give any of our staff a call and we'd be happy to help. So, I hope everyone is safe. On behalf of Sandy Spring Bank, please take care and have a wonderful day. Take care.

    Sandy Spring Trust does not endorse nor recommend the services of any person or entity not affiliated with Sandy Spring Bank.  

    The opinions and statements expressed by Drs. Donna and David Gage and BMC Associates reflect their own views and do not necessarily represent the views of Sandy Spring Trust.
    This material is provided solely for educational purposes by Sandy Spring Trust, a division of Sandy Spring Bank, and is not intended to constitute tax, legal, accounting or healthcare advice, or a recommendation for any investment strategy or transaction. You should consult your own tax, legal, accounting, financial or healthcare advisors regarding your specific situation and needs. Our staff will work closely with your advisors to coordinate your overall plan.  
    Sandy Spring Trust and the SSB logo are registered trademarks of Sandy Spring Bank. © 2021 Sandy Spring Bank. All rights reserved. 


  • Disclosure

    This material is provided solely for educational purposes by Sandy Spring Trust, a division of Sandy Spring Bank, and is not intended to constitute tax, legal or accounting advice, or a recommendation for any investment strategy or transaction. You should consult your own tax, legal, accounting or financial advisors regarding your specific situation and needs. Our staff will work closely with your advisors to coordinate your overall plan. 

    Sandy Spring Trust does not endorse or recommend the services of any person or entity not affiliated with Sandy Spring Bank. 

    Wealth and Insurance products are not FDIC insured, not guaranteed, and may lose value.

    Sandy Spring Trust and the SSB logo are registered trademarks of Sandy Spring Bank. ©2021 Sandy Spring Bank. All rights reserved.