12 May Don’t Sell. Retirement’s for Wimps!
Heck no. You don’t have to retire. Strom Thurmond remained a U.S. Senator through the age of 100. Dwight Hauff is 103 and owns Hauff Sporting Goods in Sioux City, Iowa. Jack Weil is 106 and still owns Rockmount, a Denver-based manufacturer of Western shirts.
Most people retire in their early 60s. Millions dream of retiring into a life of leisure. But it’s your life. It’s your business. Do it your way. Don’t sell. Just make arrangements so that when something happens to you, the business will go on and the family will not be left with uncertainty. Do the following:
- Get out of management: How can you insulate the business from the risk of “something happening to you”? Make yourself unimportant. Get out of management. Remove yourself from the organizational chart. Get to where you can take two months off and the business does not miss a beat. Your quality of life will improve and you can spend your time focusing on leadership, vision and growth initiatives.
- Automate ownership transition: Selling a business on the open market is a real chore. You probably don’t want to pass this job on to your heirs. A better solution is to determine, in advance, whom you want to succeed you as owners. Certainly, you’ll want to discuss this with the recipient as well as your legal and financial advisors. Typically, it’s a spouse, child or employee. You’ll want built-in mechanisms that deal with financial and tax implications of your structure. Insurance can be a tremendous tool for dealing with timing uncertainties and contingent financial obligations. Given ample time and skilled planning, almost anything is possible. Just be sure your plan does not cause undue hardship (financial, tax, legal or otherwise) and that there is no dispute over control.
- Establish who will step in if you become incapacitated: You’ll want to provide, in writing, a clear protocol for when and if you may be deemed unable to manage your own affairs (and those of the business); who will step in to take your place; and any limits to that person’s authority.
- Provide for your family: Often, the business is the main source of wealth for a family. How will your plans for your business impact your family? Will they lose their source of income? Will they inherit financial or managerial obligations? Will they inherit wealth that could cause problems? Will your plans Unleash disappointment or jealousy? These are critical issues for any family. You’ll want to investigate the various scenarios; talk to experts; and likely prepare your family, in advance, for what the future holds.
Laying the groundwork to “do it your way” will take a lot of time, work, thought and the assistance of experienced experts. That will be nothing new to you. Nothing good comes without hard work and sustained effort.