Predicting Business Retirement Satisfaction for Business Owners


Most business owners do not think of selling their companies as "retiring". Instead, these vital entrepreneurs see selling their business as a "transition." For most business owners this does not mean slowing down or endless days of rest and relaxation. Rather they see "retirement" as a new, active stage in their lives characterized by continued personal growth, personal reinvention and new beginnings in work and leisure.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that an entirely new paradigm for retirement is emerging. The good news is that many people are experiencing long, fulfilling and exciting retirements. The bad news is that many business owners will not be fully satisfied with retirement because of inadequate personal planning.

The key findings are as follows:

The concept of retirement as a "slowing down" is obsolete. Less than a quarter of business owners surveyed agreed with the idea that retirement is for relaxing and doing nothing. Instead, respondents viewed retirement as a new adventure or chapter in life (38%) or a continuation of life as it is (40%).

Approximately 95% of business owners expect to work in some capacity during their retirement, but said that money was not the sole motivator. Almost 50% said they wanted to work in retirement even if they received nothing at all.

Satisfaction with retirement is directly related to how financially prepared the business owner was for retirement. Over 60% of those who said they have more than adequate resources to support themselves in retirement reported that they were extremely satisfied with retirement. However, only 46% of business owners who reported that they had to cut corners in retirement indicated that they were satisfied with retirement.

It is important to realize that historically, retirement was something that relatively few people lived long enough to enjoy. Only one hundred years ago the average life expectancy was 47 years. As a result, most people worked until they became too weak to continue. Around the turn of the century, most adults spent only 3 years in retirement before they died.

However, in the early 21st century, the average life expectancy is 76 years and the average person chooses to retire at age 65. As a result, most people can expect to spend 11 years in retirement!

It is interesting to note that the modern concept of retirement as a time of leisure, travel, family activities, hobbies, and educational pursuits is the result of the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935. With the creation of Social Security, the United States government created a financial incentive for older workers to encourage them to retire in order to enable younger workers to take their place. This was considered good national policy at the time because it stimulated economic growth and progress.

Deciding to Retire

The Christman Group has worked with hundreds of business owners who were beginning to think about their retirement. The Christman Group's independent research identified six categories or groups of attitudes that directly impact a business owner's likely satisfaction with retirement. These categories include:

Perspectives about Work and Retirement
Financial Preparation
Expectations about Retirement
Friends, Family & Community
Health Concerns
Involvement during Retirement

Predictive Model Gauges Transition Satisfaction

Using this research, The Christman Group developed a predictive model to help business owners determine if they are psychologically prepared to exit their businesses and transition into a new stage of life.

The model contains thirty-six questions that gauge a business owner's attitudes, beliefs, and values regarding retiring or exiting from his or her business. These responses can then be used to predict a business owner's subsequent satisfaction with retirement. Understanding how a business owner feels about retirement on both a conscious and subconscious level is important before a business owner makes any important decisions about exiting or retiring from his or her business.

For a FREE copy of this predicitive model visit http://www.christmangroup.com or contact the author.

Author Bio: Rich Jackim, former Wall Street attorney and experienced investment banker has helped over 60 business owners successfully exit their companies and realize their personal goals. He is the author of the recenly published book, "The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners." Available at http://www.exit-planning-institute.org Rich is the president of The Christman Group LLC, a boutique investment bank that specializes in selling privately owned businesses. Visit http://www.christmangroup.com to learn more.

Rich received his BA from Colgate University, his JD from Cornell Law School, and his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He is a sought after speaker and has either published articles or been quoted in Business Week, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily Herald, Indianapolis Business Journal and numerous other regional and national publications.

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