What will you do after you sell the business?
By Jim Kendall
This column originally appeared in the April 27, 2015 Daily Herald
Let’s assume the planned sale of your business proceeds as planned; your financial advisor actually helps assure that the dollars you get from the sale will last as long as you do; and the morning of the first day after you’ve turned over the keys you sleep late – say, seven o’clock – have a leisurely breakfast with your spouse and. . .well, uh. . .maybe there could have been a little more planning.
Welcome to 21st century retirement, which people who advise business owners and others ready to move ahead apparently think can be a pretty cool place – assuming you’ve thought about what you’ll do.
“Retirement is beginning to change,” says Colleen Ceh Becvar. “We have more to give and more time.”
We certainly have more time. If, for example, you’re a male turning 65 today, the Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator says you can expect to live, on average, somewhat past 84. If you’re a woman celebrating the same birthday today, you can expect to live a tad beyond 86½.
Depending on your outlook, those life expectancies mean we either have a lot of days to fill or more opportunities to, in Ceh Becvar’s scenario, “answer a late-life calling, those causes close to your heart that you never had time for” when the business took so much time.
Ceh Becvar is a gerontologist and certified elder care coordinator at Strohschein Law Group LLC, St. Charles. Assuming reasonable health, she says, the time when responsibility for running a business is gone is a time to “Look for the activities that give purpose and meaning to your life.”
That’s where retirement planning sometimes falters. There are financial advisors who will help with investments; attorneys who will work on estate planning, and insurance people who will raise the specter of long-term care issues.
There also are professionals who will help with the transition from business-packed days to whatever lies ahead. They’re somewhat less visible, however.
Ceh Becvar is one. Barry Goodman is another.
“Fishing and golfing last about six months,” Goodman, managing director of Birkdale Transition Partners LLC, Chicago, said during a podcast on retirement activity planning earlier this year. But, he added in a mid-April follow-up interview, “Just because you sell your business doesn’t mean you’re out of the business world. There’s a demand for people to sit on boards (including advisory boards) and to become involved with non-profits.”
Some retiring business owners become involved in civic activities, Goodman says. Others turn to consulting – or even buy another business.
The key appears to be to plan your retirement free time as carefully as you plan your retirement finances. Goodman, who is president of the Greater Chicago chapter of the Exit Planning Institute, says, however, that most soon-to-be retirees don’t take that step. “We should consider a plan, but we don’t do it,” he says.