Whether wrapping up your business before you retire has always been your goal, or if circumstances have pushed you into retirement, you will want tools in place so you can distribute or sell your business assets in a timely fashion. Having professionals in place to help you value your business for sale to the next generation, or brokers lined up to break it down and piece it out, will save you a lot of psychological stress and emotional upheaval. Your focus needs to be on taking care of your spouse and your descendants.
Protect Personal Assets
If your spouse is still alive, make sure that your insurance payouts, your home, and any cash or stock you have in your name will go directly as directed to the next of kin. While it can be an excellent idea to make a plan including a will and setting up a plan with a probate attorney, there are many documents you can take care of in the early stages of your retirement to protect your spouse and your kids. If you are looking for an attorney make sure to look for one in your area to help with any state laws. For example, if you live in Texas you might search for a Houston probate attorney. They should be able to help with making sure your estate is in order.
Get a Business Valuation
A quality business valuation will include much more than your buildings and manufacturing equipment. If you know you’re going to retire and others on your executive team are interested in buying you out, then you need to start backing away as soon as possible. If you’re an expert in your field or are a known authority, make sure that you let the business community and your industry leaders know that the next generation is on its way up and ready to go to work. If your buyer is already in-house, consider handing over the reins and working as a consultant as they become the face of the business. Unless your goal is to break up the business and sell off the assets, do what you can to support the new leadership team.
A Word About Financing
It may be tempting to take payments from the new owners as they gain ownership of the business and as you phase out. Unless you don’t need these payments, try your best not to do this. If they fail, you’ll wind up on the hook for the business. Any damage they did to the brand will be yours to handle. If you wind up foreclosing on buildings, storage facilities, or manufacturing equipment, you will become a business owner again. Work with the new owners to do provide as much help as possible to successfully launch. Consider financing some of the tangible assets; it will gain you monthly income and give them the flexibility of private debt. But don’t finance the whole business.
Set Up a Post-Sale Schedule
If you own your own business, you may not know how to take a day off. If that worries you, transition into another schedule. Get up at the same time and work on a book, mentor another young entrepreneur, raise chickens, or pick up a volunteer gig. Retirement doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. You can work just as hard as you ever did if you want. You just don’t have to work for money anymore. Find a cause that fires you up and block out time each week to make a change. You have the ability to visualize new directions. There are many not-for-profits that would love someone with your vision to tackle a particular problem.
Don’t sign up to be on a board if you’re not a good foot soldier. Find a local agency and let them know that you’re
- good in a crisis
- great at fostering new ways of thinking
- skilled at repairing disasters
Entrepreneurial thinking is different than moving forward step-by-step. You can clear the ground when the path is too rocky for linear movement. Skip the board and offer to serve as part of the crisis team.
Your working life wasn’t like the majority of those who made it to retirement age, so your retirement can be something completely different, too. Make sure that you lay the groundwork to get a fair payout for the assets you’ve built. Do as much as possible to protect your assets for your spouse and the next generation. Connect with a probate lawyer to take care of everything else, and stay active.
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.