The Boomer Generation of Business Owners enters the Retirement Years

Baby Boomers – how do you reach the Retirement of your Dreams?

The largest generation in US history, The Baby Boomer generation born between 1946 and 1965, is reaching retirement age. In total, this generation is 78,000,000 members strong. (U.S Census Bureau)

According to The Small Business Economy: Report to the President 2007 there are 26.8 million

Baby Boomers are entering the retirement years
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small businesses (defined as fewer than 500 employees) in the US. Assuming 50% of these businesses are owned by boomers that will need to transition their business in the next 20 years that equals 13.6 million companies.

The boomer generation defined itself in individualism, accomplishment, freedom of expression, music, social change, and consumption of material objects.

We are a generation of dreamers who want our lives to be full and are not afraid to take chances to attain that elusive “peace of mind” and “to make a difference.” For those boomers who thought they could change the world in the 1960s, a dream delayed is not a dream denied!

Many baby boomers are still looking to change at least their corner of the world or community by starting ventures that tackle social challenges.

Boomers who conformed to what we needed to do to support our families, educate our children and keep up with the Joneses, are now coming to the age of what about me? When will I get to do what I want to do?

Boomer generation owners of privately-held businesses must recognize that to be in position to open the door to their next life phase, they are faced with two major issues:

1) Generation X, the group of would-be buyers, is 60% (48,000,000) the size of the boomer generation, creating a smaller pool of interested buyers.

2) Only 22% of boomer business owners report having done any transition or succession planning! (Pricewaterhouse Coopers Trendsetter Barometer January 2005). These owners are just too busy working in their businesses to work on them. The Great Recession of 2008 has accentuated this “bunker mentality.”

The impact on owners’ futures will be profound as owners state 75% or more of their net worth is typically represented in such an illiquid asset.

Forward thinking owners who plan for their Life Beyond BusinessTM are not just selling to fund retirements, they’re planning to:

a)      Grow the business to maximize value.

b)      Time their departure and transition on their own terms, according to their dreams.

c)      Enter into a new life phase that puts them in control with limitless free time to travel at will and/or to leave a legacy for family and for causes that matter to them.

The transition out of a business is an opportunity to make life all about your dreams and desires, new experiences and opportunities.

The outcome for boomer owners who fail to plan could be quite different.

Will they get lucky and have that perfect buyer find them at the right time, willing to pay what the owner needs to charge into their dreams?

Or will the owner be stuck with a business that limits personal freedom and may be difficult or impossible to sell due to the lack of strategic planning to increase the marketability and value of their largest single asset?

Owners who delay planning leave their future to chance and face a reduced pool of buyers, placing the value of their life’s work at risk.

The fact is that baby boomers or any owners who prepare themselves and their businesses well in advance will be able to move on with confidence to their next adventure, on their terms.

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