Preparing for your retirement

Retirement is something you’ve worked your entire life for. It’s your time to sit back, take stock of everything you’ve achieved in your working life, and to relax.

But for some—family business owners in particular—the prospect of retiring after a lifetime of hard work can be a daunting one.

And it’s not just the thought of what to do: you’ve become accustomed to a certain level of lifestyle, and retirement can mean an adjustment to a different level of income.

Enjoying your retirement to its fullest all comes down to having the right plans in place

A 2015 KPMG and Family Business Australia survey found that only 9% of family business owners have a plan firmly in place for their retirement.

The takeaway from this is that many family business owners out there are unsure of the mechanisms to put in place that will enable them to maintain an adequate income post-retirement, or even how to access these mechanisms.

The starting point for retirement planning lies in your biggest asset: your business.

Making the most of your family business

For family business owners, the first step to retirement comes with deciding whether to sell your business, or if you want to keep the business in the family.

Selling a family business is a valuable nest egg that can add millions, if not tens of millions of dollars towards your retirement—but only if you sell it outright. Selling the business you’ve worked hard to build to an unaffiliated third party allows you to cleanly part ways, wash your hands of it, while at the same time unlocking a windfall that can go a long way towards a long, comfortable retirement.

But this takes on an altogether different nature when you hand over the reins to a family member.

The issue is that a significant portion of your wealth is tied up in the valuation of your business. So if you’re transferring ownership to another family member at least part of this equity needs to be released in order to maintain a level of income into retirement.

Given the family ties, a straight buyout from a family member is usually unfeasible. The reliance on such an event could spark interfamily conflict, leading to a degradation of relationships, and a decidedly unhappy retirement.

While this might seem like a huge first step, the good news is that there’s help out there.

How to start your retirement planning

Engaging a trusted, independent financial adviser to support you in this planning means you’re putting yourself on the path to a successful transition.

With their guidance and support, you’ll be able to determine how much money you need to live the lifestyle you desire, and how to structure the sale of your business so that it allows for this.

So our advice? Speak to your trusted financial adviser and raise your intention to retire.

They can begin the process of collaborating with their team of professionals, and start creating a cohesive, comprehensive transition plan that’s well thought out, financially effective, and considers your unique family dynamic and relationships. A plan that looks at all areas of your life.

With a holistic, long-term plan in place, you can take comfort knowing that when it’s time to retire, all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the next stage of your life.

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