Ep 18: Retirement Planning for Business Owners

This year has been pretty rough for business owners. The pandemic has not only affected profits, but also owners’ retirement plans. Find out what advice we have for business owners who are struggling with how to handle retirement.
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Show Notes For This Episode

On this episode of Saving the American Dream, we’re talking about business owners and how the pandemic has affected their retirement plans. We received a question from a listener, Ben, about this very topic.

Ben has owned a business for 20 years and is thinking about retirement within the next three to four years. But is he better off trying to sell the business or retaining ownership and hoping his employees can run it effectively without him actually being there?

This is a great question, and there’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, Ben should be proud of running a business for 20 years and even being able to contemplate retirement.

Small business owners are the backbone of America’s economy. It’s important that these businesses get transferred successfully to key employees, family members or a third party because the vast majority of new jobs in America come from small businesses, which is classified as a business that has fewer than 500 employees.

Oftentimes, business owners have more than 50% of their net worth tied up in the value of their business. So it’s critical that we make sure that, when they go to monetize their business, it’s going to produce enough value for them and income for them to actually be able to retire.

To successfully sell your business, it’s going to need to run effectively without you being there, whether or not you’re going to try to retain ownership because there’s going to be very little demand from potential buyers.

If every part of operations depends on your involvement, there are two ways look at it. Either your business owns you or you own your job, which is not the worst thing in the world, but that’s very difficult to transition to another owner.

At some point, whether it’s before you sell your company or after you sell your company, you’re going to need to get things out of your head and into someone else’s head so that the business can run successfully without you being there.

Listen to the full podcast or use the timestamps below to jump to a specific section.

Navigating the Show

[2:43] – Mailbag question about retirement

[6:57] – Sell business or retain ownership?

[9:34] Remaining an owner

[12:26] – Retaining key employees

[18:53] – Third-party ownership


Small business owners are the backbone of America’s economy. It’s important that these businesses get transferred successfully.

– Michael Schulte

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