A Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Published on: 19:08PM Dec 08, 2009
For the agribusiness owner, retirement should be a light at the end of the tunnel. For some it’s a sense of freedom and reward. But, for others it’s an oncoming locomotive at full speed. Regardless, any business –  be it a farm, agribusiness and large operation –  is only as valuable as the return (monetary, and beyond) a person is able to derive from ownership.
It’s not uncommon for an owner, after 40-some years at the helm, to suddenly realize there may not be enough money to fund a 20 to 30 year retirement. Faced with a severe money shortage and few alternatives, the idea of drawing equity from the business or asking the children to buy shares may be less than ideal.  
If you lean towards retirement, what should you do? Where do you start? And, how might you make decisions?
Use some quiet time to detail in writing the ideal situation you want to see in the future – vocationally, familially and financially. All too often people sacrifice opportunity, and falter behind self-imposed constraints, by thinking first and only of money. Take a few moments and ask yourself the following questions:
1.    How will I spend my time in retirement?
a)    Continue to work in the business, or create a new venture?
b)    Do volunteer work, or pursue hobbies?
c)    Assuming that a person can only play so much, what else will I do?
2.    As I prepare for retirement, how do I want to develop my business?
a)    To support expansion?
b)    Prepare for sale?
c)    Create a legacy to future generations?
3.    Have I considered alternatives to complete retirement?
4.    Are my children, grandchildren, loyal employees and/or extended family interested in continuing to grow the business?
5.    Do I see a financially satisfying path to retirement?
More on Succession Planning:
Conversation Starters  Planning Tool from Legacy by Design
Retirement Options – Previous Legacy by Design blog posts
Register for AgConnect – Orlando, January 13-15, 2010

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