Business Owners With No Retirement

In my experience, 70% of my clients who own businesses do not have a retirement savings plan. For many entrepreneurs, their wealth is tied up in their firms. They may have used previous retirement funds to start their business which is a huge risk if the company doesn’t make it. Or they simply don’t make enough money to fund the business and the retirement fund, banking on selling the business to fund their retirement.

In addition to reinvesting every penny back into the business, they put their heart and soul into the business. This emotional attachment can lead owners to inflate the value of their business which can have dire consequences for retirement.

These few steps can help you pursue your retirement goals.

Know your Personal Number
How much money will it take to replace the income derived from your business?  And it’s not just about money.  As an owner, the benefits of the business can include financial assets like automobiles, health and life insurance, vacation homes, travel and entertainment expense and more.

Have a clear understanding of your core capital requirements. This will require a thoughtfully prepared budget that details your fixed expenses like mortgage and utilities along with your discretionary expenses like clothes and travel.

Know Your Professional Value
Like their employees, owners take an income.  In retirement, the income spigot shuts off.  When retirement is based on the sale of the business, valuation becomes paramount. If the price of the business was undervalued; or worse, overvalued and doesn’t sell; owners and their families simply won’t have the retirement funds needed to live the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

Like in selling a home, a professional valuation from a qualified appraiser is needed. You can search for a business-valuation expert accredited by the American Society of Appraisers at It is critical to know your assets and liabilities, the underlying drivers of the business, and the marketplace.

Know Your Exit Plan
Kiplinger reports that although 53% of baby-boomer owners intend to exit their businesses in the next decade, nearly 90% of them don’t have a written plan to achieve that goal.[i]

Start early in positioning the business for sale.  It takes an average of 2-4 years to sell a small business.  Consider the business’s ability to sell, its readiness and your timing. It took you years to build the business. Take your time in selling it.

Assemble your group of advisors including attorney, CPA, and financial advisor.  A good business-valuation expert will need time to explore your business, the marketplace and your industry.  And selling a business can be time-consuming unless it’s to a family member. Consider working with a business broker or a mergers and acquisitions advisor.


The preparation should help you to improve your financial records, business structure and customer base to make the business more profitable. As always, we stand by to help in any way to help ensure that your lifestyle is preserved and your legacy lives on.

Olson Wealth Group is a full service wealth management firm. With wise counsel and clear strategies, our experienced specialists provide tailored approaches that strive to maximize wealth. For more information, please visit

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Registered states include: AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL,GA, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TX, VA, WA, WI, WY. This material is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice.


[i] Kiplinger; Sell Your Business to Fund Retirement by Eleanor Laise, Senior Editor, 9/2/11


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