As a business owner, it’s not uncommon to have a majority of your net worth tied up in your business. How do you retire when all of your assets are tied up in the business? What’s your legacy going to look like if your only asset is your business? What happens if your children don’t want any part of the business? This is a situation we see all too often. There are some simple steps you could take to make sure you’re able to retire and not depend on the equity within your business.

Do you realize that over 80% of all businesses are first generation businesses? Meaning that the founder of the business started the business and is still operating and working in the business? Also, less than 30% of all businesses make it to the second generation. So there is a great probability that for whatever reason, your children will not take over the business.

Let’s face it, kids these days have minds of their own. But what does that mean for your retirement? How do you retire if all of your assets are tied up in the business?

There’s an old saying that the benefit of a closely held business is just that, that it’s closely held. And you don’t have to consult a lot of owners or a lot of people when you’re making a decision. The bad part or the downside of a closely held business is that it’s closely held and you’re responsible for everything. So, there has to be a delicate balance between making enough money to operate the business, making enough money to grow the business and making enough money to make sure that you’re independent of the business so that you could leave on your terms.

The fact of the matter is, a lot of small businesses aren’t marketable, and the main reason for this is because the owner is the breadwinner of the business. If the owner was coming with the business, it would be worth a lot more than the business without the owner who’s been running it for however long. So what ends up happening with these small businesses is they’re forced to liquidate any inventory they have and any equipment that they have at fire sale close out rates and walk away, close the doors of the business for a fraction of the price that they would have got had they been able to sell the business as a whole.

So the danger is that you pour all of your profits back into the business by doing so, you’re literally locking up that money inside your business and setting yourself up where you may never be able to get the value of the money you actually put in, let alone a profit.


When you first start your business, it’s important to reinvest the profits so you’re able to grow and expand. But as your business matures, it’s even more important to diversify so that you have liquidity use and control of an asset and also have your business to provide income for you and your family.

How do you continue to operate and grow your business while at the same time making sure that your future, or your exit strategy, is independent on having to sell the business?

We recently came across a situation with one of our long time clients who was a business owner for 37 years and he had an offer to sell his business. But because he had over two times the value of the business in other assets, he didn’t have to take the first offer that came along and he was able to wait for the best offer to present itself.

As with any financial planning, taking steps early on to secure your financial future is best. And it’s never too late to start planning. By taking these steps to secure your financial future, you’re setting yourself up for success in retirement and also securing your legacy for your family. You’re not dependent on the sale of the business for your livelihood. Instead, you have a pool of cash that you have access to along the way, and the business to help support your income for you and your family.

This individual took the best offer that was on his terms. By selling his business and getting the best price possible, it was just sort of like frosting on the cake. You see, he wasn’t dependent on the sale of his business for retirement and said he had money set aside, that he had full liquidity use and control that he spent years accumulating so that he wouldn’t have to be dependent on the sale of that business in order to retire.

With cash comes control. And that’s the lens which we look through to make sure that our clients are making the best decisions possible and setting themselves up for growth today and also security in the future.

If you’d like to get started with a plan to secure your financial future for you and your family and your business, be sure to visit our website at Feel free to schedule a free strategy session. We’d love to chat with you.

And remember, it’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep that really matters.