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Life After Leaving the Family Business

Life After Leaving the Family Business

| September 21, 2022
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Finding Your Life Ambition After Leaving your Family Business

For our family business owner clients, the thought of handing over the reins to a successor is typically not their biggest concern. They’ve known the day will come when they need to move on, and, though it can be an emotional experience, they’ve prepared for it. However, few stop to really think about what’s to come—that is, how they are going to spend the next twenty or so years outside of family business life. 

For family business owners, their sense of purpose and identity has come from building a successful family enterprise, and suddenly that’s gone. How can they replace that outside of all they’ve known for so long? 

With the likelihood of living 20 or more years in retirement, it’s no longer enough for retirees to know how much money they will need to live, but how they can make the most of this new stage of life. That’s where our clients find our advisory relationship to differ from your typical advisor-client engagement. We don’t just help them crunch the numbers, we are there to help walk them through their options and plan a life they look forward to retiring to.

 

Finding Your Life Ambition

Unfortunately, there is tons of research out there that supports what advisors see all the time: retirees who suddenly find themselves removed from the action or separated from “the tribe” of the family business are less likely to feel content in retirement. But those who find ways to stay engaged and productive are happier in all aspects of their lives.

We always encourage our clients to start the planning for this chapter as soon as they can by trying out new things or exploring their potential routines before they actually retire. The interests that stick can then be enjoyed now and more fully developed as they cross the retirement threshold. Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Try Something New Every Week

Being open to new experiences can help you adapt to change. By trying something new every week, you may discover a wonderful experience you want to embrace further. This could be trying a new dinner recipe, attending a book review at your library, or watching a movie from a different genre. This may open your eyes to a skill or interest you never expected.

  • Learn a New Skill

We’re never too old to learn new tricks! And there is no need to keep yourself boxed into the person you’ve always been. Maybe you regret quitting piano lessons in your youth, so start again. You never considered yourself artistic? Try a paint-and-sip class where local artists guide you step-by-step through a painting while you enjoy wine with friends. Or just go online. YouTube is full of how-to videos that can teach you just about anything you want to learn. Then find others who are engaging in similar interests.

  • Share Your Knowledge

Consider yourself very fortunate; you have valuable knowledge and skills that can be matched with worthwhile endeavors. Whether working with young entrepreneurs, mentoring a high school student, training seniors in new skills, or offering back-office skills to a charitable organization, you have a rare opportunity to improve your quality of life while making a difference in your community. Start by carving out just three hours a week to use your knowledge and skills in a new way.

  • Find Your New Passion

You are passionate about running your business because it is something you do exceptionally well. Being able to exercise your passion every day is what leads to true self-fulfillment. Find your new passion in a unique ability you have-cultivate it, work on it, and improve it. Then find a way to use it as often as possible. 


As someone who has committed your life to build a successful business, you probably would not be content simply trading in a life of work for a life of leisure in retirement. It will be your first opportunity to take control of your time and exchange your career for something you really want to do – something that will have a lasting impact on your health and well-being. It’s about having a real ambition for your retirement. What’s yours? 

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