human resources small business

Retire? Me?

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

Retire? That’s a discussion for others……… isn’t it?

A century ago, we worked until we died or became disabled. The Depression and WWII gave us Social Security and pensions. Now we have folks fearing they will never be able to retire – while many losing their jobs in the recession are involuntarily doing so.

Personal capacity building

Have you actually thought much about retirement? Do you, like many, intend to get around to thinking about it …. sometime? Do you love your work so that you fool yourself into believing that you will never retire? That your circumstances will never change? The most common predictor of early retirement for men is illness or job loss. For married women: the disability or illness of their husband.



Retirement has both financial and personal aspects. Many of us don’t plan for either. And real planning should begin early, at least five years out for both.

Do some personal ‘what-if’ planning. Studies show that women still are more likely to be the care-givers. And this may mean that you will, as I have, end up caring for several older relatives in their last years. Dealing with the medical, emotional, and housing issues is not easy. All these and others related to aging family take far more time and energy than you expect — even if you can afford good help. And this hits your business directly, often disastrously.

Retirement and disability issues are all more difficult if you are a business owner. You can stockpile large emergency funds, buy key-man insurance, have disability insurance and a retirement plan for yourself, take other steps, or do all of these. But you still need to discuss what might happen with your family, your partners, your lawyer and CPA and other advisors – and plan!

For those of us fully invested in our work, planning the personal side is often even harder than the financial. Yet it is critical too. Think of all you gain from your work. How will you replace those positives – respect, recognition, creativity, learning, whatever – when you retire? If you plan to work forever, what will you do if you cannot?

Got employees?

Offering simple retirement options is attractive in hiring and retaining staff. Recent studies show even young employees are very concerned about money for retirement. Your benefits broker can show you a range of retirement savings options tailored to your organization’s needs and finances.

But you also need to think about what you plan to do when a valued employee suddenly is confronting elder care issues or an ill spouse. You may not have to comply with specific laws, if you are small enough, but you will find it hard to decide what you should do in the heat of the moment.

Do It Now!

Put a little time on your calendar NOW and think about the retirement related issues you face personally and in your business. List the advisors you have who can help. Get this on your planning horizon, act now, and make your life easier tomorrow.

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