Entrepreneurs love to work and retirement is a distant concept for many of them, says an Investors Group survey of Canadian owners of small and medium sized businesses. More than a third (39 per cent) of these business owners plan to work until they are in their 70s, with 14 per cent saying they will never retire. Another 27 per cent say they will exit between ages 65 and 69. It also found more than half (53 per cent) of Canada’s small business owners/operators don’t have a succession plan in place, with a majority saying it’s because they are not ready to retire, including 69 per cent who are boomers (44 to 64 years). “Unfortunately leaving succession planning until retirement leaves little time to deal with what can be a complicated process,” says Jack Courtney, vice-president, high net worth planning, at Investors Group. “While there can be great variation in their circumstances, they are all likely to need advice on tax strategies, investments, and family wealth planning to maximize the fruits of their labour.” Of those who are planning ahead for a smooth transition, only 14 per cent of small business owners/operators have a written succession plan. When it comes to making decisions about transitioning their business to new ownership, the survey found cold cash overrides blood ties for small business owners. An overwhelming majority (85 per cent) say their family members are not interested in taking on their business, and, according to survey respondents, the highest bidder (24 per cent) would be the first choice of a potential buyer. Family (18 per cent) and business partners (17 per cent) are less favoured suitors.
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