Just like with your business, if you don’t set goals it is very hard to get where you want to go. Retirement is no different. Many entreprenuers I meet have no idea what retirement looks like, only that they want to get there. Many others who have decided to sell their businesses end up going back to work because retirement wasn’t what they thought it would be or cost more than they figured.
If you spend some time to visualize what exactly you want and then run the numbers on what it will cost, not only will you be much more likely to get there sooner(or at all) but it will also help you make a lot of decisions (including tax planning and accounting decisions) about your business that you might not otherwise realize or make.
Serial entrepreneur Glen Blickenstaff says his retirement goal of living on a boat is the benchmark to which he measures all his business decisions.
About seven years ago my wife and I sat on our back porch and decided what we wanted when we retired, or semi-retired because I have some writing I want to do. I was surprised at both her interest in the topic and her choice. You see for about eighteen years I have been looking for a boat. Not just any boat, a 1955 to 1965 fifty-plus foot Chris Craft Constellation or Commander.
Well she said, “Why don’t we buy your boat and then live on it?” I was floored. Did she mean it? She had done some research about living aboard yachts and decided this was for us. So for the last seven years we have been looking for just the right one. Hopefully we aren’t too many years away.
My goal is not extravagant, but it is a goal. Now we look at opportunities or aspects of the business and always measure it against one particular benchmark. Does it help us move toward the boat? That’s the question. It has become both a bellwether and common frame of reference for me and my most important partner.