Recently, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, announced that he will be stepping down as CEO of retail giant Amazon after 27 years to focus on other passions. Maybe the events and uncertainty of the past year has you thinking about Mr. Bezos and thinking its time for a change?
If so, you are not alone. More than half of the advisors in our industry are already of retirement age. Over the last year, market volatility and the stress it generated led many advisors to conclude that they have had enough and it was time to retire. We received scores of calls over the last year from advisors looking for a quick exit. A few got lucky and found a fast buyer. Most are learning its easier said than done.
In our experience, most advisors would prefer to die with their boots on and don’t plan to ever retire. But sometimes, life happens. It may be a personal illness; it may be an illness or death of a family member that requires attention; or it may be a spouse who is tired of waiting to enjoy retirement. And when life happens, they want to retire ASAP. When that day comes, they discover that as soon as possible is not quite as soon as they would like.
It takes time. You will first need to decide on which is the best path forward is for you and your clients. Perhaps you would prefer to just sell your practice outright to a high bidder or the first bidder? Or maybe you will be more discerning to try to find the best fit for your clients? You may prefer to hire and train your own successor.
And maybe you are not quite ready to exit completely but would like to lighten your load. Outsourcing some of your responsibilities can help both in the near term and in your retirement planning. Last year’s market drama may have reminded you just how hard it is to work through volatility and you are now finally ready for someone else to carry the load in terms of the investment management. There are plenty of outsourcing options available to you that can meet both your needs and those of your clients. Finding the right outsourcing solutions takes time too.
As advisors, we are always helping our clients to plan for their futures. We encourage them to prepare for emergencies, to have a plan b, to have their ducks in a row. We are not quite as good at this when it comes to planning for ourselves. The events of the past year have certainly shown us about the unexpected. So make some time for yourself to start thinking about your future plans whether they are immediate or in the distance. Put yourself in a position to be prepared for when life happens. And then you will be ready when it’s time for a change. Just like Jeff Bezos.