Why Your Business Shouldn’t Be Your Only Retirement Plan

You can’t depend on selling your company for big bucks to fund your dream retirement. Instead, consider these three smart saving, investing and succession tips.

A small business owner looks over paperwork while sitting at a table in his restaurant.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For many business owners, their companies are more than just a way to support themselves during their working years — they’re also their retirement plans. After all, years spent pouring energy into an enterprise can yield a profitable business that, when sold, offers ample funds to support the owner through their golden years.

In reality, this strategy comes with risks. Consider Gary, an optometrist in Georgia. For more than two decades, Gary expanded his patient base and grew the practice’s profitability. Last year, he expected to sell his practice for approximately $3 million to $4 million and retire comfortably. Yet when it came time to sell, a corporate optometry chain opened a location in his town, and prospective buyers were no longer willing to pay what he thought the business was worth. Gary could get at most $2.5 million, leaving him with a significant gap in his retirement funds because he was too preoccupied with running his business to diversify his retirement planning strategy.

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Stephen B. Dunbar III, JD, CLU
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Executive VP, Equitable Advisors

Stephen Dunbar, Executive VP of Equitable, has built a thriving financial services practice where he empowers others to make informed decisions and take charge of their future. He and his team advise on over $3B in AUM and $1.5B in protection coverage. As a National Director of DEI for Equitable, Stephen acts as a change agent for the organization, creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. He earned a bachelor's in Finance from Rutgers and a J.D. from Stanford.