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Opportunities aplenty: Helping business owners to retire

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Nearly 7 in 10 Canadian entrepreneurs (69 percent) value the guidance of an advisor. And 60 percent currently use a financial planner or wealth management advisor, according to new research.

BMO Wealth Institute, a unit of BMO Financial Group, discloses this finding in an October 2014 report, “Entrepreneurs: Definitely not your ordinary business owner.” Providing insights into wealth planning and financial decisions, the institute comprises professionals with expertise in wealth planning, including retirement, estate, tax and insurance.

“Professionals such as a wealth management advisors and business banking professionals can provide advice on a wide variety of financially related topics that can help the entrepreneur with both business issues and personal concerns,” the report states.

The research observes that most Canadian entrepreneurs are satisfied with advice provided by a wealth manager in these areas:

  • a child’s education (79 percent of respondents)
  • managing taxes (73 percent)
  • investment management (71 percent); and
  • financial planning (68 percent)



Nearly half of owners of small and mid-size businesses in Canada, as this chart shows, are between the ages of 50 and 64. And many of them are already thinking about turning over leadership of their companies to the next generation: Millennials born 1980 and 2000.

Business owners over age 50 also tend to experience stress. More than half (53 percent) of the entrepreneurs surveyed feel that running their business is stressful. This compares to 45 percent and 37 percent, respectively, of SBM owners ages 60 and older and younger than 50.

A contributing factor to the stress may be the long working hours. Nearly 6 in 10 entrepreneurs ages 50 to 59 and 54 percent of those over age 60 work more than 50 hours per week, the report shows.

A significant proportion of survey respondents (16 percent) express no desire to retire. Among those who do plan to quit, the anticipated date of the exit varies with age. The report’s explanation for this: As the owners age and their companies grow and prosper, they keep revising their expected time of departure.

“This may be partly a fear of the idea of retiring,” the report states. “The r-word is often not spoken among entrepreneurs and members of their inner circle.

“With so much invested in their businesses — emotionally, through their own hard work and financially — many entrepreneurs envision themselves working their last day and dying with their boots on…” the study adds. “The idea of dying with their boots on is further reinforced by the fact that a large majority of entrepreneurs (69 percent) do not have a formal written succession plan in place.”

The research adds that having an exit plan helps business owners to feel more positive than they might otherwise about their progress toward attaining key objectives.

When asked about their greatest concerns, 60 percent of Canadian business owners question their ability to retire from their businesses. Substantial percentages also are uncertain about whether:

  • they’re paying too much in taxes (51 percent);
  • who will take care of their families should die or become disabled (44 percent); and
  • who will take control of the business and how the business transition is to be achieved (39 percent)

Read the full report here.


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