Reframing Retirement

Tuesday, December 21 2021

By Wayne Vanwyck – Ted was approaching retirement with trepidation. At 70, he had worked over fifty years, built a successful business, taken few breaks and still went in six days a week. He has few outside interests and doesn’t really know how to relax. Like many entrepreneurs he wonders what’s he going to do if he is not working.

He might need a mind-shift to reframe his expectations – take a look through a different lens and change the picture. What if he were to think of retirement differently, not as sitting around doing nothing or playing golf all the time? What if he thought of it as the freedom to do only things he likes to do? Deal only with people he enjoys.

There’s a bonus to being able to sell your business: you have choices. You can continue working full-time, part-time, or not at all. You can take five day weekends. You can delegate everything you don’t enjoy to someone else. You can walk away and put your time and money into activities that give you pleasure or pride. You can:

  • Mentor young entrepreneurs
  • Invest in promising start-ups
  • Travel
  • Start new hobbies
  • Take courses about subjects that pique your curiosity
  • Read those books for which you’ve never had time
  • Join boards of directors and offer your expertise
  • Volunteer in an area of interest
  • Schedule regular lunches with friends, family or former business contacts
  • Become a philanthropist

Is it easy? That depends on you. Some entrepreneurs regret selling their business. Others feel a great weight lifted from their shoulders or blessed to be financially independent and done with the responsibilities inherent in owning a business. It will be emotional. It will be different.

Ted did sell his company. Unfortunately, since he’s had his nose to the grindstone all those years, he hasn’t looked up until now to consider what happens next. I’m afraid the change will be hard on him. He would have had more time and more options if he had started the process sooner.

The event of selling your business doesn’t determine if you are happy or sad. You do. Reframing allows you to decide – at least to a degree. There could still be times when you feel lost or out of sorts because you’ve lost your routines. Even positive change can be stressful.