Retiring? Plan Now!

Laura M. Porinchak / January 2019

Welcome to a brand new year. I never make resolutions, simply because I know they won’t happen or last long, but I know a lot of people who do. I do, however, have a bucket list, which contains things that also probably won’t happen but are fun to think about. Go on an African safari. Chase a tornado. See the aurora borealis in person. Stuff like that. Things that get more unlikely the older I get.
I think some of the things on my bucket list won’t happen because I won’t have the time. Some of my friends are talking about retiring, but I can’t get serious about my own retirement because I like my job, and as long as I can keep up with the technology and remain in good health, I can do it for a very long time. (Plus, I need and want the money!) My friends are in the early stages, slowly making plans for future vacations and home renovations. Most importantly, many of them have a date or age in mind for when they will give up working on a daily basis. I don’t have anything like that in mind. Not yet, anyway.
Are you thinking about retiring? If you answered yes, then you can’t approach it with an attitude like mine. When I do finally retire, it’s simple. I just don’t go to the office the next day. But if you own a small business, you need to start planning now. Absolutely right now. That’s the strong message I got from the article on succession planning we have on page 30. Once you start thinking about retiring, put your succession plan in motion. Pick the person or team who will take your business into the future. Don’t feel pressured to pick a family member. Groom them, if necessary, for as long as possible. There are several ways to go about it, you just have to find the one that’s right for you and your company. AWCI member contractors who talked to us for the article provide some great suggestions and advice for young and old. But keep reading.
Our next feature article, which you’ll find on page 36, discusses blending old-fashioned ways of doing business with today’s technology. Paul G. Krasnow, author of “The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life,” tells you how you can strike a good balance between the two if you know how to read your customers properly. The 11 tips presented in this article—including using Skype versus picking up the phone, and using email or e-newsletters to keep your name in front of your clients—may make you rethink how you communicate with some people.
Our last feature is about customer loyalty, warranties, working for free and when to not panic. If you’ve been reading this magazine for a while, you know the work of this article’s author, S.S. Saucerman. He’s a funny guy, but he’s also a good teacher. Sometimes it’s hard to encapsulate his work in just a few sentences (yes, I’m struggling a little here), so let’s just say it’s another good one with a valuable lesson. I look forward to more pearls of wisdom from him this year, and I hope you do too. And if you haven’t been reading this magazine for a while, make page 40 your next stop.