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Why do Business Owners Struggle With Retirement?

(Hint: It’s not about the money.)

“It’s no mystery why you keep working!”

With 20+ years in the industry, the following are true statements:

·      Most business owners struggle with the thought of retirement.

·      Many owners considering retirement have plenty of money. 

·      Many say they want to retire.

·      Many say they’re ready to retire. 

Yet years pass as they struggle emotionally. Why?

A strong social component has been ignored. According to John Cacioppo, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and director of the university’s Center for Cognitive & Social Neuroscience,

“We think about financial protection in retirement, but we think very little about social resilience after retirement.”

Social Connections & Isolation

Being connected to a diverse network of friends and associates matters.  Temporarily feeling alone or isolated can occur in a room full of people, so the focus here is on feeling connected, both socially and emotionally.

Not feeling connected is social isolation.  Researchers have determined this isolation can be as harmful as cigarettes and drinking, actually shortening lives.

You may be asking, “How does this affect me as a business owner?”

(The answer is surprisingly simple.)

Social Connections vs. Retirement

As a business owner, let’s look at your social connections: 

Q:  In a typical day, who do you primarily communicate with? 

A:  Employees, vendors, suppliers, clients, sub-contractors, etc. 

The vast majority of your social connections are work related!  (Termed ‘social portfolio‘.)  Just the thought of not working equates to the elimination of these connections. What follows?  According to science, feelings of loneliness and social isolation. 

It’s no mystery why you keep working!

The (not so silly) Key Question

While working, most owners likely feel ‘emotionally connected’.  However, the not-so-silly key question is, “Who are my connections outside of work?”

Spending time now successfully cultivating a ‘social portfolio’ away from the office will prove to be a solid investment of time, also making the decision to retire an easier one.