Bridger Financial Group



Greentree Commons, 381 Mansfield Avenue, Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA, 15220




Retirement Planning is Challenging... and Women Business Owners need to go the Extra Mile 

By Melanie Colusci 

I just caught myself daydreaming about the day I retire. I'm not sure I have wrapped my arms around what that even means yet or how it will feel, but today it sure sounds nice. I imagine a perpetual feeling of being on vacation where I get manicures regularly, volunteer and play with the grandkids. I know in this retirement dream I am living a life of leisure completely stress free. And just as quickly and easily as I was able to envision this retirement of my dreams, I'm jolted back to reality with the ding of my e-mail notification letting me know there was some issue in my business I need to take care of. 

As a wife, mother and woman business owner I feel like I am constantly juggling the needs of my family and that of my business. There are times when it's hard to consider the possibility of retiring let alone add another "to-do" item to my list labeled "plan for retirement." It feels overwhelming and who knows where to start? In addition, how do we overcome some of the challenges we were given simply be being born a woman? Here's what I know...

If you are age 65 today, life expectancy for men is age 84.3 and life expectancy for women is age 86.6.1 Thus means, statistically speaking, we have to cover our income needs for a longer period of time. 

Typically when it comes to taking time off to help care for children or raise a family that responsibility often falls on the mother. In a Harvard Business Review survey conducted in 2005 of highly qualified professionals, they determined 43% of the women surveyed with children did take time off compared to only 24% of men.2 Unfortunately that leads to either less saved towards retirement because we have less time to save it, or less income in retirement. 

Not only do I have to worry about saving more because I will live longer, I also have my business to consider. Who will take it over? What does a retirement transition plan look like? Is it sustainable without me? What happens to the clients?

It's important to not only plan for our individual retirement but also our busines's "retirement" from us. 

My business is my baby. I have nurtured, loved and cared for my business for over 20 years. It's hard to imagine a day, when jsut like my children, I have launched and handed over the keys to my business to someone else. 

It has been my experience in working with other business owners that it is important to start creating your retirement plan both for you personally as well as your business years in advance. I often use the analogy when meeting with clients that retiring is like climbing a mountain. A mountain climber wouldn't create their plan to get down the mountain once they've reached the top. They would create their plan to get down the mountain before they even started their journey. This is one of the challenges roday, we are often so focused on working IN our business that we don't typically set aside time to work ON our business until it's almsot too late. Don;t wait! Set aside time regularly where you will be un-interrupted that you can work on your business which includes its retirement plan. 

Some of the considerations when creating your business retirement plan: 

  • Have you identified someone who you believe shares similar values and work ethic that might be a good candidate to take over your business?
  • What transition period (how much time for changeover) do you feel would create the highest probability for a successful transition?
  • If you have identified a successor what sort of training/onboarding will they need?
  • Do you know the value of your business? If not, do you know a professional that can help with this?
  • How will the financial aspect (buy-out) be structured?
  • How will you best communicate to customers/clients about the transition to help them feel confident?

There are many aspects of making sure your business transition plan for retirement will be as successful as it can be. Take the time to think through how you envision your business's retirement plan. Once you've created this vision, meet with a professional in this area to help you create and execute your plan. It's important to first create a sound plan for you and your business in order to to make that plan become a reality. Then you can focus on your other priorities both now and in retirement. 

I just hit send on my response to the e-mail that so rudely woke me up from my brilliant retirement dream. I will take the opportunity now to look at my calendar and block out some time to start my business's retirement plan. Who knows... maybe I will be off to the manicure before I know it! 

























Becoming Successful Takes Hard Work.  Staying Successful Takes Planning.

The reality is becoming a successful business owner takes hard work. That means hours and hours dedicated to researching, planning, and building your vision. And whether it takes months or years, at some point your vision becomes reality and you truly find success. Of course everyone measures success differently, but once your business takes off, new challenges emerge.

That’s why planning is critical for ongoing business success. Most business owners recognize the importance of planning but feel there just isn’t time. Once you reach a certain level of success, there are now other variables that you need to consider. These are the unforeseen factors that can come out of nowhere and potentially derail the business you worked so hard to build. Things like changes with the economy, taxes, your health or a vital employee can be outside of your control and could make maintaining and growing your business difficult. If you haven’t already addressed these often-overlooked planning areas, consider these potential challenges:

  • Succession Planning. Most people don’t focus on the “what-if’s” that could disrupt business but planning for these can literally save your business. What’s your plan if you get divorced, become disabled or lose a professional license? Or, if you have a business partner, what happens if he or she leaves, passes away or gets divorced?

  • Retirement Planning. If you’re like many people, your business IS your retirement so you re-invest your profits back into the business. There are unique challenges that business owners face with this retirement strategy. Planning now can help you identify the best way to address your particular situation.

  • Employee Planning. Many businesses thrive because there are one or more key employee(s) whose skills, business knowledge and dedication are vital for ongoing success. Protecting your business before losing your most important employee can make a world of difference for long-term success.

  • Estate Planning. Often, business owners think estate planning is only for the very wealthy. But, if the majority of your assets and net worth is tied to the business then it’s critical to have a plan in place in case something happens to you. Especially if you’re married, have children or one or more business partners.

Now that you know more about these potential business pitfalls, including them in your long-term planning can help with ongoing business success. After working so hard to build up your business, don’t leave the future to chance. Set aside time quarterly for ongoing planning that grows and protects your business vision. In addition, develop strategies to address those financial planning areas that may be out of your control.


The information in this material is not intended as specific investment or planning advice . It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.

Registered Representative of, and Securities and Investment Advisory services are offered through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc., (HTK), Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC, 130 Springside Drive, Suite 100, Akron, Ohio 44333. 330.668.9065. Bridger Financial Group and other listed entities are independent of HTK.  HTK does not provide legal and tax advice. Always consult a qualified tax advisor regarding your personal tax situation and a qualified legal professional for your personal estate planning situation.

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