Managing: Retirement Planning
The Jeweler's Transition Series: Part 1
Will your story have a happy ending?
Most jewelers I know love their jobs and have a true passion
for selling jewelry. Many have built their businesses from the
ground up, while others have stepped in to maintain and grow
a business begun by other family members. But for all the hard
work, long hours and sweat equity independent jewelers put into
their businesses, far too few put even a fraction of that effort
into planning for their future outside the jewelry industry.
As much as you love your business, the time will come when
you'll want to retire. Or perhaps the son or daughter you'd hoped
would take over has decided to do something else. Maybe increased
competition has taken all the fun and profit
out of the business and inspired a career change. Or unfortunate
circumstances of illness or death may bring about a surprising
and unplanned exit from the business.
One way or another, you'll find yourself in the inevitable
situation of having to sell your store or just shut it down.
We call this process "transition." If you haven't prepared
yourself, your family and your store for the process, it can
be an emotionally and financially unsettling experience.
Have you planned adequately for that time? In today's world,
a closeout retirement sale should provide a large amount of the
income necessary to sustain the lifestyle many jewelers anticipate
after they leave the business. Unfortunately, independent businesses
traditionally have not developed a structured, long-term transition
plan to make this happen.
It's time to start planning for your future. Serious thought,
commitment and preparation must begin years in advance of your
expected transition, with allowances and adjustments for contingencies
along the way. I've spent 30 years helping jewelers maximize
their assets and move into retirement. It can be a very gratifying
job, but it also can be heartbreaking. That's why my company,
Wilkerson & Associates, has established Wilkerson's Trade
The association is a free-membership organization formed to
encourage independent jewelers to take control of their post-industry
destiny and plan adequately for their future. The role of the
WTTA is to offer you guidance on maximizing your most valuable
asset your store.
We want you to stop thinking about retirement or closing your
store as a single event. Instead, we'll train you to start thinking
in terms of a smooth and profitable transition up to 10 years
before you actually retire or sell the store.
This monthly column will deal with many of the issues you'll
need to consider as you prepare for your own successful transition,
including succession planning, retirement event planning, investment
strategies and estate planning, store and inventory maximization,
and vendor support while transitioning. You won't find all the
answers here, but we expect this column to serve as a helpful
guide to getting you started.
Remember, the future is now. Everybody loves a happy ending.
Make a commitment to plan for yours.
By Bobby Wilkerson
Bobby Wilkerson is president of Wilkerson & Associates,
Stuttgart, AR; (800) 631-1999.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.