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Regrets – I’ve Had A Few!


Regrets – I’ve Had A Few!

By , February 6, 2017

There have been several surveys done in recent years asking people in the latter stages of their careers if they had any regrets or, “if they had their time over again” what would they do differently? Perhaps not surprisingly the answers consistently follow a similar theme. Very few people ever say that they wish that they had spent more time at the office or at work. In one recent survey, the top-ranking regret was that they wish they had taken on more risk in their lives, taken more calculated risks rather than resisting the urge to “have a go”.

Based on ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) tables for 2010-2012, for a male turning 50 years of age today, they have a life expectancy of a further 32 years. For a woman it is 35.5 years. Are we prepared to waste those years and run the risk of looking back at the end of our careers and say “I wish that I had acted sooner and made some changes years ago”? One of the reasons that people don’t make more changes in their lives is that it is easier to tolerate the known, even if it isn’t ideal, than make changes that require effort and some additional perceived risk. At 25 years of age we looked upon change as exciting and with a degree of excitement and optimism. Now in our 50’s many of us would prefer to continue to function within our “comfort zones” than take on new and perhaps exciting challenges.

According to the MGI Australian Family and Private Business Survey 2013, 34% of retired business owners do not have an adequately funded retirement. This figure is up from 31% in 2010. At this rate of increase if we don’t make some real changes to the way many of us are tackling our business exits, more and more current business owners are going to have a less than desirable standard of living in retirement.

So, putting all these things together, if we don’t want to look back on our lives at the end of our careers with regret, and we want to make the most of the 30 or so years still ahead of us and we want to have an adequately funded retirement, what are we going to do about it? The first thing is start thinking about it and doing something now, rather than putting it off until next week or next month or next year. Planning for and organising your business exit needs to start 5 to 10 years ahead of when you want to sell or transition or exit. Starting this process 6 to 12 months before you want to exit is too short a time frame and will often result in a lower than desired sale price. Rather than waiting for a health scare to initiate the process, start now with a program of building your business value and getting it “sale ready”. Being sale ready doesn’t mean that you then have to sell it. It just means that it is at the top of its game.



Scott Patterson

Director | Succession Plus

Scott Patterson has extensive business and professional experience, including over 20 years as a principal of a highly successful public accounting and financial planning firm. His passion is working with clients to improve the value of their businesses, and create a more certain future for them, their stakeholders and their families.

Scott's aim is to deliver strategic thinking, tailored advice and integrated solutions for family businesses, SME's and agricultural enterprises.