When Your Parents Want to Retire

Taking Action

Further, urge your parents to establish a time frame for the transition-even if the deadline is five years away. That helps reduce the fear of letting go. "And when a person makes a public declaration of plans to family and key managers, that keeps him or her moving toward the transition target date," says Michaud.

Another suggestion is to try "practice runs" at retirement. "Taking more vacations, coming into work four days a week instead of five, or going to Florida for three months during the winter, helps the senior generation gradually make the adjustment into retirement," says Michaud. It also puts their minds at rest that you can run the business successfully, even when they're not there every minute of the day.

Resources to suggest if the retiring family business head wants to discuss the transition in a structured setting:

For university-affiliated family business center seminar groups, call the Family Firm Institute in Boston at (617) 789-4200 or go to www.ffi.org.

For information on weekend retreats at the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, part of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, call (828) 251-6140 or visit www.unca.edu/ncccr.

Contact Sources

  • Lansberg, Gersick & Associates LLC, 100 Whitney Ave., #1, New Haven, CT 06510, lga@lgassoc.com
  • The Michaud Group, (630) 927-5555, michaudgrp@aol.com
  • Notch Mechanical Constructors, (413) 534-3440.
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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Swan Song.

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