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Most Boomer Entrepreneurs Reluctant to Stop Working

A poll finds that most don’t have a succession plan for their businesses

A man holds a historical photo in front of his small business

Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images

The poll results found that most boomer business owners haven’t thought about what will happen to their businesses when they're no longer at the helm.

En español | Most boomers who own small businesses aren’t thinking about retiring any time soon, and few have plans to turn their enterprises over to someone else, a recently released poll has found.

Nearly a third (31 percent) of boomer entrepreneurs who were polled aren’t planning to retire at all, and another 19 percent do not know when they’ll quit. Four percent say retirement is at least 11 years away.

Among those with no retirement plans, 68 percent said they love their work too much to quit, according to the poll of more than 1,000 small-business owners conducted by Edelman Intelligence on behalf of Nationwide Financial, an insurance and financial services firm. Some had more than one reason to keep working. Seventeen percent said they don’t think they will be financially able to quit. Eleven percent said they don’t want to entrust the business they built to someone else, and 9 percent said they want to leave a legacy with their company. Three percent said they’re afraid someone else would lose sight of their business vision, and 1 percent feared a new owner would bankrupt the company.

The poll results also indicated that most boomer owners haven’t thought much about what will happen to their businesses when they're no longer at the helm. Seventy-four percent haven’t established a succession plan. In comparison, only 37 percent of millennial business owners haven’t done such planning.

Many business owners may not feel a sense of urgency about creating a plan for successors to follow, Kirt Walker, Nationwide Financial president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. That’s a mistake, Walker said, because such preparations help protect the financial security of surviving family members.