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Now is the time to plan for retirement

By Marcelle Dibrell

Among the most important considerations for any American worker is their retirement plan. While there is that portion of the labor force who intend to work until the day they die, for many of us, that simply isn’t possible. And for most of us, it isn’t what we want.

No – we hope for some wellearned time off. Finally make time for hobbies. Fly off to Europe. Get an RV and see the country. Spend quality time with the grand kids. Just not have to be anywhere. It’s a relief.

But it takes money to stop working, and, in most cases, quite a lot. It’s something you actually have to think about and save for. It’s called a retirement plan.

This month, Service Industry News sent a brief survey to our readers asking broadly about your exit strategy. Responses to this survey were overwhelming. In fact, it was the best response rate we’ve seen in years, indicating that retirement planning is indeed on your minds.

Not surprisingly, the heaviest response to our survey came from our older readers – those who are nearing retirement, with a median age of 59.

We asked when our readers planned to retire and found that while the median planned retirement age was 65, 11 percent plan to work through the rest of their lives. An additional 2 percent said they would work until they were physically incapable, and 12 percent just don’t know.

We asked how our readers plan to dispose of their routes, and learned that the overwhelming majority have no idea. (Pool route sales is an important topic for pool service owners and is covered in more detail in accompanying articles).

We asked our readers to describe their retirement plans and found a substantial number of respondents, 12 percent, had no plan.

Others answered that they intend to live off the sale of their business, sharing details on how they would accomplish the sale. About 34 percent of respondents said they would use the proceeds from their company’s sale to pay for their living expenses.

Some plan to sell their businesses outright. But more said they would sell the company, taking payments over time to fund their retirement.

Many pool service technicians don’t intend to fully retire: 25 percent of respondents said they would take a part-time job.

But a good percentage of respondents have already made solid retirement plans: 18 percent mentioned IRAs; 6 percent said they had 401 (k) plans; 27 percent said they otherwise invested; and 9 percent plan to use income property to live on. Although pensions are becoming obsolete, 11 percent of respondents say they will be receiving income from one.

And though not every respondent acknowledged Social Security benefits, this income will surely play an important role in their retirement.

About 20 percent of responses to our survey came from pool service business owners who are between 30 and 50 years old. Many of them are already thinking about retirement, and are well on their way to securing a steady retirement income.

In this special business issue of Service Industry News, we’re taking a closer look at retirement planning.

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