‘The Economy Stole My Retirement’

Posted on September 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

(Wall Street Journal) Danny Sullivan dreams of gardening and spending time with his grandchildren, but that’s just a fantasy. Retirement is out of his reach, at least for the foreseeable future.

The weak economy has been tough for small-business owners across the board, but for millions of entrepreneurs in their 60s and 70s, the consequences have been particularly frustrating. Sarah Needleman has details on The News Hub.

The 62-year-old founder of a small catering company spends his days helping stock bars with beer and ice, wooing potential new clients and juggling the 20 to 30 different events his firm handles daily.

“I am so tired,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to retire.”

The weak economy has been tough for small-business owners across the board, with their total revenue inching up by just 3% since 2007 and declining in fields such as construction (-12%), real-estate services (-3%) and retailing (-2%), according to financial-software maker Intuit Inc. But for entrepreneurs in their 60s and 70s, the consequences have been particularly vexing.

Many of them are stuck in “business purgatory,” unable to retire and forced to hang on for a recovery that economists say could still be a long way off.

Mr. Sullivan has struggled to sell Arguello Catering Inc., the Redwood City, Calif., business he started 21 years ago, at a price anywhere near the $850,000 or so he figures he needs to stop working. He reckons that about 70% of his nest egg is tied up in the 25-employee company.

Its annual revenue has fallen to roughly $2 million from $3 million before the recession, Mr. Sullivan says. He has tried, without success, to boost the business’s value by branching into new markets, expanding hours of operation and adding healthier menu options. He says he got three offers for Arguello this year, but they were far too low. CONTINUE READING

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2 comments

  1. Comment by Jan on July 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    1) Do you think you’ll have enough money for a cbomfrtaole retirement?Yes, in today’s dollars, but inflation could make cbomfrtaole into miserable. Current retirees will be pinched by inflation which will greatly reduce the buying power of Social inSecurity and other pensions that will get a dismal cost of living adjustment.2) Do you plan on receiving the social security benefits that have been promised to you?Although I am 44, I am not yet vested in Social inSecurity. I plan to work a J.O.B., just over broke, to earn 9 more quarters so I qualify, even if SS is only enough to visit Starbucks monthly.3) What % of your income do you save today for retirement? I save about 8% over my State of California pension, which will be 90% of my last salary when I turn 50. Yes it is a good pension, but I have worked in state prisons amidst filth, stress, tb, aids, hepatitis, and toxic attitudes for 20 years. The CDCR is accepting applications, if you want to join me. Not everyone wants to run a tier, or fight HIV+ prisoners, in a cloud of pepper spray.4) Where would you like to retire?Any place that does not have harsh winters, criminals, gang problems, etc. I hope to live in a good place to raise kids.5) How old are you, and what age do you plan on retiring?I am 44, and want to retire from the state at 50, but continue to work coaching, and making a difference to our youth. I will likely continue to work another job, for fun money, and travel cash, as well as for a hedge against inflation.

  2. Comment by Mohemd on February 18, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    weeks back I wrote a post titled Entrepreneurs Build an Asset NOT Just a Job .a0 In it I began to pneesrt the difference between small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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