Exit Planning For Business Owners Has Three Parts – Finger Financial Five #152

Jeremy Finger
Jeremy Finger
Table of Contents

“Don’t worry about being successful, but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.” – Oprah Winfrey

A huge part of the wealth in the United States is tied up in small businesses. How much? I don’t know the exact number and don’t have time to check because I am writing this last minute (see procrastination).

Many of these business owners have much of their net worth tied up in their business. 

According to the Exit Planning Institute, 99% of owners agree with this statement:

“Having a transition strategy is important both for my future and for the future of my business.”


  • 79% of owners have no written transition plan.
  • 48% have done no planning at all.
  • 94% have no written personal third-act plan-(meaning how would life look like after the business sale).

Successful exit planning is like a three-legged stool:

The first leg is financial planning. Will you get enough money after tax to be able to do all the things that you and your family want to do? Have you properly prepared to mitigate taxes? How about estate planning

The second is personal planning. How will your life look after the business sale? How will you spend your time? Many owners work more than 40 hours a week for years and going to zero can be quite a shock to their system. (See: 5 Phases of Retirement). 

The third is business planning. Is the business ready to be sold? What does the buyer actually get? Is the business ready to be run without you?  

The more you have written and planned, the more you can get for your business sale. The differences can be 2.5x or more in sale price between a lower tier business and a “best in class” run business. 

Good exit planning is, not coincidentally, good business planning. Preparing for exit planning is also preparing for growth. 

There are hundreds of things that an owner can do to prepare for exit. This is just a very high-level short list. It can take two years or more to prepare and maximize value. 

At a minimum, your exit planning team should include a CPA, a tax or estate attorney, a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA®), and a financial planner. 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

On November 16th, I spoke to the South Carolina Association of CPAs in Columbia on the topics of Social Security and Healthcare Insurance. 

On the lighter side, we are having dinner with Elliott in Columbia. Iren and I are excited to see him. We look forward to having him home for an extended period over Thanksgiving.

Hope all is well with you and your family,


Finger Financial Five – 5 points in 5 minutes or less – is intended to provide you with a weekly shot of useful financial information.  My intention is to share principles so that you will have more clarity, more peace, and make better financial decisions. 

Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC and Riverbend Wealth Management are separate entities. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.


Get Your Free Download

Submit the form and a member of our team will email you a copy of the Retirement Ready Checklist. 


Retirement Ready Checklist

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content