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Tags: Small | business | sell | retire

WSJ: Economy Making it Hard for Entrepreneurs to Sell Firms and Retire

Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:26 AM EDT

Entrepreneurs who have worked hard building businesses are finding it hard these days to sell those firms and retire.

About half of the 799 small-business owners surveyed by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International, an executive-mentoring organization, in August said they expect to retire after age 65, with 38 percent saying they’ll retire later than they predicted five years ago, The Journal reported.

Furthermore, 56 percent said the bulk of their nest egg is tied to their business.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

That leaves many entrepreneurs stuck in “business purgatory,” The Journal added.

“Boomer entrepreneurs grew up believing in the American dream that you could start a business and eventually sell it for a good return or pass it on to your kids,” said Aaron Chatterji, associate professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, according to The Journal.

“Because of the financial crisis and subsequent recession, that is more difficult today.”

The median selling price for U.S. small businesses during the first half of this year hit $150,000, a decrease of 25 percent from $200,000 in the first half 2008, according to BizBuySell.com, an online small-business marketplace.

Older business owners have been hit particularly hard.

“They either have to sell for far less than they need or deserve to get out, or they have to muster up the energy to recommit themselves to the business,” Andy Birol, a small-business consultant in Pittsburgh, told the newspaper.

“They’re conflicted.”

The broader economy, meanwhile, continues to limp along.

The Commerce Department revised its second-quarter gross domestic product growth rate to 1.7 percent from 1.5 percent, a figure economists agree is not enough to absorb millions of unemployed and underemployed workers and get the country moving again.

The Federal Reserve has said it will stimulate the economy if it doesn’t show marked improvement, and the stop-and-go progress of recovery has many business owners holding off on investing and hiring due to the level of uncertainty gripping the economy.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he cannot rule out the need for stimulus tools that pump liquidity into the system and push down interest rates to spur recovery, but has stopped short of hinting that specific plans to do as such are underway.

“Growth is neither strong enough for Bernanke to take any additional easing off the table, but it is hardly weak enough to force him to announce new actions,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Penn., according to Reuters.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

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Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:26 AM
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