The CEO’s Guide to Success in Retirement

Retiring as a CEO is both an exciting and yet nerve-wracking time.

It can be extremely difficult to walk away from a business and career that has contributed so much to your life, but it also offers the opportunity to take the CEO hat off and live a more relaxed and happy life with those that matter to you. In fact, in the UK specifically, 47% of people value a happy medium of work life balance above other factors (such as work culture and company finances), and this rings true even for CEOs and other top level executives. Because of the time constraints and pressures of the position, many CEOs find that retirement is their best option when seeking out the next steps for their career and life, and find that this is the most satisfying path to follow.

Make Sure Your Finances Are Comfortable

In order to retire, you of course need to be able to financially afford it. As a CEO, managing the books of a company and forecasting for the future should come second nature, and your own retirement fund is no different. The best rule to follow is the four percent rule; if you withdraw and live off of 4% of your overall retirement fund per year, you’ll be comfortable and able to support your family with the available funds. So if your total savings is £500 000, then a withdrawal of £20 000 annually will be your available income. It’s important to consider other streams of income, particularly passive income and investments, that you may have acquired that will help financially and add to your retirement funds, such as investment properties and stocks. The most important factor is knowing your own personal finances as thoroughly as your company’s, and planning correctly for retirement.

Follow Your Passion

While being a CEO involves wearing many hats, very often that does not include a role that truly inspires. The most asked question upon retirement for CEOs is what to do next. Take this opportunity to follow your interests and hobbies that you never had time for previously, such as going to football or sporting matches, cycling across the country, or even cooking. Use all the ample time you now have to try what you couldn’t do previously when running a company.

Find An Employment Opportunity That Works With You

Retiring from your CEO or executive level position does not necessarily mean you need to stop working completely; it rather comes as a great opportunity to switch gears. This is known as the Second Act for CEOs, and presents the opportunity to work in a less demanding role while still utilising the brain and work ethic that has been cultivated. This can be in a role that you feel you have an underlying talent in, such as with Jeff Bezos’ dream of being a bartender once he’s stepped away from Amazon. Starting an entrepreneurial venture is also an option, with many CEOs opting to pursue the growth of another company from the ground up. You also have the option of serving on a board of directors, either with your former company or another in the sector, which is a great use of the knowledge and experience accumulated over the span of your career.

Entering retirement as a CEO can be a difficult decision. But when considering all the different paths to pursue, and the immense opportunities for a happy work life balance, it’s a decision that should be greeted with open arms for all CEOs at that stage of their life.

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