Why Owning a Franchise can be a Perfect Retirement Strategy

Today with host Leslie Kuban, expert franchise consultant and owner of FranNet Atlanta. Atlanta Franchise Today is dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for their franchise goals.

In this rapidly changing world, the definition of retirement is very different than it used to be. The interest in entrepreneurship is skyrocketing among retirees and people planning to soon retire from their long-term careers. On today’s episode, Leslie sits down with Beau Henderson is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, retirement coaching advocate, and CEO of RichLife Advisors, a holistic retirement planning firm based in North Metro Atlanta.

Transcription:

Leslie Kuban:
Welcome. Beau, it’s great to have you on the show.

Beau Henderson:
Hey, Leslie. I’m excited to be here and have this conversation. I think there’s a lot of good stuff to talk about.

Leslie Kuban:
And I know you have a lot of passion about it.

Beau Henderson:
Oh yes, definitely. And it’s just different now. And a lot of the things we’re dealing with with retirement, retirement has changed, the definition has changed.

Leslie Kuban:
Well, for our viewers who don’t know you, please tell us a little about you and your business.

Beau Henderson:
Sure. So 21 years in retirement planning, and what I’ve realized the longer I do this, the traditional investments, there’s nothing wrong with 401ks and IRAs, they can solve a cashflow problem. We can create assets to have more income than expenses and that’s part of retirement. But what we run into is I’ve had plenty of people over the years that had enough money to be successful financially but they’re not successful in retirement. There’s other things we need to consider.

Leslie Kuban:
Right. And you are a member of the Retirement Coaches Association, the RCA, and that’s a national organization. Tell us a little bit about that, the goal, the mission, and who’s a member of the RCA.

Beau Henderson:
The Retirement Coaches Association based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, mutual friend, Bob Laura started that. And we’re just out there pounding the drum that we need to expand the conversation about what retirement means. Meaning if we’re not just looking at what we were just talking about earlier, just that cashflow, more money income than expense, that’s one part of it. But I think retirement should be what is fulfilling? What is meaningful? What do you enjoy? Because we’ve changed. We might have 20, 30 years of retirement and just to stop, especially people’s that we know that have had very successful careers, to just stop one day, doesn’t work for a lot of people.

Leslie Kuban:
So I imagine there’s a lot of challenges.

Beau Henderson:
There are.

Leslie Kuban:
That people face, anticipated, unanticipated. What does that look like? What should today’s soon to be retiree-

Beau Henderson:
Start thinking about.

Leslie Kuban:
What should they expect and start thinking about?

Beau Henderson:
I think you said it right, anticipated and unanticipated. What happens and where bad things happen is when there’s a surprise. I just think I’m going to retire, I’m going to go golf. And somebody driven that’s been successful in their career, sometimes that gets boring after about six months and then you’re like, “What’s next?” Some of the things we need to think about, a lot of our relationships, most of our relationships in a career they’re around our work. My purpose, my contribution, my worth, my identity can be tied to what I do.

Beau Henderson:
You think about how many people when you ask them what you do, they say I’m a blank as they connect that with their job. So we retire sometimes we lose that. I had a good example of a pilot from Delta here, he was dealing with clinical depression because he said the day he retired, and he was forced to retire at 65 years old, he lost that feeling he got when he’d walk down the terminal there at Hartsfield and people out of respect and him in his uniform and part out of the way. He said, “I lost that.” And he was having a hard time dealing with it because he identified a pilot. So now it’s, what’s next?

Leslie Kuban:
There’s anticipated retirement, and then there’s sudden changes, which may lead someone to say, “You know what, I think I’m retired.” That’s a different dynamic there, and I imagine that’s especially challenging for someone who find themself in the position of, “I wasn’t really planning on retiring, but this event happened in my career and my job and my business and now all of a sudden there’s not a next.”

Beau Henderson:
There’s a disconnect. If we look at statistics on when people say they plan to retire and when it actually happens, it’s off. Usually there’s things outside of our control, health issues. With COVID recently we saw a lot of layoffs, pension buyouts, however you want to frame it. So what is the next step? And a lot of times it’s more of, instead of a retirement in the traditional term of I work now I’m stopped, it’s more transitions. It’s a series of transitions. It’s maybe this level of stress and this career I’ve built over these years, maybe it’s time to transition that skillset and some of that into this next thing that maybe I want to do.

Beau Henderson:
I might enjoy doing it, maybe I can work four days a week instead of six. Just having some of those conversations. And I see there’s a series of transitions the people that tend to do it really successfully.

Leslie Kuban:
And those people who are doing it right, in your estimation, what does that timeline look like? Is there a five years, 10 years, three years before retirement or a transition? What do you recommend?

Beau Henderson:
what I like, I love to get ahold of somebody, that sounds funny, but I like to start working on this with somebody as early as about 10 years out. Because the more we can start coming up with an end goal, and the goal will change, but the more we can start working towards goal that’s in the direction of where we want to head, the better position we’ll be in when we get there. And like we were just talking about earlier, Leslie, that 10 year goal, it might be forced on us at seven or eight years. So the more work we do up front position ourselves, better position we’ll be in.

Leslie Kuban:
Let’s talk about this at a macro level. I’m curious if there’s any statistics or numbers around, what is today’s retiree look like, whether that’s age or any other way to measure that?

Beau Henderson:
When we talk about that, a lot of what we’re seeing is people doing 30, sometimes 40 year careers retiring anywhere from early 60s to mid 65, 66 years old. But what we’re seeing is that when we’re not handling this transition, I’m going to give you a little different statistics than just the demographic retiring. We’re seeing if we don’t handle that transition and don’t have some of these conversations up front about who do I want to be in retirement? What do I want this to look like? What’s my identity going to be? How’s this going to affect my relationships?

Beau Henderson:
There’s a big spike in divorces when we retire. There’s a big spike in depression. There’s a big spike in alcoholism and even suicide. So those are not fun statistics and there’s a dark side there, but that’s why we’re so passionate about. Part of retirement planning needs to include the life part of retirement, not just the financial, but when you put them both together, that’s when I believe we have holistic planning and we’re doing it right.

Leslie Kuban:
Right. Your relationships, where you have purpose, where you have meaning, which of course people can find in their own business. Tell me about that conversation that you have with people coming to you, your clients about this idea of putting some money from the nest egg, how do you handle that as a financial advisor?

Beau Henderson:
The industry is so used to traditional products, 401k, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, and maybe insurance products to deal with retirement. But we’re saying, what about some of these things we talked about? What about that purpose, that identity? What about that routine in structure? Sometimes when you’ve done something for 30 or 40 years, you know what to do. I had a retired, and this is a little different than business, but I had a retired teacher that 40 years in teaching she was so nervous about not having her routine. We spent a full year coming up with her first semester of retirement just to feel okay about transitioning. So it happens and it happens in the corporate world too.

Beau Henderson:
Some of those conversations are just around, what does that look like? And maybe we’re solving some of these other goals, contribution to community. Giving back, being involved in the community, having identity, having a thing, having purpose. And we’re building new relationships, and not just to mention that, there’s a financial aspect too. I don’t want to neglect that, but I think the financial is an important component, but I love all those things that we can accomplish by running a business.

Beau Henderson:
And after 30 years, one of the things we run into is that people, in a lot of cases, Leslie, they’re at the peak of developing their skills. They’re so valuable. And if we can translate that, and I know you do a lot of work to help plug people in the right things, if we can translate that into that next phase, it can be very fulfilling, very meaningful, and in some cases even fun.

Leslie Kuban:
And as you have that discussion, this looking forward planning and owning a business, maybe buying a franchise, or something else, starting a consulting business, or buying someone’s up and running existing business, what are the first parts of that conversation that you talk with people about when it’s owning business that’s part of that next plan?

Beau Henderson:
I think a lot of times what comes up is some people will have that spark already. They’ll say, “I’ve always wanted to own a business or be an entrepreneur.” It’s not for everybody, we know that. But if we also see some of those things, I know I can tell pretty quick when I’m dealing with somebody you’re not going to do very well just not working. I need that outlet. Or maybe that identity I’m picking up that that’s tied up really tightly in their work. And sometimes we just know people that would thrive no matter where you plug them in and I think the conversations start. For you this might be something to explore, this might be something to look into.

Beau Henderson:
I could plug them in with somebody like you and say, “Let’s do some personality profiles. Let’s do some analysis. Let’s see what might be some options.” And it’s not a decision to make quickly, but I think putting it on the table is an option is a new way to start looking at retirement.

Leslie Kuban:
How do people respond to that? Are they during the headlights or do they get excited? Maybe it’s the whole gambit, but is there a common response when you bring that up as a possibility?

Beau Henderson:
What I find is people like that I’m bringing to the table things outside the traditional investment options that we’re dealing with. Again, maybe there’s something out there for me beyond creating income out of my 401k or my IRA. And usually I’m just bringing it up again with somebody that has given some indication or something I’m seeing that wires them, maybe this is going to be a successful route for them.

Leslie Kuban:
That they’re expressing interest or tendencies towards, I want to continue to contribute, put my energy into an enterprise of some form.

Beau Henderson:
And even if they’re transitioning from say a corporate world where they’re used to managing, they’re used to leading. One of the worst things I’ve seen is when somebody that’s their thing, they come home and try to do that with their spouse.

Leslie Kuban:
Right.

Beau Henderson:
We need to find another outlet if we want to keep that relationship intact. I’m joking, but I’m not, things like that happen.

Leslie Kuban:
And actually this brings up important subject that I’m sure you hear all the time, family business, and sometimes the goal for starting a business. It’s not just for the retiree, but it’s to help other family members, maybe it’s working together with a spouse, maybe it’s setting an adult child up to be successful, or just the enjoyment of working together and spending time with family members you haven’t seen all that often when often the other career. So how do you talk to your clients about what you need to be aware of if this is going to be a family business?

Beau Henderson:
There’s a traditional way to look at it is we are investing in a business, which is an asset. So there’s some legacy considerations of… One day there’s an exit planning conversation of there’s probably going to be an asset and how does that pass and what are we doing? So that’s one side of it, but I like what you’re talking about even more is what if the traditional model, we’re so busy raising kids, our kids raising kids and our lives that we’re just hitting and missing seeing each other on holidays. But what if I have this environment to where we can work closely, we can build something together? I’ve invested in something in a way, yeah, there’s a business, but I’m also investing in this family working together in the community and building something together. It can be very rewarding, I’ve seen it work very well.

Leslie Kuban:
It can also be really challenging.

Beau Henderson:
I was going to say, it doesn’t mean every family member’s going to fit, but when it works, I’ve seen it work really well.

Leslie Kuban:
Let’s talk about the not so rosy side of that. Any advice or thoughts on families working together and your spouse is not your employee and either is your kid that you can boss around. How do you address some of those dynamics?

Beau Henderson:
It’s just like the retirement planing conversations we talked about. It’s pre-conversations about expectations and not assuming, just because, “Hey, I’m going to invest in this franchise and this is what my family’s going to do.” Let’s get the feedback, let’s have the conversation up front and let’s set ourselves up for good expectations that are on point together and then we’ll know. Because a lot of that’ll shake out upfront if we start really talk. When we get into problems is when we have expectations that aren’t communicated and they’re different from the other people involved, then we’re asking for issues within the family.

Leslie Kuban:
And I can speak to that. My dad and I started our business together and we just started it, just hit the ground running and go. And we didn’t have any of those upfront conversations and we found we’re both good at a lot of the same things. So we stepped on each other’s toes a lot and it worked out, but there was a lot of friction along the way. And what I wish we could’ve done was at the very beginning, we sat down and thought about, okay, these are the roles and responsibilities that the business needs. Who’s good at what, who’s going to be responsible for what, who has authority, where. And if that had been an org chart, if that had been defined better upfront, we might not have had so many arguments over the dinner table.

Beau Henderson:
I think that’s excellent is what are the roles that need to be done in a business and specifically this business, and what are the skill set of us partnering to do that? And are there pieces we’re going to have to add? Because you’re right, if two people have very similar skill sets, you might get along great because you’re very similar, but you might be lacking some things that are going to be good for the business. So I think again, upfront conversations going to help that out a lot.

Leslie Kuban:
So what would be some advice for that family who’s watching the show today and has been on the back of their mind? Maybe this is a new idea and they’re thinking about a retirement business, maybe involving family, what are the first few things that they should do?

Beau Henderson:
I think that a lot of people when it comes to the retirement, they make decisions too fast and they do what somebody else does. I say the worst advice is the neighbor coworker brother-in-law. Because even if it applies to them and they got it right, which most of the time they don’t, that’s my experience, doesn’t mean it applies to you, your family, your household at all. So slow down. If this is of interest and some of the things resonate with you, yes, I want something, I want to give back in my community, I want to do something with my family. If that’s resonating, start conversations, it’s very much like my process.

Beau Henderson:
We could start a conversation, you will as leader to explore it. To explore it doesn’t mean you are signing up, or you’re buying in at this point. But you can start saying, does this fit? Is this a good option for me? I can tell you and I know we have examples of this, that for the right person, this can be the absolute best thing they could do.

Leslie Kuban:
And I always like to end on inspiring examples. So who comes to mind, people that you’ve worked with that is an example of a retirement business, maybe involving family?

Beau Henderson:
You’ll like this one. So Jay Kelly up in North Georgia, based in Gainesville, Georgia signs by tomorrow. Now Jay’s story comes to mind when we were talking about great stories that encompass a lot of what we’re talking about. Over 30 years, I asked him, he said 30 to 35. So I’m going to say over 30 years in the corporate world, HR executive, said, “I always wanted to have a business, didn’t know what it was.” And he started signs by tomorrow with some help and advice. Obviously I didn’t know anything about a sign, but I knew I wanted to look at opportunities that one man could run and I own my own business. Fast forward 21 years, there’s 14 employees, five members of his family are involved and pretty much running the business at this point.

Leslie Kuban:
Has he retired from his retirement business?

Beau Henderson:
I don’t think Jay will ever retire. He’s going to involve and he’s going to be out in the community, but that’s the other point. He is so involved in the community, giving back at the chamber and a lot of local. This business has given him a vehicle to stay involved, stay connected here locally. And he said, “One of the biggest things was that, the local community, the purpose and I have something that’s meaningful, work that I do, and the family aspect of I’m building something, spending time with my family and there’s going to be a legacy component to that.” So I thought that was a great example of a 21 year second career in a franchise opportunity.

Leslie Kuban:
That’s exciting. That’s exciting. Beau, how can our viewers get in touch with you and find you if they would like to learn more about what you do and what you have to offer?

Beau Henderson:
I think if people are looking for that holistic integrated retirement planning, that’s really what we’re about. What are the pieces that solve your concerns, your issues, and there’s no cookie cutter approaches? We look at all the components that make up a successful retirement and we define that by a meaningful financially successful, a fulfilling retirement, and I always throw in, I’ve said it earlier, I hope it’s fun too. But go to richlifeadvisors.com, there’s a lot of methodology about what we do and how we help clients. And some of the conversations we can put on the table is a business or a franchise a good option for retirement?

Leslie Kuban:
You have a podcast as well, tell us about your podcast?

Beau Henderson:
That’s it. So the podcast, weekly we do RichLife retirement, same concept. The whole firm, the name RichLife is a play on words, because people think about financial planning, retirement planning is primarily money, but I define a rich life as that term you just heard me say and I’ve said it three times a day, meaningful, fulfilling, fun life. Then we use your assets and resources and put together the plan to move towards and honor that with integrity, then I think we’re on to something.

Leslie Kuban:
Well, this has been a great conversation.

Beau Henderson:
Always had fun.

Leslie Kuban:
I really appreciate you having on the show today.

Beau Henderson:
Yes, and thank you for the work and being a resource for this because there’s a lot of moving parts to this and it is, it’s a consultation. Is this an option I should look into further? Thanks, Leslie.

Leslie Kuban:
Folks, thanks for joining us today. Hope you enjoyed this episode of Atlanta Franchise Today and we look forward to seeing you next week.


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