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Tips for setting the stage for a successful retirement from your business.

Do a reality check: A lot of business owners have an inflated idea of what they could get from a buyer.

Weigh your nest egg: Could your current savings support you even if you can't sell your business for what you hope to get for it?

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Be realistic about your stamina: How long you can you continue to put in your current daily effort?

Anticipate change: Even if you could keep going for another 10 years, will your niche industry or your business still be viable and are you diversifying?

Get a manager: Freeing yourself from daily hands-on tasks can help you grow the business, which will also be more attractive to a buyer because it would be a going concern if you left.

Plan a tax exit strategy: Individual business owners are entitled to a lifetime capital gains tax exemption of $750,000, but you can multiply the exemption by issuing shares in the business to spouse or children.

Don't limit yourself: Under an Individual Pension Plan set up by a company for the owner, the contribution limits are much higher than on personal RRSPs and the company gets a deduction.

S ource: James Wong, author of The Transition Experience

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About the Author

Wallace Immen is an award-winning staff writer for The Globe and Mail whose stories about workplace trends and career advice, as well as about cruising and travel destinations around the world appear regularly in print and on-line. He has worn many hats in his career with the Globe, including science writer, medical writer and columnist, urban affairs reporter and travel writer. More

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