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2022 Business Owner Benchmark Report

Beyond the Business

From navigating an ever-changing business landscape to pursuing interests beyond the company, business owners are busier than ever.

The Northern Trust Institute surveyed a wide range of business owners to understand the challenges and opportunities they are facing – and how they are building and deploying their wealth as they look to the future. Below we provide a preview of the findings. Download the full report for additional insights and advice.

Many Business Owners Are Not Interested in Retiring

The desire to remain engaged in later years, often long after achieving success, is frequently driven by an overall sense of purpose that extends beyond any one business or endeavor. When asked what drives business owners to create wealth, in addition to providing basic financial security for their family, many respondents viewed wealth as a means to help them make an impact on the world.

  • 32%: Are not interested in retiring and plan to be actively involved in their current business as long as they can.
  • 19%: Do not plan to retire at all and instead to work just as hard starting something new.
Chart of Who Plans to Retire

Download the report to learn ways you can prepare yourself, your portfolio and your business for the next chapter.

Business Owners Plan to Distribute the Majority of Assets to Immediate Family

The need for proactive and comprehensive planning is even more important when that wealth includes complex assets, such as a private business. There are steps business owners can take to empower the next generation of family members to grow into their role as responsible, enthusiastic stewards of the family’s financial legacy.

Average Proportion of Wealth to be Distributed to Loved Ones and Charity

  • Spouse and/or Children: 70%
  • Other Family Members: 32%
  • Charity: 10%
  • Friends: 7%
Chart of What Proportion of Your Wealth Would You Like Each of The Following to Inherit?

Educate and empower your family members with proven guidance outlined in our 2022 Business Owner Benchmark report.

Business Owners Admitted Having Certain Regrets Post-Sale

Although survey respondents who have sold one or more businesses reported experiencing a range of positive and negative emotions after the sale, overall, most of them felt that their lives had become better since they sold their business. Selling a business can have profound financial implications, but it can also impact business owners’ family dynamics and even their overall outlook on life.

Top Business Owner Regrets After Selling Their Business

Did you experience any of the following after selling?

  • Concerns Over Buyer's Treatment of Employees: 59%
  • Walked Away Before Full Potential: 43%
  • Money Receive Not Enough: 40%
  • Not on Board With Buyer's Vision: 36%
  • Had Nothing to Keep Me Motivated: 26%
Chart of Top Business Owner Regrets After Selling Their Business

Our 2022 Business Owner Benchmark report explores strategies that can be implemented early on to help achieve a better outcome, with fewer regrets. Download now.

Business Owners Spend Very Little Time on Leisure Post-Sale

The task of reorganizing your life post-sale, without the “centerpiece” of running a business, can feel disjointed and even overwhelming. Business owners tend to keep busy after the sale of their business, but perhaps not on the activities you may expect.

How Do Business Owners Keep Busy Post Sale?

  • Starting a New Business: 29%
  • Full-Time Employment: 24%
  • Leirsure (Travel, Sports, etc.): 19%
  • Personal Investments: 18%
  • Consulting/Board Member: 14%
  • Philanthropy: 13%
Chart of How Do Business Owners Keep Busy Post Sale?

Explore principles that business owners can implement that make them more likely to thrive after the sale of their business both personally and financially. Download the full report.

Download the 2022 Business Owner Benchmark report to dive deeper into each of these themes and explore insights for addressing common challenges — all based on data and our experience working with thousands of business owners across the country.