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Retirement

Even for those of us who love what we do, there will come a day when we have to stop. With most jewelry-store owners in their late 50s or older, that day may be not too far off. Here we look at how jewelers are preparing for their exit.

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55. At about what age do you plan to retire?

Before I’m 45
0%
45-54
2%
55-59
5%
60-64
11%
65-69
23%
70-75
23%
After 75
9%
Never
26%
Despite much talk in recent years about boomers being forced to keep working well past the normal retirement age, jewelers appear happy to do so, something that hasn’t changed in more than a decade. In 2010, one-third of jewelers (33%) told the Big Survey they didn’t plan to retire until they were at least 75, if ever. This year, that portion was 35%.

56. What is the fate of most of the jewelry stores in your local market when their owners retire?

They are able to find buyers
4%
They generally sell to insiders (family or employees)
10%
They just hold GOB sales and close up
64%
Don’t know
22%
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57. What is your exit strategy?

The Big Survey 2021: Retirement

58. What’s the current state of your retirement/pension plan?

It’s badly underfunded
17%
It needs a modest boost
21%
On track
27%
I could retire today
22%
I don’t plan to retire
13%
Note that more than one-third of the jewelers who said their retirement plan was underfunded also reported having “no exit plan.” While many said they enjoyed their work, many also said they had “no option” but to keep on working.

59. When you think about retiring, does it make you …

Excited
17%
Contemplative
18%
Apprehensive
13%
Anxious
14%
Doesn’t make me feel much at all
28%
Other (please specify)
10%

*Most of the “Others” could be classified as sad, mixed, ambivalent, or “I don’t know what to think. I love this.” Note we excluded the answers of people who are not planning to fully retire.

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60. Once you retire, will you …

Cut all ties with the jewelry industry
14%
Try to keep your hand in with some small commercial efforts
36%
Try to keep your hand in but in a voluntary way, like offering to be a mentor or serving on boards
34%
Drop by occasionally to help out the kids, grandchildren, talk to old customers, etc.
4%
NA
6%
Other
6%

*Most “Other” responses had to do with continuing to design jewelry as art, “not sure,” or a mix of all.

61. What do you imagine will be the best thing about retirement?

The good life: travel and leisure
41%
The chance to spend more time with family
21%
The time to spend on a hobby or other pastime
15%
The chance to slow down
12%
The opportunity to learn something new
6%
Other
6%

*Most of the “Others” couldn’t decide or wanted to do “all of the above.” One jeweler noted “No watch batteries” would be the thing he most looked forward to.

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Retirement, Anniversary or Going Out of Business Sale? Let Wilkerson Handle the Details

When it’s time to run a sale, whether it’s a retirement, going-out-of-business, anniversary or “we’ve got too much merchandise” sale, let Wilkerson handle the details. The Diamond Galleria did just that when they selected Wilkerson to run its liquidation sale. According to Sharon, their CPA, it was the right choice. “We could have done a going-out-of-business sale ourselves and done 30 to 40 percent of what we actually sold with Wilkerson involved,” she says. Seeing the strategies that Wilkerson puts in place for every sale was something that convinced her they had made the right move. “I would highly recommend Wilkerson to anyone considering this type of sale.”

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