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66% of wealthy business owners plan to sell or retire early due to Covid pandemic


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Two-thirds of wealthy business owners accelerated their plans to retire or sell their business during the Covid pandemic, according to a new survey, reflecting the new psychological and financial landscape for business.

The survey, from Clarfeld Citizens Private WealthAccording to 66%, high-net-worth business owners stated that the pandemic had accelerated their plans for selling their businesses or retiring.

The pandemic has prompted half of those surveyed to plan on selling their businesses.

This survey was conducted among 150 owners of businesses with a net worth at least 2 million dollars and assets that are more than $5 million. It was conducted online in July by Ipsos on behalf of Clarfeld, which provides bank and wealth management services for people with high net worth.

Clarfeld explained that during the pandemic wealthy businessmen began to place more importance on their families and time, so they decided to stop working and cut down on business.

Joannie Bozek (director of trust services, chief fiduciary officer at Clarfeld), said that “they reset their priorities.” Their mortality was more tangible.”

Businesses are being forced to sell due to uncertainty around taxes, and the increasing likelihood that wealthy people will pay more taxes. Both the Senate and House of President Joe Biden have proposed increasing the capital gains rate, as well as potential changes in the estate tax. This would raise the tax impact on any business sale. Biden and Democrats in Congress also propose higher income tax rates for high-earners.

Bozek stated that “they realize that for those who have been successful now is the right time to monetize their business.”

Most — 88% — plan to leave their businesses to family members, including spouses, children and grandchildren.

Businesses are also considering moving because of the pandemic threat and higher taxes. Survey respondents revealed that two-thirds (63%) of the wealthy owners have relocated their business during the current pandemic. With 34% shifting to low-tax states, taxes was the primary reason. Remote work offers greater flexibility and is the second reason.

However, businesses cannot all move. The Clarfeld survey was dominated by tech-related businesses, and services, that are easier to shift. Three quarters of the business owners who were surveyed said they would move their business within the next three to 5 years. However, this is particularly true in light of rising taxes that make it less attractive for high-tax states, such as New York or California.

It was easy to say, “Where are you going to live?” after working remotely. Bozek said. Bozek stated, “If taxes rise and the economy suffers further I believe that this trend will persist.”