Free CEO Succession Planning Guide

Get a free copy of this guide to crafting your exit strategy. New edition.

I just published a brand-new edition of my free CEO succession planning guide, “Take Charge of Your Exit: The Nonprofit CEOs How-to Guide for Developing an Exit Strategy.”

Take Charge of Your Exit Cover

I wrote it specifically for nonprofit CEOs who know they are going to retire or otherwise leave their position in the next few years (1 to 3 years).

This 20-page guide covers the dynamics of CEO succession, especially if you are a founder, long-tenured or transformational leader. It covers:

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A Pre-Retirement Money-Phobe Finds a Financial Advisor

Recently my wife and I went through the process of shopping for a new financial advisor. (Okay, I’ll admit it, our first financial advisor.) Like many of us in nonprofit world, I have always been more comfortable with people and ideas rather than finance. But, with retirement looming, my on-again, off-again, DIY-but-mostly-think-about-it-tomorrow approach wasn’t cutting it.

Exposing our financial souls to a stranger was initially humbling but,
in the end, it was a rewarding experience.

Exposing our financial souls to a stranger was initially humbling but, in the end, it was a rewarding experience. This fresh outside look helped us see the places where we’re better off than we expected and where we’re at risk. Most importantly, we now have a clearer path forward. The process made this fiercely independent DIYer a convert.

I know there’s a ton of information out there about financing your retirement, picking advisors, etc., but I thought I would share some of the guides we found useful in our shopping and planning process.

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The Current State of Retirement – 2015

Transamerica Center report gives a snapshot of retirees and compares pre-retiree expectations with retiree realities

A new report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies ( provides a snapshot of current U.S. retirees and an interesting comparison between older workers’ (workers age 50+) expectations about retirement and the realities experienced by current retirees.

While the report covers a good deal more, below are some highlights relevant to nonprofit executives who are considering retirement.

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Retirement Travel: 10 Ideas for Hitting the Road

Everyone talks about their plans to for retirement travel. You finally have the time to try and take in the seven wonders of the world, hit the national parks, visit the museums on your bucket list, and check off all those roadside barbecue joints you’ve seen on Food Network and the Travel Channel. Here are some tips and ideas for retirement travel. Hopefully, a few of these tips will keep you happy on the road, while you decide what you want out of your retirement, geographically speaking.

Header Photo for Hitting the Road

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6 Signs That It’s Time to Move On

Leading well includes leaving well. That means taking charge of your exit.

Deciding when to move on – that it’s time to retire, shift into an encore career, or otherwise leave your leadership role – and head toward life’s next chapter may be the most challenging decision of your career. Some leaders make this decision easily and move forward gracefully. Others delay, postpone, and defer until circumstances take over. They hang on too long until the “it’s time to leave” signals become so blindingly obvious that they can no longer be avoided. Still other executives never seem to get the message and have to be subtly, or sometimes not so subtly, forced out of their positions. This article covers six classic signs that it might be time to prepare your exit plan.

Leading well includes leaving well, and that means taking charge of your exit and leaving on a high note. Choosing how to exit your role may be the ultimate act of leadership. The first step is determining when it’s time to move on.

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7 Things To Try Before You Ditch Retirement

You’ve been retired a year or two. Maybe you’re feeling bored, and perhaps frustrated. You had fun at first – say, for the first 6 months or so – but now the days stretch out endlessly in front of you. You know you have to find something more interesting soon. You may have reached the disenchantment dip, as described by sociologist Robert Atchley. Retirement researchers say this is the point at which retirees either adjust their expectations or rejoin the workforce.

Sure, you could ditch retirement and try to go back to your old routine, but there’s a world of options available to you. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that’s waiting for us.” Maybe it’s time to think outside the box for your next endeavor. We’ve compiled a list of some avenues to explore to aid in your discovery.

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Review – How to Retire Happy

How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire
by Stan Hinden

Stan Hinden, a retired financial writer and popular retirement columnist for the Washington Post, offers the inside scoop on retirement in his book, How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. He bases his advice largely on his own ups and downs after leaving the workforce. He breaks his advice down into 12 major decisions most retirees will face. At the end of each section, he includes a list of all the useful websites mentioned, as well as other suggested readings.

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Watch Out for the Busy Ethic for Retirement Success

What is retirement success and satisfaction? Talk to just about any retiree long enough and you are likely to hear phrases such as: “I’m busier now than I was when I was working,” or “My volunteer work has me really busy.” Isn’t retirement supposed to be a time of freedom and leisure? So what accounts for all the talk about busyness?

Busy Ethic Header Photo

To explain this “busyness” phenomenon, sociologist David Ekerdt coined the term “the busy ethic,” an extension of the work ethic that follows us into retirement. “The [American] work ethic historically has identified work with virtue, and has held up for esteem a conflation of traits and habit such as diligence, initiative, temperance, industriousness, competitiveness, self-reliance, and the capacity for deferred gratification” (Ekerdt, 1986).

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What’s Standing Between You and What’s Next?

The median age for an S&P 500 CEO is 55. Nearly two thirds (59.3%) of our nation’s nonprofit leaders are age 60 or older. In just three short years, a staggering three in five senior executive federal employees will be eligible for retirement (Rein, 2013). They’re part of the massive baby boom cohort that will be moving into their next act over the next two decades. What retirement barriers will these folks face? What are the barriers to moving on?

Barriers Image

We used to call that next act retirement, but, for a variety of reasons, retirement is not the choice of many Boomers. Why?

  • Americans are living longer, and living in better health for longer.
  • The recent financial crisis is forcing some to delay retirement.
  • Many love their work and don’t want to leave it.

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Is Your Nonprofit Ready for the Boomer Retirement Wave?

The wave is here and building

In 2011 we witnessed the beginning of a major social phenomenon that received very little attention in the media — the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation began to turn 65, the traditional age for retirement. This age cohort, born in the 19 years between 1946 and 1964, added nearly 80 million* residents to the US population. By contrast, the 19 years following the “Boomer generation” saw only 66 million births, including the 12 years between 1965 and 1976 that are commonly characterized as the “Baby Bust.”

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