Age, Retirement and the “Going Concern Concept”

Are you driving at speed towards a cliff and a long drop?

I trained as an accountant earlier in my career and one of the four fundamental principles in preparing accounts for an entity is the “Going Concern Concept”. The Going Concern Concept relates to what assumptions we make about an entity’s ability to continue to operate its business for the foreseeable future or not. This has a significant impact on how, for example you value assets like inventory and machinery and in most cases if the business is deemed not to be a going concern it will have a negative impact on the accounts and the value of the business.

There are some interesting comparisons between the “going concern concept” and in how we view people in the business world as they reach a certain age and particularly when they get to retirement.

The type of assumptions that can be made are

He/she is

  • No longer someone of importance or influence,
  • Not a player anymore
  • Tired and just wants to take it easy
  • Passed it, best days are behind them, out to pasture
  • Old
  • Not a going concern!

The impact on the person can be quite significant and not necessarily positive.

  • The phone stops ringing
  • Very few incoming emails
  • No invites to corporate events
  • Your advice is no longer sought
  • Your circle of people gets smaller and smaller
  • Silence
  • Solitude and isolation
  • A loss of purpose and energy
  • You feel at best a little bit devalued or at worst humiliated.
  • Damaged self-confidence and self-esteem

This is not everyone’s experience, but it is important that we all are aware of what lies ahead in our life’s journey and plan to accordingly and that we are not like Thelma and Louise speeding towards a cliff and a long and painful drop thereafter.

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