Exit Stage Left

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When it comes to his eventual retirement, JR Silva in Orlando, Fla., is a typical small-business owner. Young and active, this DJ is still working on creating the perfect mousetrap.

This owner of Silva Entertainment has some small stock investments, he’s focused on re-growing and re-positioning his business for future profits, and his retirement goals include simply hanging up his headphones at age 50 and managing his business from that point on.
Being a self-employed DJ certainly has its benefits. From being able to toss our alarm clock out the window every morning to “showing up” to work for three-day weekends, it can be said that the life of a mobile DJ is the best gig in the world.

Yet, when it comes to retirement planning, being self-employed also has its drawbacks. If we had worked for a larger corporation, for example, chances are good that our employer would have set up and contributed to a retirement account for us, making everything simple and easy. But since mobile DJs and other self-employed folks are on their own, choosing the right retirement plan early can be essential to our financial state later in life.

Currently a 30-something, Adam Tiegs in Seattle, Wash., is not yet thinking about retirement. In fact, the owner and operator of Adam’s DJ Service is simply concentrating on climbing out of the debt it took to get his young yet profitable business off the ground.

“I do have a life-insurance policy I’m paying into that’s also one I can draw out of after a certain point,” he says, “but other than that, I have a family and kids to take care of, so my exit strategy is my lighting company—and possibly becoming an ordained minister.

“Since I’ve DJed well over 700 weddings so far in my DJ career, I think I’d be pretty good at officiating wedding ceremonies—non-denominational, of course.”

Otherwise, Tiegs says he would consider working for a start-up DJ company once he’s too old to do the work himself, or maybe even growing his single-op back into a multi-op venture.

“Because,” he asks, “who wants to hire a 55-year-old DJ for their wedding?”

Adam and JR, let me introduce you to John Dolan of Greenwich, Conn., who as “Johnny Dee” of Ambassador Event Production, is 74-years old and still very active in his mobile DJ career. Of course, admittedly, Dolan does have his 40-year-old son (Matty D) as a partner in his business, and has been training his offspring since his little boy was a mere 10-years old.

“Over the years our business has grown into an event production company and is doing quite well, considering this current economy,” explains Dolan. “My role in the business has certainly changed, but I’m fortunate that Matt can keep the business going, which allows me to maintain an income. This income, plus my Social Security and my wife’s pension and Social Security, allows us to live fairly well.
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