Advisors need to think about their own retirement plans as far in advance as 10 to 15 years, David Grau Sr. recently told TD Ameritrade affiliates.
On that scale, if you're in your early 50s -- as the typical advisor famously is -- you need to be making sure now that your business will be in shape to sell when you reach the traditional retirement age.
And if you're older, you need to work even harder on your exit strategy.
Grau says that right now it's definitely a seller's market, with 50 buyers for every advisor looking to sell out.
Those demographics will change once we get into 2020 and beyond, simply because so many advisors will be retiring and relatively few recruits are coming into the business.
As it is, Grau's firm, FP Transitions, has found that the average sale has closed when the founder is about 54 years old, with a 23-year career behind him or her.
Average price tag: $1.9 million.
Grau suggests distributing equity to younger partners early on to keep them working hard to grow the business while the founder might be slowing down.
At a minimum, you need a written succession plan in place, he says.