Advisors are known to be an optimistic breed when it comes to business prospects and markets, but sometimes they get carried away. Cerulli Associates estimates that nearly 60 percent of advisors who are within five years of retiring expect to sell their business to an unidentified buyer. Five years is not enough time. “Long-time horizons are a hallmark of good succession planning,” Cerulli writes in its report. “Facing the issue of succession in advance of retirement allows the practice leader to search for the best potential successor and make the changes necessary to maximize business value.” You’ve heard it before: the advisor population is aging—more than 66,000 are older than 60. The problem is especially acute at the wirehouses, independent broker/dealers and hybrids. Bank advisors and RIAs are in slightly better shape.