Two banks approached Jean Dorrell, the principal of Senior Financial Security, about buying her solo practice several years ago. She specializes in estate planning, insurance and tax planning for elderly and retired people, and the institutions wanted to incorporate her expertise into their offerings. The banks also wanted Dorrell to move her practice inside their buildings for a transition period of about two years, in which she would turn the business over to them entirely. She decided she was not ready and declined both offers.

"I find it rewarding," Dorrell says of heading up a solo practice. "I cannot imagine myself working for a corporation." Senior Security, based in Summerfield, Fla., is in its 21st year, and Dorrell is still expanding her client base.

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