Retirement Planning Considerations for Your Small Business

How do you decide when to invest in your retirement savings over your business? Here are some ways to help you make the best choices about retirement as a business owner.

Decide what you want your retirement to look like

What's your vision of retirement? Do you want to travel the world, or live near family and friends who you can visit regularly? Do you want to live where the action is—or far from it? Do you want to work part time to make extra money, or just simply live off your savings? Write down exactly what you plan to do in your future—don't leave anything out. That way, you can set goals to meet your vision.

Create a retirement plan that suits you

Once you determine what your retirement will look like, you should create a plan to get there. One of the best ways to do this is to meet with a trusted financial advisor. You'll work together to establish savings goals and even tax strategies to maximize deductions and reduce your personal and/or business taxes.

You should save in a variety of ways—don't put all your eggs in one basket. Consider investing in money market accounts, certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). IRAs like the Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) and the Savings Investment Match Plan (SIMPLE) are inexpensive to implement and provide tax advantages to help you save for retirement. This is where the expertise of a financial advisor will really come into play.

Start saving early

The sooner you start saving for retirement, the better. Decide on an amount you can contribute monthly and then consider it a required business expense (so you'll have no excuses for not saving). You may even consider setting up automatic contributions on certain days so that you never see the money in your regular business accounts. Once it becomes a habit, you won't think twice about using that money for anything else—plus, you'll have the peace of mind that you're proactively taking care of your future.

Plan to sell

When would you consider selling your business? Will you continue to be involved in the business after retirement? How old would you like to be when you retire? These are all questions you'll want to consider in selling your business.

Also, do you have someone in mind who may want to buy the business? If so, start the conversation early to find out if he or she is as interested in the business as you are. If they're not, consider how to find the best buyer for your business. Most importantly, make sure you prepare your business to operate without you—and train your staff accordingly.

You should also consider what you'll do if the financial environment adversely affects the value of your company. Will you work later into life or sell earlier while business is good? Make sure to plan for different contingencies so you don't find yourself in an unexpected situation.

Are you ready?

Whether or not you plan to retire from your business, it's a good idea to have a plan in place to protect your future—especially if something happens where you can't work anymore. Creating a retirement plan that diversifies your wealth will bring you peace of mind and allow you to focus on the business at hand.

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