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Retirement and Succession Plan Critical for the Small Business Owner

Draft_lens6229982module49470302photo_1249598396business-manHard to imagine, but the same Type A personality that builds a business does not always put the same effort into plan for their retirement or succession.

Maybe business owners think that no one can run their businesses like they do, but according to an article in USA Today, “Business owners need extra planning for retirement,” many business owners don’t seem to plan on retiring. A TD Bank survey shows that a whopping 47% of business owners don’t have a retirement plan in place. Maybe they are overwhelmed by the planning that has to take place.

Compared to employees, small business owners have a different set of challenges. Plus, they need to address the question of what to do with their businesses.

It would be great if it's worth enough to fund their retirement, but there are two main steps that any small business owner needs to think about when planning for retirement.

First, he or she needs to create a retirement plan. It’s critical to get into the habit of saving for retirement. There are many types of retirement plans that a small business owner can use. For instance, a Keogh Retirement Plan lets the self-employed and sole proprietors contribute large sums every year to a tax-free account. They can deduct contributions from gross income, defer the taxes and the earned interest.

For anyone doing some late retirement planning, a solo 401(k) plan is a good choice. It offers high contribution limits—right now a solo 401(k) lets you to contribute up to $53,000 a year into your retirement account ($59,000 if you are 50 or older). There are different Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that entrepreneurs may also want to consider. Talk with a retirement planning professional about what is a good fit for you.

Another difficult decision for business owners is what to do with the business. Do they want to sell it, pass it to a family member or shut it down? Owners are advised to do their best to make sure that the business continues growing and remains viable as they approach retirement. The value of the business, determined by a qualified CPA or a trusted business broker, will not stay strong if the owner does not keep it going. That means keeping finances in order, liquidating old assets and cutting any unprofitable or underperforming departments.

An estate planning attorney can help the business owner go through the entire planning process so that the personal and business aspects of their estate work together to maximize their value.

Reference: USA Today (October 24, 2016) “Business owners need extra planning for retirement”