Starting and growing a business is a difficult undertaking, especially when adding in the myriad of tax laws and regulations that come into play, all while you are trying to effectively create products or services, manage employees, develop and cultivate clients and do so in a profitable position.
Oftentimes business owners get so absorbed in their business that they tend to neglect their own personal financial affairs and overlook key planning considerations from a personal perspective that could play a big role in allowing the business to grow and prosper. It’s important to understand how the livelihood of a business owner can be impacted when unexpected events occur that adversely affect a businesses bottom line.
For many business owners, their business is their primary retirement asset. After many years of building a successful business, they expect to convert it to an income for retirement through a sale. When relying on a business as a sole means of retirement funding, there runs the risk that you may not attain the value needed or anticipated.
Business owners today must prepare for retirement with the same level of diversification recommended for any retirement plan. Business owners have access to a number of qualified and nonqualified retirement options that can provide a cornerstone to the income needed.
When a business partner dies, the business loses a valuable asset and could suffer in the short term. The long term issue for surviving business owners is whether the business can survive when the partner’s family members show up for their interest in the business.
For the families of business partners, the business interest is often their biggest asset and they become the rightful owner of that interest at the death of the partner. They will want to receive their share of the business, either in direct compensation or through their participation as an active partner in the business.
If the surviving partner(s) do not have the capital to compensate the family for their share, their options are limited and not very attractive. A business success plan can provide for the orderly transfer of the business interest from the deceased owner's family back to the business and ensure the funds are available to do so.
Key Employee Protection
One of the more devastating events a small business can suffer is the loss of a key employee. Oftentimes it's a key employee who brings a special talent or attribute that is responsible for much of the success of the business. The loss of such a valuable asset could set the business back for a period of time, and at tremendous cost, while the owner seeks to find a replacement, either permanently or temporarily depending on the situation, if one can be found at all.
In financial planning, we are taught that our most valuable assets - our home, our ability to earn an income, our cars - should be insured against an unexpected loss. It’s no different for business owners as the loss of a valuable business asset can imperil the business, and potentially the financial livelihood of the owners.
Buying life insurance on a key employee is a common method to manage these concerns. The amount of coverage should be enough to cover the costs of recruiting and paying a replacement, loss of earnings to the company, any redemption of stock or salary continuation planning arranged with the surviving family.
In a small business setting, it could take years to find or develop the executive talent needed to take the business to the next level. Executive talent is hard to come by, and it is even more difficult on the business when it walks out the door in pursuit of other opportunities.
When key executives are presented with a strong monetary incentive package, they are more likely to stay and utilize their talents where they feel appreciated and appropriately rewarded. Structured incentive plans can help keep key executives in place and motivate them to higher levels of performance.
Planning with options such as deferred compensation, bonuses, split dollar life insurance are plans that enable the business to offer current and future benefits to their key executives in exchange for their continued service for a specified period of time.