In the rush of day-to-day business activities, many small business owners may lose sight of what they had originally hoped to accomplish. As your company grows and develops, it’s important to keep your priorities on track so your business activities are consistent with your long-term personal goals and objectives. Drawing upon our decades of experience working with business owners, Broadview can help you, in a wide variety of ways, prepare for and plan for business and personal financial success.
Strengthening Personal Finances and Building Wealth
Many business owners become so engrossed in running their companies, they inadvertently put their personal finances on the back burner. This may occur if most of their liquid assets are tied up in the business. However, to achieve financial independence and build personal wealth, it’s important to make personal savings a priority. By working with our team to prepare regular financial reviews, and taking follow-up action as needed, you can help develop and strengthen your personal financial position.
Preparing for Retirement
Many tax-deferred, qualified retirement savings vehicles such as Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SEPs) or 401(k) plans are available to business owners and their employees. The size of a company, as well as the ages and salaries of its employees, often determines which type of retirement plan is best in a given situation. In addition, non-qualified plans allow business owners to provide selective benefits for themselves, as well as their key employees.
Developing an Exit Strategy
Will your small business be marketable if and when you decide to sell? It’s important to develop an “exit” strategy that can help provide cash commensurate with the value of your business in the event you choose—or are forced (due to death or disability)—to divest.
Retaining the Company within Your Family
If your company is operated by more than one family member, you may wish to keep the business in your family. In this situation, it’s important to learn about transfer tax issues and develop a business succession plan that will help secure your long-term goals and objectives.
You owe it to yourself to ensure that your business will continue to flourish after you leave. Proper planning can help provide long-term security for your retirement, your company’s future, and your family.
Laying the Groundwork
It is never too early to begin planning for succession. An early start can help you develop an appropriate exit strategy and allow you the time to choose the right person(s) to eventually run your business. It could take many years to groom a successor to manage the intricacies of your company. With this in mind, here are some basic considerations to help lay the foundation for a successful plan, each of which is an area where Broadview Financial Advisors can dig deeper and offer customized plan recommendations.
Business Continuation—Planning for Success
Successful business owners invest a great deal of time and effort in building their companies. With the day-to-day demands of running business, it’s often difficult to imagine stepping down for retirement. Yet, in order to help build financial security for retirement and ensure business continuation, it’s important to plan ahead. Business succession planning can establish retirement income for a retiring business owner, as well as smooth the transfer of operations and/or ownership to family or another entity. In addition, a succession plan can also provide structure for unforeseen events, such as death or disability.
There are a number of financial, legal, and tax issues that a thorough succession plan will need to take into account. For instance, how will a successor secure funds to buy out a retiring, deceased, or disabled owner’s share of the business? What are the estate planning issues? And, how can an owner minimize gift taxes resulting from the transfer of company stock to family members? These are questions we address in your succession plan, which is carefully coordinated with your tax and legal advisors.
At the End of the Day
You owe it to yourself to ensure that your business will continue to flourish after your retirement, as well as in the event of death or disability. Proper planning can help provide long-term security for your retirement, your company’s future, and your family.
Key Person Insurance
“Take away my factories, my plants; take away my railroads, my ships, my transportation; take away my money, strip me of all of these, but leave me my men and in two or three years I will have them all again.”
– Andrew Carnegie
All business success is dependent on its men and women, and every organization has one or more key people. Their ability, talent, and expertise is that “intangible asset value” which may outweigh the brick and mortar contributing to the success of the business. These are the people in your company whose knowledge, leadership, judgment, or connections are what make things happen profitably.
The death of a key person can result in serious consequences for the business. Credit could be substantially impaired, or even worse, loans would be called if the key person was a co-signer. The loss of that “intangible asset value” represented by the key person may be greater than that caused by a fire, flood, or other catastrophe.
When insuring a loss through death, life insurance provides an important source of revenue replacement. Further, the insurance can be designed to accumulate reserves that may be used ultimately for retirement, a termination replacement, or the retraining of successors.
A buy-sell agreement helps fix the value of each owner’s business interest, and can protect the business and owners from the risk of dissident shareholders.
A buy-sell agreement is a legally binding document signed by owners of a business placing certain restrictions on the transfer of the business and requiring specified actions upon specified events. In its most common form, a buy-sell will require surviving owners to buy, and the estate of a deceased owner to sell, his or her business interest.
Aside from death, other typical purchase-triggering events include retirement, disability, bankruptcy, loss of professional license, divorce, and voluntary termination of employment.
A buy-sell agreement is advantageous because it protects the business and remaining owners from inactive, uninformed, and potentially dissident shareholders and helps consolidate control in the hands of the agreed upon group. Additionally, it helps fix the value of each owner’s business interest. From the viewpoint of the heirs of a deceased business owner, a buy-sell severs their dependency on the surviving owners and the economic fortunes of a business that has lost a key person.
It’s important to note that a buy-sell agreement is useful only to the extent it is adequately funded on the date of the “triggering event.”
Broadview can guide you in the process of developing and funding a buy-sell agreement suited to the needs of your business. The ideal buy-sell agreement is funded and prepared in a manner that is easy for the parties to understand, is reasonably priced, is easily administered, and will not adversely affect the working capital or credit position of the business or professional practice.
Deferred Compensation is one of today’s most effective tools for helping you recruit, retain and reward your most valuable executives.
The use of non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements has grown substantially in recent years. This growth is attributable to many factors, including restrictive limits on retirement plan contributions for highly compensated executives, the increasingly burdensome and complex compliance requirements of qualified plans, and the need for more flexible and cost-effective means for compensating key employees.
Most deferred compensation plans have several features in common.
- They are not subject to the nondiscrimination rules of qualified plans; therefore, they may be used to reward a selected group of employees.
- The deferred compensation is generally credited with interest to compensate the employees for the time value of money while the compensation is deferred.
- If properly arranged, the deferred compensation will not be taxable to the employees until they actually receive it.
In the current environment of constantly changing tax policy, growing federal and state deficits, and economic uncertainty, predicting future tax rates can be difficult, if not impossible. Everything does, however, point to the strong possibility of increased personal tax rates. Whether or not tax rates rise, a highly compensated employee will almost always be better off deferring some of his or her compensation until a later date. Broadview can help guide you in the design and funding of a customized deferred compensation program that is suited to your business goals and philosophy as well as the needs of your key employees.
Are you ready to get started? Contact us today!
Broadview Financial Advisors, Inc.
105 W. 4th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
8250 Woodfield Crossing Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46240
Fee-based planning is offered through Broadview Financial Advisors, Inc., a State Registered Investment Advisor. Third party money management is offered through Valmark Advisers, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Securities are offered through Valmark Securities, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Broadview Financial Advisors, Inc. is a separate entity from Valmark Securities, Inc. and Valmark Advisers, Inc.