Many business owners have both a personal financial plan...
and a business financial plan, as well they should. What’s alarming though, is that many people don’t realize the importance of intertwining the two plans. Herein we will explore this relationship in order to better appreciate the business owners "total economic wealth".
The thoughtfully constructed personal financial plan should include a business plan. In turn, each of the objectives of the business plan affects aspects of the personal financial plan. To look at one plan without considering the other can be detrimental to one’s financial future.
Frequently, after people start a business, they fail to alter their personal financial plans to include ramifications of their business plans. Indeed, even savvy business owners don’t always realize the importance of continually reviewing and updating both plans together.
While accountants often function as the “go to” person for the small business owner, creating financial statements, reviewing costs and implementing tax planning strategies, there are four other areas of financial planning which affect closely held business that I am often called upon by business owners to tackle:
Risk Management: May be viewed as protecting “what you can’t afford to lose”. All potential risks and casualties should be evaluated to determine to what extent the risk should be shifted from the business owner to the insurance company.
To provide adequate protection for the owner, the owner’s family and the business, insurance needs must consider casualty*, life, disability* and health *.
As important as insurance is for the individual, it is even more significant for a closely-held business.
The business owner must consider such types of insurance as key person coverage, to cover the loss of business income upon the death or disability of a key employee; and to fund the buy-out of a deceased shareholder or partner. In addition, casualty* coverage should include business continuation along with fire, theft, and liability*.
Retirement Planning: Makes very clear that personal and business plans are intertwined. For example, a personal plan may be based on the desire to retire at age 65 and sell the business at that time. However, your lifestyle may change and require more earnings upon retirement. This may necessitate changing the business plan to continue the business to provide ongoing income.
For the owner of a closely-held business, succession planning is the key to successful retirement planning. Generally businesses do not fail because of poor tax planning; they often fail, though, because of inadequate or unrealistic.
If retirement plans are based on income from a business that fails, in all likelihood retirement will be affected drastically. Succession planning is vital to preserve wealth.
Estate Planning: An important aspect of an estate plan is a succession plan. In most cases the closely-held business represents a large portion of an owner’s estate. If the business is family-held, then the area of gift and estate taxes must be reviewed with particular attention to the owner’s designation of who will “own the business”.
In many instances the owner’s heirs are not qualified or have no interest in running the business, and provisions must be made to protect the business for the estate.
To help develop and implement a realistic plan, a team of professionals should work together: an attorney knowledgeable in estate taxes and business succession plans, an accountant familiar with all aspects of the business, and a financial adviser who understands the fundamentals of business and estate planning, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.
Investment: Affects all financial planning matters. Often the owner of a closely-held business has most of his/her assets tied up in the business. A goal of personal financial planning should be to have assets both in and out of the business. This is especially important if the business or industry is volatile.
Investment decisions must factor in the direct correlation between levels of risks and rates of returns. Attributes of an investment that need to be considered include: the amount of risk, rate of return, liquidity, and marketability, as well as also tax considerations.
Thus, realizing wealth from a closely-held business can be difficult because of such unplanned – for conditions as changes in government regulations and shifts in the marketplace.
The owner of a closely-held business can not separate the business plan from the personal financial plan and vice versa. To be effective and successful, plans must be responsive to changes in goals, economic conditions, legislation and personal circumstances.
* Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated with New York Life, dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state and locality.
** Please note I do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice.
*** Neither Harris Kagan, nor New York Life Insurance Company, nor its affiliates provides property and casualty insurance.
Business Owner Financial Planning
Many business owners have both a personal financial plan and a business financial plan, as well they should. What's alarming though, is that many people don't realize the importance of intertwining the two plans. The thoughtfully constructed personal financial plan should include a business plan. In turn, each of the objectives of the business plan affects aspects of the personal financial plan. To look at one plan without considering the other can be detrimental to one's financial future.
“At some point, every owner leaves his or her business – voluntarily or otherwise. At that time, every owner wants to receive the maximum amount of money in order to accomplish personal, financial, and estate planning goals.”
~ John H. Brown
Owners begin thinking about the Exit Planning process when two streams of thought begin to converge. The first stream is a feeling that you want to do something besides go to work everyday—either you would like to be someplace else—doing something else—or you simply no longer get the same kick out of doing what you are doing. The second stream is the general awareness that you are either approaching financial independence, or making significant strides toward reaching that goal, or can achieve financial independence by selling your business.
Staying ahead in today's marketplace isn't easy. Competitive pressure, corporate governance issues, changes in legislation and tax reform have changed the way executives are compensated. Attracting and retaining the best talent to help grow your company requires a comprehensive benefit package that fits your corporate objectives – while meeting regulatory requirements.
Remain competitive by attracting, retaining, and rewarding top executives who have the ability to make a difference in your bottom line.Value drivers white paper
Provide Incentives to encourage executives to stay with your company.Short term incentives white paper
Create management benefit packages that motivate long term performance.Incentive planning white paper
Provide retirement benefits commensurate with pre-retirement pay levels – while overcoming limitations and restrictions imposed by traditional pension, profit-sharing and welfare benefit plans.
How should corporations maximize the value of retirement plan benefits?
Over the past decade, the environment for company-sponsored retirement plans has shifted from defined benefits plans to the dominance of the 401(k). As popular as the 401(k) remains, these plans have given rise to consistent complaints.
For example, employers and employees alike are concerned when they cannot get timely, accurate data on the status of the plan. Employees may perceive a lack of investment diversity to meet their allocation needs. And highly paid employees may become frustrated when their contributions are limited by low participation among the general employee population.
- Complete Investment Independence
- Assessing fiduciary responsibility
- Daily valuations of account balances for all participants.
- Internet or toll-free participant access to account balance.
Fiduciary compliance expertise designed to protect and insulate the plan sponsor from potential corporate and personal liability.
Mutual fund record-keeping fee offsets designed to lower employer costs.
Customized employee education programs.
Business Owners - As a business owner you face many challeges and may have to plan for many contingencies. Life insurance can be a valuable asset for your business. Death Benefit proceeds can inject the capital your business may need in the event of the premature death of an owner or key employee. Policy cash values can help you incentivize your very best employees, as well as create a valuable retirement asset.
- Business Continuation - A capital infusion to aid in the continuation of business in the event of an owner's death or disability
- Succession/Buy Sell Funding - Provides liquidity to purchase the ownership interest of a deceased owner and position the surviving partner with all future control of the business.
- Key Employee - Generates resources to aid in the search for a replacement in the event of a key employee's death.
- Executive Retention - Used in a variety of nonquoalified benefit programs to help attract and retain key employees.
- Debt Protection - Creates a pool of money that can be used to pay off borrowed money.
Business owners, key employees, and high income earners are finding it more difficult to adequately save for retirement. Why? Qualified retirement plans and group insurance plans, even Social Security, place limits on contributions, payouts and tax advantages of benefits for highly-paid individuals. We may need at least 80 - 100% of pre-retirement income to maintain our current standard of living in retirement.
The Income Gap
With qualified plans and Social Security alone, you and your key employees could receive as little as 30% of your current income at retirement - creating a retirement income gap. Cash values from life insurance can help fill the income gap.
Tax-Efficient Asset Management
Many types of investments produce ordinary or passive income. The taxes on this income are a drag on the net investment return and overall appreciation of the investment. The ability to manage your investment in a tax efficient manner by reducing or eliminating these tax can produce a significantly better tax-equivalent result, along with providing a self-completing tax advantaged death benefit when structured properly.
Through our affiliation with New York Life's Nationally Renowned Advanced Planning Group we are uniquely positioned to support professional advisors on life insurance matters. In today's complex world, professional advisors are being asked to be involved in the planning and due diligence for all financial transactions including life insurance.
Here is a listing of some of the many ways we have been asked to provide value and support for professional advisors and their clients:
- Life insurance policy audit
- Create a life insurance inventory
- Client Needs Analysis
- Product Due Diligence and Carrier Evaluations
- Estate Tax Projections
- Estate Tax Liquidity Analysis and Discounted Payment Options
- IRC 6166 Analysis for Business Transfers
- Private Finance Consultations
- Premium Finance Evaluations
- Supplemental Retirement Plans
- Buy-Sell Planning
To learn more about these services, please click here to visit the Advanced Planning Group's website.
Neither New York Life nor Eagle Strategies or any of their representatives provides legal or tax advice.
Education planning for your children can be a major financial consideration. Planning early allows you to take advantage of the time value of money and help minimize the savings requirement.
- Prioritize your education objective with your insurance needs, retirement needs, major purchases and current income needs
- Develop an effective savings strategy that considers asset allocation and takes advantage of education plans
- Consider the various education funding accounts -- Qualified State Tuition Plans (also known as 529 Plans#), Uniform Transfer to Minor Accounts (UTMA) / Uniform Gifts to Minor Accounts (UGMA), Coverdell Educational savings accounts and prepaid tuition plans.
- 529 Higher Education Chart
- Ensure college expenses are properly planned -- include tuition, room and board and living expenses. Factor in an inflation rate for the rising cost of tuition. Should you consider planning for post-graduate studies? Do you expect your child/children to receive scholarships or financial aid?
Gifting strategies may be used as a means of distributing your estate and effectively reducing estate taxes upon death. Most taxpayers can accomplish significant estate planning objectives simply by taking advantage of lifetime giving which includes making maximum use of the annual exclusion, lifetime use of the applicable exclusion amount and lifetime taxable gifts.
Considerations should be given to one or more of the following strategies when trying to minimize estate taxes and maximize the net distributions from your estate to family, friends and charities:
- Grantor Retained Trusts - allows you to remove appreciating property from your estate thus reducing estate taxes. Once the property is transferred to the trust, the grantor (donor) retains interest in the property for the term specified. The grantor receives payments based on the value of the assets in the trust. The property, including any appreciation in value, passes to the beneficiaries without further gift or estate tax consequences.
- Charitable Remainder Trusts - allows you to donate property and assets to a trust and reserve an income stream in the trust for a specified period. The trust provides an income to you or any designated non-charitable beneficiaries with the remainder interest being transferred to a qualified charity at the end of the term.
- Charitable Lead Trusts - allows you to designate charities to receive an income stream during term of the trust. At the end of the term, the ultimate beneficiaries are your heirs.
Please be sure to consult your tax advisor & attorney regarding your particular situation.
#Securities offered through NYLIFE Securities LLC. (member FINRA/SIPC).
*Neither Eagle Strategies LLC nor any of its affiliates provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Please contact your own advisors for more information on your particular situation.