Retirement planning can be a complex process for us all, but if you are the owner of a small business it may can get even more complicated, due to the various factors and circumstances that you have to take into consideration. A common mistake made by small business owners is reinvesting extra money to grow their business, at the expense of putting it aside to save for their retirement.
Although there is no magic formula for getting started on a retirement strategy for your business, there are some general principles which might help you to get a handle on the steps that you need to take. One of the key ideas is the consideration of both your business and your personal finances and how to structure and integrate the two in order to create a robust retirement financial strategy.
Here are some tips on how to get started on a retirement plan.
Set aside time to plan for the future – It’s important to make retirement planning a priority, or you run the risk of never getting around to it. A professional financial planner can help you to assess your personal circumstances and create a personalized plan that suits you and your business, with the right balance between saving and reinvestment to help your business to grow.
Think about your future retirement income – Here are the main sources of retirement income that small business owners usually rely on:
Equity held in your business – If your business is successful, you are likely to benefit from equity from it in your retirement. Selling your company is an option, particularly attractive to some as, in some cases, you could benefit from the lifetime capital gains exemption on the sale. Of course, finding the right person to run your business in the future is easier said than done. A clear succession plan, created in advance of your retirement, can help you to ensure that business continuity will be affected as little as possible and will give you peace of mind as you approach your retirement. You may also want to consider using the expertise of an accountant or mergers and acquisitions specialist to help you to value your business correctly and also look after your interests when liaising with potential purchasers.
Alternatively, you may choose for your children to inherit your business, or you may decide to retain ownership of dividend-paying preferred shares in order to maintain an ongoing source of income.
Registered plans – A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) can offer personal tax deductions on your contributions, plus your savings will grow as tax-deferred whilst in the plan. In addition, tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) can be a useful way to save tax-free in particular circumstances.
Consider offering a retirement savings plan to your employees – Paying your statutory contribution of the Canada Pension Plan is just the minimum – many small businesses choose to offer their employees enhanced pension contributions as an incentive or employee benefit. For example, you could match their RRSP contributions to a set limit, to help their retirement nest grow more quickly. Alternatively, you could offer a benefit plan with an investment contribution package from an insurance company, which can be a more straightforward and cost-effective choice.
Be sure to diversify – As a small business owner, you should avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket, financially speaking, as this could leave you vulnerable to changes in the market. Try to diversify your investments and spread your funds in order to protect yourself and engage the help of a professional where necessary to help you to do so.
In summary, it’s important to remember that retirement planning is a process which is unique and personal to your own and your business’ circumstances and there is no uniform approach which works across the board. Take time to take stock of your current situation, as well as your goals for the future and this will help you to create a retirement plan that is right for your needs, both current and future.
Financial Planning for business owners is often two-sided: personal financial planning and planning for the business.
Business owners have access to a lot of financial tools that employees don’t have access to; this is a great advantage, however it can be overwhelming too. A financial plan can relieve this.
A financial plan looks at where you are today and where you want to go. It determines your short, medium and long term financial goals and how you can reach them. For you, personally and for your business.
Why do you need a Financial Plan?
Worry less about money and gain control.
Organize your finances.
Prioritize your goals.
Focus on the big picture.
Save money to reach your goals.
For a business owner, personal and business finances are connected. Therefore both sides should be addressed: Personal and Business.
What does a Financial Plan for a Business include?
There are 2 main sides your business financial plan should address: Growth and Preservation
Cash Management- Managing Cash & Debt
Tax Planning- Finding tax efficiencies
Retaining & Attracting Key Talent
Investment- either back into the business or outside of the business
Insurance Planning/Risk Management
What does a Personal Financial Plan include?
There are 2 main sides your financial plan should address: Accumulation and Protection
Cash Management – Savings and Debt
What’s the Financial Planning Process?
Establish and define the financial planner-client relationship.
Gather information about current financial situation and goals including lifestyle goals.
Analyze and evaluate current financial status.
Develop and present strategies and solutions to achieve goals.
Monitor and review recommendations. Adjust if necessary.
Talk to us about helping you get your finances in order so you can achieve your lifestyle and financial goals.
Feel confident in knowing you have a plan to get to your goals.
Many business owners have built up earnings in their corporation and are looking for tax efficient ways to pull the earnings out to achieve their personal and business financial goals such as:
building and protecting your savings
providing for loved ones
planning for retirement
Factors to consider when investing as a corporation:
What’s the purpose of the investment? First, think about what you’ll be doing with your savings. This will help dictate what savings vehicle is best suited for your situation. Then consider the following factors:
Taxes: As a small business owner, you have access to the small business tax rate which is typically lower than your personal tax rate. (See table below.) Also, as of January 1, 2019, the Federal Budget decreased the small business limit for corporations with a set threshold of income generated from passive investments.
2019 Corporate Income Tax Rates
Taxes on investment growth: Depending on what you invest in, you will want to review this as different asset types are taxed at different rates.
Timing: You can control the timing of the payout which means you could potentially defer paying out the money until you need it and determine if you’d like to pay it out as salary or dividend.
Creditor Protection: Sometimes, investments held inside a corporation can be vulnerable to creditors, therefore you may want to consider using a holding company or trust or pay out money to yourself personally. This can be complex and requires professional advice.
Capital Gains Exemption: If your investment grows too large, it may endanger your qualification for the lifetime capital gains exemption that ‘s available when shares of a qualified small business corporation are sold or transferred.
For business owners, before investing personally or corporately, it’s certainly worth seeking professional advice to ensure that it suits your individual circumstances.