Retirement Planning for Entrepreneurs

Retirement Planning Options for Entrepreneurs

Retirement is an inevitable event, whether you are an employee or a business owner. Therefore, a visionary individual is the one who prepare well in advance to tackle this inevitable end. While for employees the process is often not complicated because their retirement schemes are often taken care of by the company management, where they work. All they need to do is enroll for a retirement pension program such as 401(k) and the mentioned amount of money would be automatically cut from their paycheck, for the deposit. The system works so efficiently that most of the times the employees don’t even know about the deductions.

Having said that making retirement decisions can be really hard if you are a business owner or self employed. Part of the reason lies in the fact that, as a business owner you’re always occupied with so many other important tasks that planning for the retirement often takes a backseat. However, for a business owner, the responsibility to do so is much greater more than that in the case of employees. Investing your time and money in retirement pension plans can make a lot of sense for a business owner, because usually these plans come with an added advantage of tax exemption.  In the beginning the choices and options may appear overwhelming to you, but once you get familiar with all the different plans and policies, you will be happy that you spent the time to make the right decision.

Let’s have a look at the various options that are available in the market for retirement income plans. The first option among them is simple IRA plans. This is the best option if you are a small business owner and have less than hundred employees, this plan can save you up to $11,500 annually. The best approach that most of the business owners take to get the maximum tax benefits is by enrolling their employees also in this plan as well. However on the downside; you may not avail the benefits of additional plans for retirement. SEP IRA is another retirement option for the business owners as well as their employees. In this plan the contribution amount is up to 25% of the compensation. However, to qualify for 25% contribution, the total amount should be under $ 49000.

Another excellent option for retirement planning is Simple (401 k). Although the plan is quite similar to Simple IRA there is an added advantage of taking loan. The loan can be taken against the balance in the account. This type of provision is not present in simple IRA plans. If you happen to be self employed and you don’t have any employees working for you then single participant (401 k) will be the best option for you. The plan is much better than simple IRA in terms of higher limit for your savings. The limit is up to 16500 annually. To save even more tax in this plan you can opt for making contributions as much as 25% of the compensation, and of course the maximum amount must be less than $49000 to avail 25% contribution.

If the above mentioned plans appear too complicated and inundating to you. You can always take consult a professional tax advisor or an accountant. In fact, it’s always recommended to take the help of a professional to handle these affairs for you.

Believe it or not, your business itself can prove to be the biggest asset for you, for all your retirement needs. The first option that you have is; you can sell your business itself to fund your retirement years. However, if you think that would be a heart wrenching decision for you then try to appoint a competent manger to run the business for you. So that you can sit back and relax in your retirement home while still getting paid from your business. If you are thinking of these options, it’s still wise to invest in one or more retirement investment options mentioned above. This is essential to provide you the security and the insurance that you would need, once the retirement time finally arrives.

Read More

Finding An Accountant You Can Trust In San Diego

Finding An Accountant You Can Trust In San Diego

It’s tax time and for sure, you may be busy making your tax and financial planning decisions. But for those who are trying to find an accountant in the San Diego area it can be stressful.  Who can you trust to handle your tax preparation and financial needs?  Who will have the experience and still be affordable? Who can help you handle your accounts; organize expenses, receipts and deductions? Before you choose a certified public accountant or someone who just took a one week course by going online and searching, it is best to know what you should be looking for.  So, when you need to find the best person to handle your taxes, the following suggestions are worth keeping in mind.

There are two main ways of locating an excellent accountant that people tend to use is through networking and through referrals.  Referrals are an excellent way to locate the best accountant, as you can get clarification about the accountant by talking to other businessmen who are in the same industry. Also you can make sure whether the person you are hiring has the experiences in your industry and experience with your entity or form.

If you don’t have enough contacts in your industry, all you have to do is reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce and introduce yourself.  You’ll be able to meet number of qualified accountants and would have been hard to connect with otherwise. This is because most of the accountants don’t spend a lot of money on marketing, but they often invest in registering at the Chamber of Commerce.

When it comes to the selection process of an accountant or financial services in San Diego, interviewing candidates is the most important task. The experts have revealed that it is important to interview a few candidates before making the final decision. You have to always keep in mind that the accountants are not just for tax preparation, but they should have the capability of helping you in the decision making process of your financial activities. Therefore you’ll have to examine them and how knowledgeable they are.  This can often be done using the free consultations with each candidate, to see how their capabilities and competencies are. There are some key questions that you should ask from an accountant at the interview before you recruit one.

The first question that you should ask is; how is your tax preparation different from others or from the big box chains? Many tax preparers are people who are just hired to arrive in the tax season and get the business owner the biggest feasible return and then leave the business. But he’s not the person that you could rely on all year. Even if that is the extent of your needs it’s often better to find and accountant in San Diego that has a deep knowledge of taxes to give you the insight you’re looking for. If you are able to get an accountant with strategic advising skills who can see every angle of your entire business and who will be able to guide you to the success, then you’ll have someone in your corner for years to come.

Experience in related industries; is the second question that you should ask from the candidate.  This is because not all the accountants are equally talented to perform well in every industry, so that you have to clarify whether he or she has the capabilities of performing well in your business niche.  The best way to clarify this is by asking about the previous experiences and it is highly recommended to asking for referrals of the other business owners who has hired the particular professional previously.

As for the third question, you can inquire who will be “performing the work personally?” This is because whenever you face difficulty or have questions you will want to communicate closely with who is really doing the work.  Finding the right business accountant or accounting firm in San Diego that will fulfill all the tasks with high efficiency and as well as the effectiveness is a must. If you hire an accounting firm, keeping the relationship with owner or partner of the firm will often lend itself to better support in reaching your businesses goals.

The final question is; what added value can you bring to the table? Experts highly recommend asking about the services what they can offer outside of tax season. Also it’s better if you can ask whether they can come to your business quarterly to examine your financials, whether he or she can examine the sales or production and provide the expertise planning and forecasting.  Keeping a good working relationship with your accountant will help make the tax season far less painful, take the worrying out of managing your bookkeeping and allow you to focus on other tasks.

Read More

Tips for Starting a Small Business

What Every New Business Owner Should Consider

Hundreds of thousands of new businesses are started in the United States every year. Most begin with some good ideas and some real passion on the part of the entrepreneurs who start them. What many are lacking, though, is a thorough examination of the essentials that make a business work. Maybe that is why so many new businesses fail within the first five years. In my long experience I have identified several key things that new business owners do not always consider, but that can make a profound difference in how well the business does.

THE NAME

Make sure that you like your entity name; you’re stuck with it for awhile and it will be on everything you hand out. If you end up wanting to change it later, it will cost you in some surprising ways. One corporate client wanted to change to a more globalsounding name to reflect the growing scope of their business. They racked up several thousand dollars in expenses to change their state registrations, file additional tax forms, reprint all of their stationery and business cards and recraft their website and all of their marketing materials.

Make sure your name is something you really like and something that reflects where your business is going, not just where it is.

DETERMINE THE ENTITY YOU WILL CREATE

The four main choices are:

  • Sole proprietorship.
  • LLC (limited liability company).
  • S corporation.
  • C corporation.

Each comes with specific advantages, drawbacks – and associated costs. You should pick the entity that offers the most flexibility for your particular situation. For example, consider whether you need to protect personal assets, make expenses fully deductible, limit tax responsibilities when you sell your business or allocate profit and losses proportionately among partners.

We have to keep an open mind and explore all the options. 

INSURANCE

Going into business introduces a whole range of risks and potential liabilities that you do not have as an individual. In addition to insuring the business’ property, make sure the products and service you sell are fully insured. There is a whole range of insurance products that cover “malpractice” in just about any industry. Remember, insurance isn’t only an expense; it’s an investment in protecting your family. Disability is a particularly valuable coverage to obtain because it could supplement the small income you would receive from the state-run worker’s compensation program in the event that you are injured or suffer from a serious illness.

BOOKKEEPING

Businesses need to keep much more thorough records than individuals do. Bookkeeping is often an after-thought, but it is one of the most important systems you can put into place. Several computer-based systems are available and they can be implemented with minimal effort and expense. Many business owners decide to outsource this function, and most good reputable companies can take it on for you. Your firm will also help you decide whether to keep track of you income and expenses on a cash or accrual basis. Businesses that have outlays for inventory and tend to have a lot of receivables tend to do better with an accrual system. The IRS also requires certain businesses to keep financial records on an accrual basis.

 CASH FLOW

As an employee you have become accustomed to drawing a regular salary. As the owner of a new business, you probably won’t be able to draw one for the first three months or so. The cash flow of any new entity is very slow. We should work on a cash flow projection for the next 6 months. You should also make sure you have a cushion to cover expenses for a few months.

Planning ahead now helps avoiding unpleasant surprises later.

 EMPLOYEE EXPENSES

While salaries constitute the biggest expense related to employees, two other categories can add up quickly. Fringe benefits and similar expenses add at least 15% of each employee’s salary. Various government requirements – such as FICA, worker’s comp and disability – add more.

Take full account of potential expenses related to employees before you hire them.

 OTHER MONEY MATTERS

There is a whole range of other money matters to consider:

  • What should be paid from where.
  • Separate credit cards for personal and business uses.
  • What bank you use.
  • Creating a relationship with the bank’s manager (who can often approve credit on the spot).
  • Actual cost to acquire and build out your space.

Our job is to help you dig into things and build in flexibility. We have experience in identifying potential issues before they crop up. Start conferring with us as soon as you think about starting a business; it will save you time, trouble and money along the line.

Read More