Financial Planning for Business Owners
Business owners face unique challenges—and opportunities—in terms of financial planning. You’ve worked hard to develop your ideas into a successful business, or perhaps you’re considering moving into self-employment. Regardless of your situation, choose a financial planning strategy that takes advantage of your unique situation.
If you are considering moving to self-employment, contact us to discuss how to revise your financial plan. Working together, we will help you adjust from a situation where a previous employer might have provided benefits, such as health or life insurance or a company pension. Life and disability insurance can be difficult to purchase at first, since many insurers want two years of tax results. As well, self-employed people can gain tax write-offs for some health insurance premiums.
You may also need to negotiate a bank loan or line of credit to help fund office space, materials and other business investments. We can help you explore options to effectively secure these start-up expenses.
Tax planning is another important component of a strong business strategy. Depending on your business, consideration may include paying wages or collecting GST. You also need to pay your own CPP and EI, and possibly make quarterly tax installments. As well, you can take advantage of capital cost allowances on equipment such as computers or vehicles, and business expenses such as advertising, salaries, or travel.
No matter what stage of growth your business is in, contact us today to design a tax-efficient business planning strategy.
Business Succession Planning
You worked hard to develop a business, and now is time to enjoy the results. Many entrepreneurs spend years of focused effort building up a business, but then fail to consider how to make the transition to retirement. A financial advisor can offer expert advice in how to plan an effective business succession strategy.
Entrepreneurs can work to turn equity in the business into capital that can be used to fund retirement. A financial advisor can help business owners with tax-effective retirement strategies, such as using life insurance policies, paying yourself a salary as the business founder, or arranging for an heir to slowly buy up your shares.
Life insurance is another consideration when planning business succession. If the founder is nearing the end of his or her life, a well-planned life insurance policy can help successors transition into business owners. Upon death, successors face estate taxes on business values of more than $500,000—with the tax-free amount potentially offset by any capital business losses the owner declared during his or her lifetime. Life insurance is one way that successors can cover the remaining amounts.
Smaller businesses may not need to pay estate taxes, but can still benefit from a plan that ensures an equal legacy for their successors. A financial security advisor can help entrepreneurs plan an inheritance that is fairly distributed among all loved ones.
The death of a partner or major stockholder in a business can have devastating effects on both the business and the deceased partner’s surviving family. The business is concerned with gaining control of the deceased partner’s interest at a fair price so that it can continue operations without interference from the surviving family members. The family members are most concerned with receiving as much money as possible for their interest in the business and for capital that may be needed for estate settlement purposes.
The Need for a Written Agreement
Absent a written agreement, the competing interests of the business and the family members could lead to major conflicts, litigation and possibly the forced liquidation of the business. A buy-sell agreement can ensure that the business interest of the deceased partner will transfer in an orderly manner to the benefit and satisfaction of all parties. With a buy-sell agreement in place, the stability of the business for it clients, employees and investors (or creditors) is more assured.
Key elements of a buy-sell agreement include a mutually agreeable sales price and terms of the sale. The agreement needs to be funded in order to ensure that the capital is available at the time of the death of a partner. Life insurance provides a cost effective means of creating the capital necessary to buy out the interests of the family and establish a reserve for the business to use to continue its operations.
Types of Business Owner Buy-Sell Arrangements
Entity Plan: Under this arrangement, used when there are multiple owners, each of the business owners has a separate agreement with the corporation or partnership as the entity. The entity, per the buy-sell agreement, will buy the deceased partner’s interest at his or her death.
Cross Purchase Agreement: Used in situations where there are two or three owners, a cross purchase agreement is established between each of the owners. At the death of one of the owners, the surviving owners agree to buy a proportionate share of the deceased owner’s interest.
Buy-Sell arrangements are a simple, yet effective way for business owners of privately held companies to plan for the orderly transfer of business interests where two or more owners are actively involved in the business. In addition to securing the needs of the surviving family members and ensuring the continuation of the business, a buy-sell arrangement also ensures each owner that there is a buyer for their business interest at a fair price.
Business succession planning involves legal, tax and personal financial issues. Guidance from a qualified attorney or tax professional is strongly recommended.
For more information on business succession planning, contact us today.
Business valuations must be provided by a qualified third party.