November is National Entrepreneurship Month and is dedicated to celebrating entrepreneurs, their spirit of innovation, risk-taking, and the economic growth they bring to our communities and the global economy. Honoring these entrepreneurial spirits would not be complete without acknowledging the unique financial challenges they face as self-employed individuals. In this blog, we’re answering common questions about managing irregular income and retirement options when you’re self-employed. These financial strategies and considerations will help you build a healthy financial future as an entrepreneur.
How can I plan for my retirement while also reinvesting in my business?
When you are self-employed and running your own business, it is tempting to reinvest every dollar you earn right back into your business. Of course, it is important to reinvest some of your earnings to fuel essential growth in your business, but your financial security is also of high importance. Balancing these needs can be challenging, but is possible with proper and thoughtful planning. There are various types of retirement accounts for self-employed individuals including SEP IRAs, 401(k)s, and SIMPLE IRAs. These accounts offer tax advantages while allowing you to save for your retirement and a financially healthy future. The key to successfully utilizing a retirement fund is to contribute consistently, even when income is irregular. Work with a financial advisor to establish a realistic retirement savings goal, and aim to meet it each year.
What deductions and credits are available to entrepreneurs?
There are many tax deductions and benefits available to self-employed entrepreneurs. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TJCA) went into effect in 2018 and put several changes into place in tax deductions for the self-employed, some of which are permanent and others which are temporary. The following are only some of the current deductions that may be available to you to help reduce your taxable income:
- Self-employment tax deductions refer to Medicare and Social Security taxes self-employed people are required to pay
- Home office deductions allow you to deduct the cost of any workspace used regularly and exclusively for business, the business percentage of deductible mortgage interest, home depreciation, utilities, and repairs if you own your home. Rent deductions are also available if you rent your office space outside of your home.
- Internet and phone bill deductions allow you to deduct the business portion of these expenses regardless of whether or not you claim home office deductions.
- Health insurance premiums deductions are available if you pay for your health insurance premiums and are not eligible to participate in a plan through your spouse’s employer.
- Meal deductions are relevant when traveling for business, at a conference, or dining with clients.
- Travel deductions apply to business travel lasting longer than an ordinary workday, requiring rest, and taking place away from where your business is located.
- Retirement plan contributions deductions are available and help you build up tax-deferred investment gains for the future.
Tax credits such as the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and the Research and Development Tax Credit are also available. It is important to review your deductions and credits every year in order to make your business as profitable as possible. Consider speaking to a financial professional to help you maximize your benefits while remaining compliant with tax laws.
How can I ensure financial security for myself and my family after retiring from my business?
Planning for a financially secure retirement is not solely about accumulating wealth, it also involves creating a reliable income stream in your post-working years. Many different strategies can be used to build your retirement income plan such as investments, annuities, and Social Security. Additionally, be sure to create your estate plan to ensure your wealth lasts beyond your lifetime and can contribute to your family’s financial security. Consider life insurance and disability insurance as an extra layer of protection in the case of unforeseen events. Sit down with your financial advisor to determine which options are best for you based on your personal retirement goals and your individual financial circumstances.
How can I balance my personal financial goals with the financial needs of my business?
Balancing your personal goals with the needs of your business may be daunting, but it is essential to your (and your business’s) financial well-being. To begin your balancing act, set clear priorities for your personal finances while keeping your business’s financial needs in mind. Use these priorities to create a budget that accommodates both business and personal aspects of your life. Build an emergency fund into this budget to help take care of any unexpected expenses, whether they are personal or business-related. The most important part of budgeting is sticking to your budget! If you are struggling to establish or stay within your set budget, reach out to a financial advisor.
What steps should I take to prepare for audits or regulatory inspections?
Facing audits or regulatory inspections can be nerve-racking, but with proper records and a strong financial team, you can navigate them smoothly. The best approach involves maintaining accurate financial records and documentation to ensure transparency in your financial affairs. Keep receipts, bills, and records of any necessary communication on hand. Additionally, take time to understand relevant regulations and tax laws through your own research and professional financial guidance. By staying informed and organized, you can help avoid any accidental lack of compliance to mitigate regulatory headaches.
By seeking professional financial guidance as an entrepreneur, you can proactively address financial challenges and reap the long-term benefits of effectively managing your irregular income and retirement planning. At Blakely Financial we understand that running a successful entrepreneurial venture is challenging, and our team of financial advisors would love to see how we can support your entrepreneurial efforts. Contact us today to get started.