By definition, business owners put a lot of their financial resources into their enterprises. But as an owner, you may need to invest in more than inventories and payroll to help achieve the future you’ve envisioned.
Here are a few investments you may want to consider:
• Retirement account – Depending on the nature of your business and how many employees you have, you can choose from a variety of tax-advantaged retirement plans, such as an owner-only 401(k), an SEP-IRA and a SIMPLE IRA. By contributing regularly to one of these accounts, you can avoid being entirely dependent on the sale of your business to pay for your retirement years.
To fund your 401(k) or other retirement plan, you’ll have many investment options — stocks, bonds, mutual funds and so on. And if you “max out” on your retirement plan, you may even be able to build a separate investment portfolio. In any case, keep in mind that you’re already putting a lot of money into your business, so, to achieve a level of diversification, you may want to concentrate your investment choices in areas outside your industry. However, while diversification can help reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio, it can’t guarantee profits or protect against losses in a declining market.
• Property – Your physical space is a key part of your business’ success. So, you may want to invest some time in comparing the pros and cons of renting versus owning. Of course, owning your building may require a big financial commitment, and it may not be feasible, but it could free you from worrying about untimely rent increases.
• Disaster protection – If a fire or a weather-related disaster should strike your business, would you be prepared? It’s important for you to create a disaster recovery plan, which can include business interruption insurance to pay for your operating costs if you’re forced to shut down for a while.
• Emergency savings – While a disaster protection plan with appropriate insurance can help keep your business afloat, it’s unlikely to cover other types of emergency needs, such as a major medical bill or an expensive repair to your home. For these unexpected costs, you may want to build an emergency fund covering at least a few months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. Without such an emergency fund, you may be forced to dip into your 401(k), IRA or other long-term investment vehicle.
You’ll also want to invest the time and energy into creating a business succession plan. Will you keep the business in your family? Sell it to outsiders or a key employee? If you do sell, will you do it all at once or over time? Clearly, the answers to these types of questions will make a big difference in your ultimate financial security.
Finally, invest in help – Enlist the services of a financial advisor and business-planning professional, so you’ll be able to make the decisions that work best for your business and you.
Your business may well be a lifelong endeavor — so make sure you’re investing whatever it takes to earn a lifetime of benefits.
This article is provided by Jeffrey O’Neal, Financial Advisor
20 N Express St, Paris, AR 72855
Edward Jones, Member SIPC