Do you spend so much time working on your business that you have neglected your retirement planning?
Making sure you have enough for retirement does not happen automatically – even if you do have a successful business. You need to plan for it like other individuals.
For business owners, some of the steps toward a workable retirement plan can be a little more complicated than for employed individuals. You may need to plan for business succession or selling the business.
The retirement planning professionals at Vest Estate Lawyers can help you simplify the process and secure your family’s financial security in later years with strategies for protecting and growing your wealth.
What is an effective retirement planning process for business owners?
Every business owner has slightly different objectives and priorities in retirement. However, financial security for one’s family is always a major concern.
Achieving this requires an effective retirement plan. Generally speaking, this involves the following process:
- Determining your ideal lifestyle in retirement
- Analyzing financial requirements – how much money will you need to support this lifestyle?
- Calculating the value of your current assets (personal and business)
- Factoring in potential sources of retirement income, including your business, investments, and pension plans
- Estimating your life insurance, medical, and long-term disability needs in the future
- Analyzing what the shortfall is between what you have and what you need for your ideal retirement lifestyle and aged care requirements
Only after considerable analysis can we consider your options. You may have some tough choices to make or you may be on target to achieve what you want in retirement.
Few people can factor in medical and aged care needs with any degree of certainty. This is where the experience of a retirement planning lawyer can help you consider alternatives that may not otherwise be evident.
We can advise you on the estimated costs of implementing your choices and potential tax savings that may be available to you. We can also help you arrange the necessary paperwork/applications to start implementing your chosen options.
Failure to go through the analysis steps thoroughly could leave you short in retirement or unable to achieve the lifestyle you had imagined.
Key considerations when retirement planning
When considering their retirement planning options, business owners will need to consider many factors, but the following are among the most important:
Savings and pension plans
Savings and pension plans are unlikely to fund the retirement that you are planning alone but they will probably be an important facet of your income along with other strategies.
Consider the impact of the following strategies upon your retirement finances:
- Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)
- RRSPs have tax-deferral benefits and you can include your life insurance in the plan. This may be preferential to a standard Retirement Savings Plan (RSP).
- Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)
- An effective strategy can be to make contributions to tax-free savings accounts with after-tax income. Any income you earn from this is then tax-free, even when you make withdrawals.
- Set up an Individual Pension Plan (IPP)
An Individual Pension Plan for your business will enable contributions from you and the business as a deductible payment. Your contributions can be withdrawn in retirement – often an effective strategy.
Disability and life insurance planning
What would happen to your business if you were in an accident and suffered either temporary or permanent disability?
Business owners need to take out the right insurance policies that cover you, other shareholders or partners, and your family from potentially disastrous business scenarios like this.
To protect your family in the event of your death, also consider taking out life insurance as part of your retirement and estate planning.
Passive income assets
Most people’s ideal retirement includes some form of passive income stream to fund their retirement lifestyle.
This may require considerable planning well before retirement so that you can initiate the sale of the business and organize the necessary investments to provide a steady income stream in the years ahead.
Lifetime capital gains exemption
To enjoy lifetime capital gains exemption as a business owner, the business must hold:
- At least 50 percent of its fair market value in active business assets for two years before you sell it, and
- At least 90 percent of its fair market value in active business assets on the date you sell it
This should make you think twice before selling up to fund retirement or to create a passive income source.
Unexpected tax implications can be crippling, so make sure you speak to someone in-the-know before selling. We can help you plan and structure a sale well in advance to maintain a favourable tax status.
Planning services for Edmonton business owners
Business owners can select from the following retirement and planning services offered by our legal team:
- Financial planning, analysis and reporting
- Family trust planning and consultation
- Succession planning and consultation
- Retirement planning and consultation
- Estate planning and consultation
- Inheritance advice and guidance
- Business tax planning and consultation
- Personal tax planning and consultation
Our lawyers stay across all of the changes to the relevant business and tax legislation so that you are prepared for what’s around the corner with your retirement plan.
Take control of your retirement planning
Business owners who enjoy the most worry-free retirements are those who have taken the steps to plan for their golden years.
If you’re based in the Edmonton area and want to start taking more control of your future, start with a one-on-one consultation with a retirement planning expert at Vest Estate Lawyers.
We’ll help you design a financially achievable retirement plan that will meet your objectives for the future.
We also have a dedicated intake form to help you get the ball rolling. Our intake team will review your specific case and advise you on the next steps to take as well as what to expect moving forward.
Our Edmonton office is open 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m., Mon—Fri.
WILLS and ESTATES LAWYER
Chelsea is a lawyer in the firm’s Edmonton office. She carries on a varied practice, focusing on all forms of estate planning and estate administration.