As an entrepreneur, your professional life involves taking risks. Starting a business with your own money, borrowed money or someone else’s capital is a risk. Putting all your time, effort and energy into an idea to make it work is a risk. Starting a business in spite of the odds that nine out of ten businesses fail within the first five years is taking a massive risk.
Risk taking! That is what being an entrepreneur is all about. While risk taking is part and parcel of an entrepreneur’s business, it still follows a plan and a sequence of steps to attain a result.
Similarly, retirement planning for an entrepreneur equally needs a plan since there is no one else to count on to set it up for you. Yes, there is usually no pension plan or 401(k) match for most entrepreneurs.
So what is your best option?
The best way to reduce risk in your retirement planning is to diversify your sources of future income. If you stick to purely one source of income for retirement you will be subject to factors such as market risk, sequence of returns risk, inflation risk, changes in taxation (public policy risk), all of which could negatively affect how much income you will be left with during your retirement.
The key to a low risk retirement plan therefore is to have diversified tax-efficient source of future income. Below are five different ways you can diversify your income for retirement.
Set up a Roth IRA.
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that allows you to invest up to $5,500 (or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older) in the financial markets per year, which you can disburse tax free once you retire.
According to Lisa Barram, Elite IRA Advisor and President of Retirement Prosperity Group, “The Roth IRA option is an excellent retirement income planning tool in many ways: (a) All growth in a Roth IRA is tax-free; (b) Distributions from a Roth IRA are not taxed; (c) Distributions from a Roth IRA do not count on your Adjusted Gross Income and thus do not impact Social Security taxation nor result in potential increases to your Medicare premiums. This can potentially save a great deal of money over time, especially if tax rates increase.”
One-participant 401(k) plans.
One-participant 401(k) plans are also known as Solo 401(k) plans. They are 401(k) plans for entrepreneurs who are the sole employee of their small business.
A one-participant 401(k) functions in the same way as a standard 401(k) plan and comes with the same tax benefits. The benefit of the Solo 401(k) over a Roth IRA is that you have a substantially higher annual contribution limit and you can take out a participant loan against your 401(k) plan.
Also, a Solo 401(k) is available in both traditional and Roth form, depending on whether you prefer to be taxed up front or when you disburse your retirement income.
Setting up a SEP.
Alternatively to a Roth IRA or a solo 401(k) plan, you could choose to set up a SEP IRA. SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension and is an easy-to-set-up retirement plan for small business owners that have one or more employees.
While SEP IRAs function effectively in the same way as IRAs, the big difference is that entrepreneurs can contribute up to 25 percent of their income or $53,000, whichever is less to their SEP IRA plan.
Invest in real estate.
Purchasing real estate as an investment can be a good source of income during retirement, as you receive regular rental income and benefit from the appreciation in value of the property.
Furthermore, unlike the value of your 401(k), (Roth) IRA or SEP IRA the value of your real estate investment is not correlated with the performance of the financial markets. Therefore, real estate is an ideal asset class to diversify your retirement income, alongside your 401(k), SEP and/or a Roth IRA.
Alternative asset classes.
For true diversification of your retirement investment portfolio it would also be wise to look into alternative asset classes. Alternative asset classes would include any type of investment that is not stocks or bonds. Real estate, Business Development Companies, MLPs and LPs (Master and Limited Partnerships), Senior Bank Loans, gold, silver, fine art, fine wine, rare coins, limited edition watches, baseball cards, vintage cars, etc.
Effectively anything that can potentially increase in value over time could be considered an alternative investment. If you have a passion for any of the above, or collect any other type of physical asset, this could become part of your retirement planning, provided they are assets that appreciate in value over time.
You not only want diversification of your investments but you want some tax diversification as well. Having assets in Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs and in taxable accounts provides effective tax diversification.
In conclusion, the key to creating a low risk retirement plan is to have a well-diversified portfolio and a tax-efficient withdrawal plan based on your income bracket as an entrepreneur. Get all of this put into a complete plan so you can track the progress.