When you work at a more traditional job, you have access to employer-subsidized health insurance, and you have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. As an entrepreneur? Not so much!
You won't have access to many of the benefits other workers take for granted, and retirement planning can be one of the biggest hurdles to clear.
Especially since you can't just sign up with your employer's plan (and possibly get a match) as part of your contract. You have to take care of your retirement all on your own.
Choose the Right Retirement Account for Entrepreneurs
The good news is that you can still save for retirement. Self-employed entrepreneurs may not get the “free money” that comes with an employer matching program, but they can still set money aside in tax-advantage retirement accounts.
Some of the options available to self-employed entrepreneurs include:
- Solo 401(k)
- SEP IRA
- SIMPLE IRA
- “Regular” IRA (including Roth version)
- Profit Sharing Plan
You have a lot on your mind as an entrepreneur, what with running a business, increasing revenue and handling the daily tasks. However, you don't want to neglect your future. Open a tax-advantaged retirement account, and start putting money away today.
Determine How Much Money You Need to Save
Just as you would in any retirement planning situation, you need to look ahead to figure out how much you should be setting aside. The reality for many entrepreneurs is that it may not be possible to set aside a large amount of money each month since so much of your capital is going toward getting started and running your business.
Use one of the many retirement calculators available online to determine how much you need to set aside now to improve your chances of retiring the way you want later. The important thing is to start setting something aside right now — the earlier you start the better.
Increase Retirement Contributions as Your Business Grows
However, it is common for entrepreneurs to put a little less aside as their businesses are getting started, and the increase the amount set aside over time. This has been the case for me. I started out putting aside a relatively small amount aside each month, but as my business has grown, I've been able to contribute more to my retirement account.
Look ahead to when you will need the money, and figure out what you hope to accomplish with it. Then, as you earn more over time, you can begin to increase the amount that you set aside.
Make it automatic so you don't have to think about it, and have less of a chance of missing any savings. My retirement account contributions are taken out of my checking account each month. As my business improves over time, I can increase the automatic withdrawals.
Take Your Lifestyle Into Consideration
Retirement planning isn't just about the money. Many self-employed entrepreneurs aren't interested in just sitting still during retirement.
A recent study from the Institute of Economic Affairs indicates that retirement can be bad for your health — especially your mental and emotional health — as you lose motivation in your life to do something interesting that you enjoy.
As you plan your retirement, make sure you have something worthwhile to replace your enterprise, whether it's staying involved with your business in some capacity, taking up a new hobby, or traveling the world.
Be sure to take the lifestyle and business you're trying to create into account when planning your retirement future.