From Business Owner to Retiree


Written by: Jon McGraw

You’ve achieved success as a small-business owner, and you’re ready to retire. But the hard work you put into achieving your business success left you little time to focus on retirement. Retirement planning could come later, you used to tell yourself. But later is now …

Retirement planning can be difficult when all your focus is on your company! Surveys consistently show that small-business owners put off such planning, yet retirement planning is essential to reducing your tax bill and living a balanced life.

The problem is, retirement planning—especially for a small-business owner—can get complicated. What kind of retirement plan do you need? A SEP or SIMPLE IRA, a solo or traditional 401(k)? Which plans provide the best tax benefits? And how much should you contribute when you’re getting started late? What is your exit strategy for the business, and how soon should you start it? Should you sell your business to another company? To employees? To family? And should you anticipate that sale to fund your retirement?

As a Family CFO, we’ve created many financial strategies for small-business owners at all stages of retirement planning. Our wide breadth of services not only considers the retirement plans that may be best for your situation but also strategies for cash flow, debt structure, taxes, insurance and succession.

Millions in the Bank but Still Stressed

Richard and his wife, Susan, came to us after the sale of their business. They had started their company 20 years ago and built it into a thriving business that gave them fulfillment as business owners. The right offer came along; they accepted it and sold their company—and found themselves asking, “Now what?”

We worked with Richard and Susan to develop a strategy to turn their savings into income for life. Essential to their plan was creating a pool of assets that would provide them income for retirement—something they had neglected while they focused on the well-being of their company. They had worked with their attorney to create trusts but had not funded them, and they had powers of attorney in place for health care decisions but not financial decisions.

After discussing their goals and wishes with Richard and Susan, we put a plan in place so that they could enjoy the financial freedom they had worked so hard to attain. We coordinated updates to their estate planning documents, opened and funded trust accounts and consolidated assets from over 20 bank and investment accounts into just four trust accounts. Just by consolidating accounts, we were able to simplify tax preparation and cut the couple’s annual bill for tax prep by more than 50 percent.

We also met with the couple’s CPA and set in motion a process so that the money to pay upcoming tax bills was automatically deposited into a “tax account” and quarterly estimated taxes were paid by the Buttonwood Team on their behalf. Finally, we mapped out an income strategy that would allow for Richard and Susan’s assets to grow while the couple enjoyed a monthly income.

Serving Our Clients

Business owners often focus on their company’s success to the exclusion of other everyday financial needs, but it needn’t be so. Our goal for all our clients is the same as the one we had for Richard and Susan: to simplify finances so you don’t have to waste precious time reviewing bills, bank accounts and other financial details.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Team at Buttonwood Financial Group can coordinate your complete financial picture, please get in touch.