Becoming an entrepreneur and running your own business can be about a lot of things: breaking free from a career you don’t like, following a passion or a great idea, establishing something you can be proud of, and so on. But ultimately, it’s also about autonomy. Most entrepreneurs want the challenge of being in charge of a company — making the big decisions and building something that will succeed.
This is a wonderful goal, and it can be incredibly fulfilling. But financially, it can lead to a unique sort of challenge: You might be so invested in making sure the business succeeds that you actually wind up minimising your own income, and neglecting future plans. You’ll plan for the future of the business, but not necessarily yourself. If all goes well, this can work out such that the business becomes significantly more successful over time, and you’re able to reap the rewards down the road and make up for a tighter beginning. Some would even argue that this is the ultimate goal. But in the meantime, it’s wise to find strategic ways to do some investing in your future. Even saving or putting away a little bit of money here and there can make a significant difference — whether it’s for an emergency fund, education for your children (or future children) or even your own retirement.
We have a few tips for how you might go about this.
Hire An Accountant For The Business As noted in our business management tips and tricks post, hiring an accountant — when you’re able to — can help you in “making smart decisions about your business money.” They can help you to save on certain needs, make sure you’re not spending more than you need to on taxes, and generally ensure that you’re maximising business revenue. Naturally, this will benefit the business directly. But wit will also help you from a personal savings perspective.
Simply put, the better off the business is financially, the more freedom you’ll have with your own money. If your company isn’t taking a larger-than-expected tax hit, you won’t panic and feel that you need to pump some of your own funds back into the business; if you’re saving a bit of extra money on certain company practices, you may be able to justify a slightly higher salary for yourself. In numerous ways, a professional accountant can lead to more flexibility, which you can use to generate more personal savings.
Find Tax-Advantaged Savings Plans
When it comes to formal savings — such as accounts geared toward education or retirement saving — you can find ways to put money away such that gains over time will not be taxed. This removes one of the burdens sometimes associated with savings, and lets you know that whatever you’re able to put away will solely be generating a return over time. That way, you can invest whatever you’re able to without concern about what it might mean further down the road when you’re not sure what needs your business might have.
A guide to RESPs — which are funds specifically for higher education — explains the concept in a little bit more detail. Essentially, these types of accounts are set up to incentivise long-term savings by establishing that any amount of money invested is not taxed so long as it remains in the account — even as it grows over time. Similar types of accounts are also available for personal retirement savings, which means that in various long-term situations, you can put away money without worrying about having to pay for its growth. It’s a burden-free investment that allows you to keep a firm grasp on your finances and avoid unwanted costs while you’re keeping your focus on your business.
Address Your Debt
You’ve likely heard or read debates before about what should come first between debt and investment. Our take specifically if you’re an entrepreneur looking to save for your future is that debt should come first because interest can hamper you. As an entrepreneur, particularly in the early days, you’re likely to be tracking cash closely, reinvesting in your business, and generally managing a lot of costs — which is why it’s difficult to find much money for personal savings and investment in the first place. Interest on unpaid loans is essentially just one more expense that’s in the way.
The argument is a little bit more complicated than this. Some argue for instance that if you can put some money into investments immediately it will have more time to grow. Others will counter that there are ways to benefit on personal tax payments from paying high-interest debt. There’s some validity to these talking points, but one overview of debt payments put it best: the interest you pay is unproductive, and is essentially “flushing money down the toilet.” It’s an unnecessary expense, to the point that it offsets the gains you’re likely to make on taxes, or by investing earlier. Covering debt early frees you from this burden and will leave you with more money to save and invest.
Engage in Passive Investment
This idea can actually sound like something of a dream come true — an automatic way to make money over time with no effort whatsoever. As one write-up on passive investment makes clear, the term is at least something of a misnomer; it’s not about setting up a stock portfolio and then handing control over to robots with automatic success rates. But that distinction doesn’t matter a whole lot for the purposes of this discussion. Generally, passive investment still refers to means of saving for your future with relatively little hassle or demand.
Specifically, this can mean a number of things: mutual funds or portfolios managed by professionals, venture capital funding of other businesses, long-term real estate holdings, or even app-based robo-investing. The point is ultimately to find a way to put money away such that you don’t have to take time away from your business to manage it, even as it grows for you over time.
Saving for your future can be a challenge, particularly if you’re saving every last scrap of cash to make your business succeed and grow. There are ways to pull it off though, such that even as you work on your budding career as an entrepreneur you can cover savings — for emergencies, for school, or for whatever else you deem necessary.