4 Steps For Business Owners To Catch Up For Retirement In A Hurry

4 Steps For Business Owners To Catch Up For Retirement In A Hurry

May 20, 2021

Owning your own business is more than just a career—it’s your life. We understand that it can be difficult to find the balance between prioritizing personal finances and your business. For example, business owners often face the challenge of creating a plan to convert their successful business into long-lasting personal wealth, namely retirement. Many small business owners invest personal savings into their business, and 34% of business owners don’t have a retirement savings plan. (1) This results in a dire situation as retirement looms on the horizon with no nest egg to rely on. Your retirement is just as important as the success of your business, so don’t neglect to take action to properly prepare for it. Here are 4 steps to help you catch up for retirement in a hurry, starting today!

1. Find The Right Plan For You

Unfortunately, you don’t have an employer-sponsored 401(k) account with matching contributions at your fingertips. That doesn’t mean you are out of luck when it comes to building a nest egg. Here are some savings options to consider.

Traditional IRA

A traditional IRA is similar to a 401(k) in that you can contribute pre-tax dollars to an investment account that grows tax-deferred. For 2021, you can contribute up to $6,000, or if you’re over age 50, a total of $7,000.

Roth IRA

With a Roth IRA, your contributions are not tax-deductible like traditional IRAs. However, your earnings grow tax-deferred and your withdrawals are tax-exempt (subject to IRS guidelines). Like a traditional IRA, you can contribute up to $6,000, or if you’re over age 50, a total of $7,000. However, one caveat to the Roth is that there are income restrictions. (2) If your income surpasses the cutoff amount for a Roth IRA, you can still contribute to one through a backdoor Roth transaction.


A SEP IRA, also known as a Simplified Employee Pension, is an IRA similar to a traditional IRA. As an employer of yourself, you can make contributions on your own behalf for your retirement. You can set up a SEP IRA in addition to a solo 401(k) and can contribute 25% of your self-employed income or $58,000 per year (whichever is the greater amount).

Solo 401(k)

A solo 401(k) is similar to a traditional 401(k) you’d contribute to as an employee. Funds invested within a solo 401(k) plan grow on a tax-deferred basis. The powerful feature of this plan is that you can contribute in two separate capacities, as an employee and as an employer. Wearing your employee hat, you can defer up to $19,500 (or $26,000 if age 50 or older). As the employer, you can also contribute up to 25% of compensation as defined by the plan. Combined, you can contribute up to $64,500 if you’re over the age of 50.

Adding A Defined Benefits Plan

In order to save more than what your IRA limits you to, you can set up a defined benefit plan. These plans have much higher tax-advantaged contribution limits and can be designed to fit the needs of almost any business. Depending on your age and income, a defined benefit plan allows you to set aside up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund your retirement, making it possible to save a lot, even if you have little time.

Ultimately, everyone’s situation is unique, so there’s no one right solution. However, for many people, it makes sense to contribute pre-tax and post-tax dollars to several different accounts. For example, along with a solo 401(k), you may also want to contribute to a Roth or SEP IRA.

2. Banish Debt

The less debt you have when you enter retirement, the better. Whether it’s personal debt in the form of credit cards, car loans, or a mortgage, or business debt in the form of bank loans or equipment purchases, reducing your debt before retiring will lower your monthly expenses and enable your savings to grow and last longer. Review all current debts you face and compare interest rates and balances. This can help you decide which to pay off first. 

3. Look Ahead To The Future

Do you have an exit plan? Even if you are just in the beginning stages of your business, it’s imperative to have a plan for the future of your company because it will likely become one of your largest assets. Around 78% of small business owners plan to sell their businesses to fund their retirement, with the sale profits funding 60-100% of their retirement needs. (3) If you are heavily relying on the sale or succession of your business to take care of your future financial needs, it’s critical that you start thinking about how and when you may want to leave your business and what you can do now to prepare so you receive the highest price possible. Having a strategic transition plan will make your company more appealing to buyers who want assurance that it will continue to thrive without you. Even if you’re passing the business on to family members, you need a plan in place to ensure that it continues to prosper and all family members are treated equally.

4. Partner With A Professional

Put simply, being a business owner complicates life and finances. Saving for retirement, taking care of your family, thinking of employees, tax considerations—shall I go on? If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your future, remember that you don’t have to be an expert at financial planning or investing; you just have to know who to ask. Given your unique situation, it’s wise to work with someone who specializes in serving business owners. 

At HBA Wealth, we specialize in serving small business owners and providing unique services to take care of all their financial needs. To learn more about how we can help you catch up for retirement in a hurry and to get unbiased answers from a team you can trust, contact us at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com.

About Haydel, Biel & Associates

Haydel, Biel & Associates is an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com.

The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Haydel Biel & Associates employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by  Haydel Biel & Associates or performance returns of any  Haydel Biel & Associates Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Haydel Biel & Associates manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


(1) https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/27/survey-34-percent-of-entrepreneurs-lack-retirement-savings-plan.html

(2) https://www.fidelity.com/retirement-ira/contribution-limits-deadlines#:~:text=Total%20annual%20contributions%20to%20your,%247%2C000%20(age%2050%20or%20older)

(3) https://www.pnc.com/insights/small-business/business-planning/selling-business-to-fund-retirement.html#:~:text=Few%20actually%20use%20it%20to,100%20percent%20of%20their%20retirement