Financial planning for entrepreneurial families requires a delicate balance between investing in business growth and ensuring financial security for your loved ones. As an entrepreneur, you will face unique financial challenges, such as fluctuating income, business-related expenses, and the need to constantly adapt and innovate. Let’s cover some essential strategies and tips for effectively managing your family’s finances while supporting your business endeavors, helping you achieve both professional success and personal financial stability.
Set clear financial goals for your family and business
The first step in effective financial planning for entrepreneurial families is to establish clear, realistic financial goals for both your personal life and your business. I know: boring! But without goals, you’re just flailing about and hoping for the best. By setting specific goals, you can create a roadmap for allocating your resources and making informed financial decisions that align with your priorities.
Track your expenses
You should budget. You know this. But if you can’t commit to a budget, start by tracking your income and expenses, both personal and business-related, over a period of several months. This will provide insight into your spending habits and help you identify areas where you may be able to cut costs or allocate funds more efficiently. Once you have a clear understanding of your financial situation, you can work your way up to creating a budget that outlines your expected income, fixed expenses, and discretionary spending. Then: regularly review and adjust your budget as needed to reflect changes in your financial circumstances.
Maintain separate accounts for personal and business finances
One of the most important aspects of financial planning for entrepreneurial families is keeping your personal and business finances separate. Not only will this help you when you go to sell your business (or get a loan), this helps to simplify your financial management, making it easier to track expenses, file taxes, and monitor the financial health of both your business and your family. Open separate bank accounts and credit cards for your personal and business finances, and ensure that all business-related income and expenses are processed through the appropriate accounts. I cover this more in our book.
Establish an emergency fund
As an entrepreneur, your income will be subject to fluctuations and uncertainties, making it crucial to have a financial safety net in place. Establish an emergency fund with enough savings to cover at least three to six months’ worth of your family’s living expenses. This will provide a buffer in case of unexpected events, such as a sudden drop in income or a large, unforeseen expense. Having an emergency fund can also help reduce financial stress and ensure that your family remains financially secure, even during challenging times. Even if you can only afford to set aside $10 a month, start doing it. Better yet, make it happen automatically. Set up an automatic transfer from one account into a savings account.
Diversify your investments
Diversification is a key principle in financial planning, as it helps to spread risk and protect your family’s assets from market volatility. While it’s natural to want to invest heavily in your own business, it’s also essential to diversify your investment portfolio to ensure that your family’s financial security isn’t solely dependent on the success of your enterprise. Consider investing in a mix of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and retirement accounts, to help safeguard your family’s financial future. Consult with a financial advisor or planner to determine the best investment strategy for your unique circumstances. Can’t buy a lot of stocks yet? Consider mutual funds or fractional shares until you can do more. And do this with the help of a financial advisor. Do not invest what you can’t afford and don’t do your own stock picks. That’s a recipe for stress and burnout.
Plan for retirement
I know, I know. You think you’ll never retire. And you might not! But you should give your future self choices. As an entrepreneurial parent, it’s crucial to plan for your future financial security by actively saving for retirement. Unlike traditional employees, entrepreneurs may not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, making it even more important to establish and contribute to your own retirement accounts. Consider options in your country that are specifically designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. Regularly review and adjust your retirement savings strategy to ensure that you’re on track to meet your long-term financial goals.
Invest in insurance
Insurance is an essential component of financial planning for entrepreneurial families, as it helps protect your assets and provide a safety net in case of unforeseen events. This is especially true if you are a solo owner. Evaluate your insurance needs, including life, health, disability, and property insurance, to ensure that you and your family are adequately covered. Additionally, consider business-specific insurance policies, such as general liability or professional liability insurance, to safeguard your enterprise from potential risks and liabilities. I know you don’t think anything bad will happen, but very few people saw that blasted pandemic either.
Plan for your children’s education
If you have children, it’s important to plan for their educational expenses, especially if you hope to support them through college or university. Start saving early by setting up education-specific savings accounts, which offer tax advantages and allows your investments to grow over time. Regularly contribute to these accounts and adjust your savings strategy as your children grow and your financial circumstances change.
Develop a succession plan for your business
As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to think about the future of your business and develop a succession plan. This plan outlines the process for transferring ownership and control of your business to a successor, whether it’s a family member, employee, or an outside party. Or, if you think you’ll sell the business, start planning for that too. A well-crafted succession plan can help ensure a smooth transition, protect your family’s financial interests, and preserve the legacy of your business. I go into this in more depth in the book.
Consult with financial professionals
Navigating the complexities of financial planning for entrepreneurial families can be challenging, and it’s often beneficial to seek the guidance of objective financial professionals. A financial advisor or planner can help you develop a comprehensive financial plan that addresses your unique needs and goals, while an accountant can assist with tax planning and financial record-keeping. By working with trusted professionals, you can ensure that your financial decisions are well-informed and aligned with your objectives, providing greater financial security for both your business and your family.