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BUY A BUSINESS USING YOUR IRA and 401K

Jul 30, 2008
Article #23
Author: Mel Jones

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Although thousands have discovered this golden opportunity, some of the savviest investors are still unaware of this remarkable funding option: You can utilize your IRA monies before retirement age to purchase a business without incurring early distribution penalties.

Thanks to the government’s 1974 ERISA laws, you can self-direct your retirement funds into investments that include purchasing a business and/or franchise. Have your eye on a local eatery? Thinking of turning your love for tacos into a mobile tacqueria? Funding your dream enterprise with retirement monies is a dynamite option for those wishing to take control of their future by going into business for themselves.

The Benefits

While individual retirement account (IRA) funds could be used in this way for the past three decades, it’s only been in recent years that people have taken a closer look at personally controlling the investments made by their IRAs both in and out of the stock market. More specifically, an increasing number of new business owners are enjoying the benefits available to them through what are commonly known as “self-directed IRAs.”

By using an IRA structure similar to that of a self-directed retirement account to purchase a business or franchise, you can save money, increase your retirement account value, and even offer a 401(k) to your employees. It’s ideal for those who want to avoid taking out loans to finance a start-up business. Or, if your retirement funds can’t cover the full purchase price, the structure allows for multi-party purchases – a perfect set-up for husband and wife teams. You can even combine your retirement money with loan money. All these options allow you to start your business with significantly less overhead, which translates into greater profits.

For example: To finance a $200,000 business, a 10-year 10.75% SBA loan could stunt your growth for the first 10 years. However, a similar business funded with retirement monies would not be subject to debt payments. Thus, the over $2700 you would be paying monthly on your loan could be reinvested instead into your business to increase your growth rate.

It Gets Better!

Using retirement funds to finance your entrepreneurial endeavors could mean much higher returns within your retirement account, since company profits not expended on loan repayments can be deposited back into the account. In this way, your retirement nest egg grows along with the success of your business. Profits funneled into your retirement account are tax deferred, just like earnings from traditional stock-market investments. Over time, this could save you thousands in tax dollars.

These self-directed account structures provide a surprising amount of flexibility. Plans such as these allow for investments into new or existing businesses. Other plans are structured to allow for investments in real estate, vacation rentals, hard money lending and much more. Into real estate flipping? You could combine your interest in real estate with your desire for self-employment by forming a Real Estate Operating Company (REOC). Want to invest in shrimp farms in New Orleans or timberland in New Zealand? With the right self-directed account structure, you can do that, too.

Getting Started

Restructuring your IRA (or other retirement accounts, like 401(k)s) to allow for a business or franchise purchase is best left to professionals experienced in such matters. While no taxes or penalties are triggered in transferring the funds from your old retirement account into the newly created one, the IRS does have the right to tax up to 100% of your IRA value if you fail to follow the appropriate government guidelines. For this reason, you will want to employ the services of retirement account facilitators who have structured hundreds (and preferably thousands) of these accounts successfully.

Although an increasing number of investors are discovering the value of this business-funding option, there are still only a handful of companies that specialize in creating these unique accounts. Many offer free consultations and will explain in more detail how the structure works in relationship to individual business goals. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, it’s your money and your business.

Financing your business with your own retirement funds takes the anxiety out of this first step in business ownership . . . and it puts you on the fast-track to greater success.

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We at SellingRestaurants feel obligated to educate the public, our customers and our clients with information that can help them make more intelligent buying and selling decisions. 

Mel Jones is one of the premier restaurant brokers in the nation having published hundreds of articles on buying and selling a restaurant and bar business, selling thousands of restaurants in CA., WA and AZ and building one of the most copied business models in the brokerage industry.  Mel started SellingRestaurants in 2004 with the one simple concept, give the buyers the information they need to make intelligent buying decisions without being pestered by a broker or hiding information, prepare the business for market by researching key details that make or break deals and educate the buyer on the buying process to create an intelligent buyer.  Prior to SellingRestaurants, Mel was a Chief Financial Officer for Universal Music Group, the largest music company in the world.  There he participated in more than $11.5 billion of merger and acquisition transactions.  He also work for top companies such as Nestle Foods, USA. He hold a Bachelors in Business Administration Finance as well as attened Law School at Gonzaga University.  Give Mel a call at 480.274.7000 or e-mail him at [email protected] if you have any questions. 


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