Are Retirement Accounts the Reason Entrepreneurs Overpay Taxes?Aug 02, 2022
It happens every year.
Entrepreneurs get their tax return to review before filing, and experience that sinking feeling... "I owe WHAT?!"
Queue the CPA, realizing they have an unhappy client, offers up: "Well, we could lower your taxes if you'd like to contribute more to your retirement plan..."
Ugh. This lazy, half-hearted suggestion. Here's what it leaves unsaid:
- There are more strategies you could have used to lower your taxes, if we had thought about this 6-12 months ago, but we didn't do any PROACTIVE planning, so now that the year is already over, this is just about the only option.
- Most business owners are able to get a better return on their money by putting it into their own business - which they both control and benefit from directly - than the 8-10% average returns they'll get in a retirement plan investment fund
- The #1 reason businesses fail is cash flow issues, but sure, let's tie up cash in retirement funds you have (very) limited access to until you turn 60.
- The tax incentive for contributing to Traditional retirement funds is a tax deferral, so you still pay tax on your contributions (and gains) when you pull the money out - PLUS a penalty if you pull it out early!
I'm genuinely not against contributing to retirement accounts. They have their place in a comprehensive wealth strategy. But most Entrepreneurs (and most CPAs, for that matter) treat them like the only path toward long-term wealth AND the only tax strategy, and these are both blatant myths.
The truth is that if an entrepreneur can plan ahead for taxes in a way to lower their income tax by $5 - 10,000 per year by optimizing their entity structure(s), maximize their deductions, and shifting their income to lower tax brackets, they can more wealth by re-investing that money back into their own business(es) than by leaving it in an investment fund where everyone "managing" the money is siphoning off their take.
Proactive and wholistic wealth and tax planning involves a lot more than putting money into retirement accounts, the myths and lazy thinking around retirement accounts are perhaps one of the most damaging and costly mental traps for entrepreneurs.
Wealthy entrepreneurs don't stick their heads in the sand when it comes tax strategy and financial planning.
Rather, they achieve and maintain their wealth by understanding and actively managing their money. Wealth Savvy Entrepreneurs are MORE involved in their tax and financial strategies than Financially Frustrated Business Owners, who often prefer to delegate everything to their accountant so they don't have to think about it.
We help Wealthy and Future-Wealthy Entrepreneurs map out their objectives, identify and avoid obstacles, and understand their levers of financial control so they can lower their taxes and build long-term wealth.
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