Yes, you can invest in your own business by using your 401(k) and other retirement funds — without incurring taxes, penalties, interest or debt.
The benefits are powerful, yet easy to understand:
- You invest your retirement funds in your business—without taxes or penalties
- You use a safe, proven plan based on long-standing provisions of the IRS
- You use pre-tax dollars to fund your business
- You gain business equity and an improved cash flow position from the start
- You can use the funds to receive a salary during startup
- You accelerate business profitability by eliminating or reducing interest and debt
- You secure funding fast—typically in two to three weeks or less
- You can set aside tax-deductible retirement savings up to $200,000 per year
- You optimize business equity and value
Retirement Plan Rollover Funding (401(k)/IRA rollover financing)
This popular funding strategy has been around for many years, providing funding to purchase a new business or franchise. Because it allows you to use the savings in your retirement plan to fund your new business, it is not based on your credit score. It’s a common misconception that you can only use your retirement plan to purchase investments like publicly traded stocks, bonds or mutual funds. In reality, you can use most retirement plans to buy a business or recapitalize an existing business without paying taxes or penalties. It’s important to understand that you are not borrowing against your 401(k). Your new retirement plan has simply invested in your business instead of investing in another company’s stocks or bonds. This strategy is often used to provide capital for the down payment on an SBA loan.
What are some of the plans that qualify?
- 401(k) Plans
- 407 Plans (Gov’t. agencies)
- Cash Balance Plans
- Employee Stock Ownership
- Money Purchase Plans
- 403(b) Plans
- Annuity Plans
- Defined Benefits Plans
- Rollover Plans
- SIMPLE Plans
Common plans that don’t qualify include Roth IRA’s and Roth 401(k) plans.
Unsecured Business Line of Credit
An unsecured business line of credit, a form of revolving credit, is the most accessible type of funding. Typically, the line of credit is available in amounts from $25K to $150K. Since the loan is based on an individual’s personal credit rating, no business financials are required. The money can be used to purchase a business, expand an existing business, or to provide working capital. Often a business will use the credit line to manage the cash flow of a seasonal business.
Simply put, asset-based lending is any kind of loan secured by an asset. Typically, these loans are tied to investment portfolios, inventory, accounts receivable, machinery or equipment. Because a hard asset secures the loan, the interest rates are among the lowest available. An asset-backed loan is sometimes used to finance a business when the entrepreneur has low-cost basis stock in their investment portfolio and doesn’t want to pay capital gains on the sale of the stock. In this instance, the stock portfolio would be used as the collateral for the loan. The investment remains in the entrepreneur’s name, and the entrepreneur continues to receive all the appreciation and dividends generated by the portfolio.
Because of the low out-of-pocket expense, leasing can lower the initial cost of starting a new business. Leasing a product is similar to renting it; you pay the leasing company each month for the use of the equipment. A contract usually lasts between two and ten years, depending on the cost and usable life of the product. Although you do not actually own the equipment, you will have full use of the equipment without having to pay the full cost upfront. Over the course of the lease, the leasing company will recover the price of the item plus their charges. Therefore, you need only a small deposit to start. Equipment leasing is an affordable way to acquire equipment quickly without a large out-of-pocket expense. To qualify for an equipment lease, you need to have a strong business model and good credit.
Merchant Cash Advance
A merchant cash advance provides small- and medium-sized businesses with fast working capital by purchasing your future credit card sales at a discount and advancing you a sum of money. Unlike a loan, it does not require any collateral or personal guarantee, and you don’t pay interest. The typical amount for an advance is $5K to $250K. The merchant advance is not based on business or personal credit, and is generally available to any business that processes credit cards as a form of payment.
SBA Micro Loan
This vehicle provides small, short-term loans to small business concerns and certain types of not-for-profit child care centers. The SBA makes funds available to specialty designated intermediary lenders with experience in lending as well as management and technical assistance. While the maximum loan amount is $50,000, the average microloan is about $13,000. Microloans can be used for purchasing a new business, working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery or equipment. Business financials may be required for those looking for an amount over $25,000.
SBA 7(a) Loan
The 7(a) is the most common SBA loan for both business start-ups and existing businesses. It’s a highly flexible loan that can be used for “any legitimate business purpose,” including business acquisition, working capital, machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures and leasehold improvements. The SBA requires that a lender charge no more than prime plus a margin not to exceed 2.75%. The rate is typically based on the strength of the loan. Some lenders offer three- to five-year fixed rates that adjust after the initial fixed period. The typical 7(a) loan amount varies from $100K to $5 million. The 7(a) requires some type of collateral, and the borrower must have strong personal credit.
SBA 504 Loan
For start-ups, 504 loans are less common than 7(a) loans, although the requirements to qualify are similar. A key difference is that a 504 loan must include real estate or equipment. Those without real estate or equipment as part of their business will not qualify. Because these loans often involve real estate, the down payment is typically 10% less than a 7(a) loan. The lending bank takes a first mortgage of 50%, and the SBA guarantees the remaining 40%. Most 504 projects range from $500k to $5 million.