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Financially Simple Bizcast

The Financially Simple podcast is your one-stop resource for small business owners. Gain unique insights into growing, refining, and selling businesses. You will hear ways business owners have reduced their tax liabilities, increased their income, improved office morale, saved for the retirement of their dreams, and more.
Host Justin Goodbread is a serial entrepreneur, award-winning CFP® (Certified Financial Planning professional), CEPA® (Certified Exit Planning Advisor), and CVGA® (Certified Value Growth Advisor) with years of experience guiding business owners from start to exit in their business.

Feb 25, 2021

In episode 339 of Financially Simple, Justin considers why Business Owner’s personal finances can be such a mess.

Running your own business is like spinning plates, there’s a lot going on and if we don’t pay attention something gets overlooked and crashes, and often times this is our own financials. In this episode, Justin looks at reasons why business owner’s personal finances are usually overlooked, and gives some ways that can be used to address the problem.

There are many different ways that business owners can allow owning a business to harm their personal finances. For the sake of time, I'm only going to outline a few of the primary offenses that get business owners into personal financial trouble. If you read through this list and find that you can personally relate to any of them, don't worry. I'm going to follow up with ways to help you protect yourself, so you don't end up looking at your personal finances in your 30s or your personal wealth in your 40s, 50s, or 60s and think, "I'm going to have to work well into my 80s!"

  1. Operating your business as a sole proprietorship. Leaving your business unincorporated means that you and any partners you might have in the business are personally responsible for any business debts. This may seem like something you can control, but what happens when you find yourself on the wrong end of litigation?
  2. Using personal lines of credit to finance your business. Full disclosure, I've done this before. The problem is that it can lead to massive amounts of personal debt and limit your ability to secure financing in the future.
  3. Providing a personal guarantee to a lender. Like the previous two offenses, personally guaranteeing a loan places your personal finances directly in the cross-hairs of your creditors. Even if the business is dissolved, you will be held liable for any outstanding debts that you've guaranteed.
  4. Being unprepared for an unbalanced cash flow. Some businesses have an unbalanced cash flow. These are typically seasonal in nature, like water parks, landscaping companies, and outdoor sports shops. But cash flow is vital to your business. In fact, 82% of failed businesses cite a lack of cash flow as the primary reason they failed. Business owners can often cause serious harm to their personal finances by not preparing for the lean times that come in the "down" months of a business with an unbalanced cash flow with an emergency fund.

How Do We Protect Ourselves?

Now that we have an idea of some of the typical ways business owners harm their personal finances through their businesses, let's shift gears. As business owners, what are the simplest ways to protect our personal finances from our businesses? How do we protect ourselves? Finances don't have to be difficult. So, whatever season of life you find yourself in, protect your personal finances. Pay yourself first and move on from there.

  1. Create an entity. I know operating as a sole proprietorship is easy. However, there's a tradeoff for that. In my opinion, the risk outweighs the reward. Whether it be a partnership or an LLC., you're protecting yourself from personal liability by creating an entity. Filing within your local jurisdiction is simple, and it provides you with the protection of a corporate veil.
  2. Build an emergency fund. This is finance 101. Like I said before, pay yourself first. You might think you don't need to keep very much liquidity, but that's what many of us thought before COVID-19. If you have 3 - 6 month's worth of expenses stashed in an emergency fund, you can typically handle the curveballs that life throws at you.
  3. Be sure to have enough insurance coverage. Having the correct insurance coverages is extremely important, but so is having enough coverage. All it takes is one lawsuit, one catastrophe to wipe out your personal finances. If you're unsure whether you have the right coverage or enough of it, speak with a licensed insurance agent.
  4. Don't sacrifice your retirement savings. I realize that many of you view your business as your retirement savings, but I want to unpack a couple of things here. I work with 50 to 60-year-old business owners all the time and their retirement savings compared to their non-business-owning counterparts are abysmal. But if you diversify your income, placing some of the money into retirement accounts, those accounts are often off-limits to creditors. Furthermore, retirement isn't a "get rich quick" scheme. Use the "slow money" of Wall Street to protect your future from the possibility that your business doesn't sell. By investing in retirement accounts, you can take advantage of the eighth wonder of the world... compounding interest.
  5. Keep debt to a minimum. I hate debt. To me, debt is a four-letter word. However, I am aware that there are times when taking on debt makes sense. Regardless of your personal view of debt, whether you're 100% against it or see it as an opportunity to leverage, keep it to a bare minimum.

As we wrap this up, I hope you've taken a good hard look at a very personal subject. You might be one of the fortunate ones that can look at this subject and say, "I'm doing great!" If you are, then I applaud you. But, maybe you've seen some things that you don't like. If that's you, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do today to change the trajectory of your life? What you do today can affect your personal finances in your 30s or your personal wealth in your 40s. It will likely impact your retirement when you've reached your 60s.

Believe it or not, these aren’t uncommon issues for business owners. I see it day in and day out. We help business owners put their personal and business finances on track to work in unison to reach their goals every day. We aim to teach business owners how they could double their net worth every 3 - 5 years. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, reach out to us!

Don’t forget to subscribe, and let us know how we are doing by leaving a review. Thanks for listening!




00:46 - Life as a Business Owner Has Wrecked My Personal Finances

02:42 - How Did We Get Here

03:41 - The Primary Offenses

07:57 - How Do We Protect Ourselves

08:29 - Make an Entity

08:54 - Build an Emergency Fund

09:53 - Have the Correct Insurance Coverage

10:18 - Don’t Sacrifice Your Retirement Savings

14:22 - Keep Debt to a Minimum

16:06 - Summary



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Host Justin Goodbread, Certified Financial Planner, Certified Exit Planning Advisor, Certified Value Growth Advisor. He is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, educator, Investopedia Top 100 advisor, and business strategist with over 20 years of experience. Justin owns Heritage Investors LLC, a registered investment adviser with the State of Tennessee. Heritage Investors only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements. This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for individuals. To determine what is appropriate for you, please consult a qualified professional. The Financially Simple podcast provides information, guidance, and support to Small Businesses in the United States.