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I Just Sold My Business—Now What?

Selling your business is an intense process, one that requires months, sometimes years, of your time and effort. As an owner, you have no shortage of decisions to make and questions to ask when preparing your business for sale.

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Preparing Your Business for Sale: Navigating Due Diligence

In our recent blogs, we’ve discussed several ways to prepare your business for a successful sale. There are strategies that make you more attractive to buyers, important questions you should ask before engaging in a sale, and even questions to ask yourself before deciding to sell. If you’ve followed this series closely, you may have noticed a key point we’ve made several times—the due diligence process can be grueling.

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Preparing Your Business for Sale: Questions to Ask Potential Buyers

When it comes to selling your business, there’s a (seemingly) never-ending list of things to think about. There are documents to prepare, papers to sign, and numbers to analyze. It’s one of the biggest decisions of a business owner’s life, and yet you can’t discuss it with many people.

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Preparing Your Business for Sale: What to do When Things Get Serious

Selling your business can be a lot like dating. In the beginning, you want to present an attractive version of yourself (that is, your business) to find the best potential partner (i.e., buyer). When someone is interested, you vet them to see if things can work out amicably between the two of you. You have to know what you want, but also be willing to compromise.

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Preparing Your Business for Sale: Pre-Sale Task List

Some business owners enter their industry knowing their plan is to sell one day. Others want to create a legacy they can pass on to their kids. Then there are those who love what they do so much, they plan to “die with their boots on”—they don’t want to retire and they have no intention of leaving the business.

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Preparing Your Business for Sale: Are You Ready?

Owning a business is a lot like raising a child—it involves a lot of hard work and constant attention, and you often question if you’re doing things the right way. But in the end, the benefits are unlike anything you can experience when working for someone else. You get to operate the business as you see fit, make an impact on your employees and community, and build something meaningful—sometimes from the ground up.

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Planning Post-Pandemic: Survival Tips for Business Owners

Since March of 2020, everyone is looking at business in a new light. During the pandemic, many entrepreneurs learned their former success strategies no longer applied, and business owners with haphazard budgets and financial plans had to face some tough realities. Twenty-twenty was a hard year, but it was also a wakeup call for many to get a handle on the way they run their companies.

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Maximizing Your Money: Find the Most Efficient Use of Your Dollar

When it comes to financial planning, most people focus on how to get the best return on their investment—monitoring the stock market and aiming for the largest profit. That’s certainly an important part of growing your money, but it’s also a factor that’s largely out of your control.

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Student Loans: What's the Best Way to Pay Them Off?

For many people, student loans are a necessity to earn a higher education. But like most financial strategies, there’s an abundance of misinformation and general lack of information about how to manage them. Most students graduate with a slew of unanswered questions...

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Your Extra Cash: Is It Better to Pay Off Debts or Invest More Money?

Paying off a debt—no matter how small—is always a gratifying accomplishment. It means you have one less bill to pay and you can allocate more money to other (potentially more fun) expenses. You’re not obligated to a creditor, and you get to decide where your money goes.

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Managing Debt: The Snowball vs. The Avalanche

One of the main obstacles people face when getting their finances in order is knowing how to handle debt—it’s something most Americans deal with on some level, and when you don’t know the most effective way to pay off your debt, you can end up feeling stuck or like you’re throwing money down the drain. That’s why one of the questions many people ask their advisor is this: What’s the best way to tackle debt?

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Should I Convert My Traditional IRA to a Roth?

Deciding when the best time is to pay taxes on your retirement assets is often tricky and depends on multiple factors—your current income and financial situation, future financial expectations, and even personal preference or personality type. Traditional IRAs allow you to make pre-tax contributions that you pay taxes on when you withdraw the money; whereas Roth IRAs allow you to generate tax-free income in retirement by paying taxes now and making post-tax contributions.

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How Pre- and Post-Tax Contributions Affect Your Retirement

Many people don’t understand the ins and outs of their retirement plan—they simply contribute to their 401(k) and hope for the best. But while it’s normal to be a little confused by the investment landscape, that doesn’t mean you should settle for a less-than-optimal plan. Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that allow for pre-tax contributions might be the most common type of retirement strategy, but that doesn’t mean they offer the best results in each phase of your life.

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What You Should Know About Your Emergency Fund

Part of creating a sound financial plan involves protecting yourself from potential risks. Most people appreciate the comfort of knowing they have a little something extra stashed away “just in case,” but some people might question the necessity of an emergency fund. After all, wouldn’t it be better to allocate more cash toward investments that earn substantial gains over time?

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How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

When we create a comprehensive financial plan for a client, our objective is to accomplish three things: protect you from risk, grow your assets, and establish strategies that help you effectively accomplish your long-term goals. We start by protecting what you already have so you can focus your further efforts on growth without fear of the unknown. Life insurance is one of the primary ways we establish your protection plan so you can be confident about the future.

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What You're Failing to Consider About Your Future Part III: Young Professionals

Most of the younger families we work with want assurance that they’re moving in the right direction. They want to know that they’re on the right track and if there’s anything they can do better with their financial plan. And at Atlas, we want you to be able to answer those questions yourself. We’re not here to make decisions for our clients, but we make it our mission to ensure you have all the information available to make choices that align with your goals. So, if you’re in the grind and you’re thinking about the future you want to build, here are some things you need to consider when it comes to your financial plan.

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What You're Failing to Consider About Your Future Part II: Retirees

Preparing for retirement might seem like the most basic aspect of financial planning, but studies have shown that there’s a massive information gap when it comes to how retirees intend to spend their money compared to how they actually plan to save it. Too many people don’t know how much they need for retirement or how to distribute their assets when they get there. In this blog, we’ll talk about the important aspects of a retirement plan and what you might be failing to consider when it comes to your future as a retiree.

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What You're Failing to Consider About Your Future Part I: Business Owners

A business can suffer if one of its key employees were to pass away. The key employee is generally someone who is highly paid, responsible for business or management decisions, has significant impact on sales or business operations, and/or has special relationships with customers or creditors. The death of this key employee could lead to loss of significant business relationships and at the very least it would be costly for the business to find, hire, and train a replacement. Key person life insurance is meant to replace the potential loss of business that would result in the death of this key person as well as the cost to find, hire, and train their replacement.

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Business Financial Planning: Protecting against the loss of a key employee

As complicated as financial planning can be, most people assume their own plan is simpler than it really is. I’ve had clients tell me, “Planning for us shouldn’t take too much time, our life isn’t that complicated.” But that’s rarely the case, especially if you own a business. Oftentimes these same people need to have two or three strategy meetings about just one aspect of their plan.

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Modern Buy/Sell Agreement: Using the LLC Buy/Sell Agreement Method

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) offers business owners the protection of a corporation and the flexible tax characteristics of a partnership. Planners are now using LLCs to help their clients address everything from asset protection to estate planning. LLCs have shown themselves to be particularly useful in buy/sell agreements for business owners in a way that not only addresses the potential death of an owner, but retirement, as well, in a tax efficient manner.

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Business Financial Planning: Substitute Creditor Arrangement

A substitute creditor arrangement can accomplish the goal of releasing a stockholder’s/ guarantor’s estate from liability on a corporate obligation and providing a source of income to the beneficiaries of the deceased guarantor’s ILIT (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust). In a substitute creditor arrangement, the bank lends a sum of money to the corporation, the repayment of which has been personally guaranteed by a stockholder / guarantor. In order to secure the debt obligation, a life insurance policy is purchased on the guarantor by the guarantor’s ILIT. The guarantor makes annual gifts of cash to the ILIT to provide cash for premium payments to the life insurance company. If the guarantor’s annual exclusion does not cover the total premium, part of the guarantor’s unified credit may be used. The guarantor’s ILIT also enters into a private agreement with the bank, stating that if the guarantor dies while the note is outstanding, the bank must sell the ILIT the note at its full value. If the guarantor dies before the loan has been repaid, the life insurance policy proceeds will be received by the guarantor’s ILIT and will be used to purchase the note from the bank. Thereafter, the guarantor’s ILIT will be the substitute creditor of the corporation.

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Business Financial Planning: Wait and See Buy/Sell Agreement

A wait and see buy/sell agreement is a hybrid arrangement, being a mix between an entity purchase buy/sell plan and a cross purchase buy/sell plan. A wait and see buy/sell agreement allows the business owners to wait until one of the owner’s death to see if it would be better to purchase the deceased owner’s business interest under the entity purchase agreement, or for the surviving owners to purchase the deceased owner’s business interest under the cross purchase agreement. In other words, the wait and see buy/sell agreement allows the deceased business partner’s business interest to be purchased by the surviving owners, the business entity itself, or both.

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Using the IRA/LLC Structure to Invest in Real Estate

One of the more popular ways to use your self-directed IRA to invest in real estate is by using the IRA/LLC structure. A self-directed IRA requires using a custodian which is responsible for holding and administering the assets of the IRA. This method is typically more popular because it allows the IRA owner more control over the IRA transactions instead of waiting on your IRA custodian to complete transactions. The IRA/LLC method typically also saves you some transaction fees that many custodians may charge you to complete transactions.

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Retaining Key Employees: Stay Bonus

Business owners often express how hard it is for them to attract and retain talented employees who are key to business operations. I just spoke with a client this morning who told me "we recently lost a very key employee". The magic question is how do businesses find ways to incentivize their key employees to stick around for at least a certain amount of time? How can we reduce key employee turnover and the costs associated with it? The answer may be what's called a Stay Bonus.

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Invest in Real Estate within Your IRA

Self-directed IRAs are a little known tool which allows you to invest in real estate (among other things) and get all of the tax benefits that an IRA gives you. There are several qualified retirement plans that you can use to invest in real estate, including a self-directed traditional IRA and a self-directed Roth IRA. This allows you to tax defer gains on sales of properties, as well as the rental income from these properties.

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The Master File: The Estate Planning Piece Most People are Missing

The reason most of us have an estate plan is to make things as stress free as possible for those we leave behind. That’s why we spend the time and money necessary to get our estate planning documents in order and make sure our beneficiaries are up to date. But without proper organization, our family can still be left with a mess.

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HSAs, One of the Best Ways to Save for Retirement

Health Savings Accounts are perhaps one of the most underutilized retirement planning tools available. HSAs are arguably one of the most tax friendly ways to save for retirement since they offer a “triple tax benefit”. You are allowed to tax deduct your contributions, it’s allowed to grow tax free, and you can take tax free withdrawals for all qualified medical expenses including premiums for a long term care policy...

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