Small business. Big savings.

Too often business owners put customers, employees, even vendors before themselves.

Usually this trait leads to great things. But often this leads to low savings rates relative to their income. And that can be detrimental to long-term personal financial security.

Even if your business is your largest asset and you hope an eventual exit will set you up for retirement, prudent savings now will enhance your upside in the future and protect you in case things don’t go as planned.

Your business is not you

Many entrepreneurs conflate their personal identity and finances with their business. This usually goes two ways: either the owner takes too much too soon from the business, leaving it drained; or they give too much, never forcing the business to stand on its own.

The best approach is to clearly separate your role as business owner from your role as an employee in the business. While every situation is different, as an employee you should get a regular paycheck for that role, while as an owner you should benefit from the profits. Save a portion of both incomes toward retirement or long-term savings.

Watch those (tax-deductible) expenses

Just because a meal or entertainment expense is tax deductible, doesn’t mean that’s where you should spend your money.

Often, the temptation of being able to “write it off” leads to loose spending. Instead, try reducing out-of-the-office coffee meetings in favor of in-office meetings or similar tactics. Then put the savings toward your retirement account.

No matter how successful your company, business owners are not immune to overspending. And overspending makes saving that much more difficult.


When it comes down to it, business owners are no different when it comes to savings: the secret is to start. If you’re a current business owner, or are soon to exit your business, we encourage you to meet with the Helmstar team and review how your business fits into your overall portfolio.

Don’t use your status as a business owner as an excuse to not create great saving and investing habits. Use it as an opportunity to do more, more often.

Business Owner Savings Checklist

  • Know your goals. See “Dreaming Big” (below) for ideas.
  • Plan on a mix of tactics including saving while you grow your business and selling your business when the time is right.
  • Be smart about your level of risk and liquidity depending on the stage of your business.
  • Pick the right vehicles. Tax-deferred and taxable investment accounts both have a role to play.
  • Get started — good things come to those who don’t wait.
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