Using Retirement money for business fund

    by Aditi Bansal

Updated on Friday, May 05, 2017

Can the Retirement Fund Provide Alternative Business Financing? As an entrepreneur, your retirement fund offers a variety of business financing options you can use to acquire or expand an enterprise.

tags  #Hard Money Lending  #Retirement fund #


As an aspiring entrepreneur, you struggle with capital financing for your ideas. After collecting savings, accepting help from friends and taking out business loans from traditional banks and hard money lenders, you are likely to run out of options.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to use your retirement fund for business financing, such as:

Accept a Taxable Distribution

You can access funds in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), which comes with a normal income tax and a 10 percent penalty for early distribution if you are under 59½. If you are over 59½ and you have a Roth IRA that has been opened for at least five years, you can receive the funds tax-free.

Consider the 401(k)

Different 401(k) retirement plans offer a loan feature, where you can borrow $50,000 or less than 50 percent of your plan value. You must repay the loan in five years, in at least quarterly installments at an interest of at least prime. The advantage is you can enjoy the feature tax-free, even though you can only access a limited amount of money.

The Rollover Business Startup Solution (ROBS)

ROBS gives you the option of rolling over your retirement funds for business financing. Using the ROBS option, you can easily roll over a 401(k) plan or IRA pre-tax into a new 401(k) plan, under a corporation. Thereafter, you can buy the share from the corporation, which then qualifies you to appear on the business' employee register, with a reasonable income. The advantage is you can use all your IRA or 401(k) funds without incurring a tax or penalty. However, the highly controversial option also opens you and your business to an IRS audit, as they often evaluate ROBS agreements for abuse of set tax rules and regulations.

A Self-Directed IRA

Initially, using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to acquire stocks in a corporation may look similar to the ROBS structure. In both options, you use your retirement funds to buy a business. However, after analyzing a recent U.S. Tax Court Case Ellis v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, you understand better the limitations and risks of a Self-Directed IRA in purchasing businesses. In the case above, Ellis invested IRA funds in a corporation and eventually acquired business assets, which limited his ability to guarantee a loan or take a salary, which triggered an IRS prohibition on the transaction rule violation.

There are several legal provisions that make it possible to use your retirement funds for business financing. However, you must prepare to navigate complex systems and tax obstacles. Depending on your options, always go for the non-retirement funds first, and only go to the retirement fund option as a last resort. If using your retirement fund is your only option, think through the decision and consult extensively with tax and financial experts to help you settle on the least expensive option.

Also, do not approach the business with unrealistic optimism. SBA statistics indicate that 8 out of every 10 startups fail in the first three years. Ultimately, using your retirement funds is a huge risk that could easily destabilize you or leave you financially unstable for the rest of your life. Consider building your business for at least three years, and only refer to the retirement fund when you are confident that you are running a steady ship and you are assured of a regular revenue from your business.

This page has a focus on Hard Money Lending, Retirement fund was shared by Aditi Bansal.

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