Making your one-person business a success

Published 1:01 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are you a one-person business or sole proprietor? Whatever you call it, you’re running a business.

While running your company can present challenges, it also may offer cost-efficient opportunities to make sure you’re properly insured and putting money away for retirement, depending on the company’s legal structure.

Here’s a primer on financial products that can benefit you and your family, possibly using business dollars.

Are you insured? The answer to that question comes in three varieties: life, disability and health. All three types of insurance can help protect your family financially from unforeseen circumstances. If you can buy group insurance, your costs may be lower compared to buying these financial products individually.

Life insurance is the foundation of financial security for many families, and it can be cost-efficient when purchased as a group policy. Typically, group life insurance is term insurance — it doesn’t normally offer cash value. You might supplement this with individual permanent life insurance if needed.

Group disability income insurance is another important piece of your family’s total financial protection. Subject to certain conditions, disability income insurance replaces a portion of your income should a qualified disability prevent you from earning a living, either in your occupation or any occupation, depending on the policy.

And don’t forget the importance of health insurance, especially if you have a family that depends on you, as health care costs continue to rise. You may qualify for a group health insurance policy that at least partially pays for coverage for both you and your family.

Your business may also be eligible to sponsor a retirement plan; the type depends on how your company is set up. The Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan has been a popular way to put money away for retirement because of its ease to set up and maintain, as well as its costs. However, 401(k) plans have come down in cost for smaller businesses, giving you alternatives if you are looking to put tax-advantaged money away for retirement.