How To Become An Absentee Owner

How To Become An Absentee Owner

“Let’s be honest.  If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably thought of how to become an absentee owner one day.  

The notion that your company cannot operate without you forces you to assume a few mundane tasks from each department, and you become the “go-to-person” every time. As much as that may appear necessary, you may also be denying yourself some time away for adventure and vacation, which will affect you in one way or another.

Being busy on the phone while addressing concerns and questions from your customers as well as managing your employees is not all that life has to offer. Maybe, you could “autopilot” your company and shift your attention elsewhere. 

Here are some tips on how you can run your business operations without being on the ground. 

You can learn which retirement plan would best fit for your company’s budget by clicking here

1. Attract High-Level Employees

Today, potential job seekers appreciate work-life balance working models and the freedom to work remotely. The implication, in this case, is that these are critical factors to consider for any employer focusing on attracting top talent.

On the other hand, creating the right working environment for your employees can increase their productivity, and in turn, micromanaging them becomes unnecessary.

In that case, attracting high-level employees is paramount. The reason is that such workers can meet or even exceed your expectations when you are not on the ground to oversee the daily operations of your company.

Yes, you might see an in crease to your overhead.  But, you have to ask yourself, what is the price of complete freedom?

2. Let Go of Anything That Ties You to Your Organization

If you are the face of your company, disconnecting from it in one way or another may be difficult. However, if you want to run your enterprise without being there physically, you need to cut any link that ties you to it.

As such, starting to transition your marketing, networking and any other customer facing materials should be on your checklist.  Consider getting rid of the “wrapped” company car or publishing your personal number on social media, websites and other materials.

Basically, start to completely remove yourself from your company’s identity.

3. Consider Delegating Roles

Delegation is the most direct path for starting the journey towards running your company on “autopilot.” 

Some of your workers can indeed handle particular tasks better than you do, while others have natural leadership qualities that you can leverage.

So, if you are planning to step away from the hands-on operations of your firm, you should prioritize nurturing competent employees to assume your responsibilities.

Conclusion

If you adopt the tips above, you can create an enterprise that runs without you, and one that honors who you are, your principles, and your input over the years.

Once you have your team in place, start to reap the benefits of what you’ve accomplished by traveling, enjoy more family time, or even start on your next venture.

If you’d like to learn how to become an absentee owner by attracting high-quality employees, schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

What Is A Forfeiture Account?

What Is A Forfeiture Account?

If you make contributions to your employee’s 401k plan, you may have built up amounts called forfeitures.  

What is a forfeiture account?  A forfeiture is the non-vested portion of an employee’s account balance.  For example, if an employee is 40% vested in your profit-sharing plan terminates their employment with your company, the remaining 60% becomes a forfeiture. 

How Are Forfeitures Used? 

IRS revenue ruling 84-156 states that forfeitures can be used to pay for a plan’s administrative expenses and/or to reduce employer contributions.  This is determined based on the provisions of the plan.  Forfeiture accounts typically pay the administrative expenses of the plan.  

These expenses include accounting, auditing, record-keeping, or consulting fees.  If there are forfeitures remaining after expenses have been paid, the plan will indicate how they will be used. 

In most cases, any remaining forfeitures are used to reduce the employer contribution or be allocated to other employee’s plans.  Employer contributions offset by forfeiture accounts are not tax-deductible, and cannot be used for employee deferrals.  Forfeiture account funds also cannot be distributed back to the employer.    

You can learn which retirement plan would best fit your company’s budget by clicking here

When Should Forfeiture Accounts Be Used?   

Assets in a forfeiture account should be used in the year the employee terminated their employment.  Typically, no later than the end of that year.  You’re not allowed to let forfeitures accumulate from year to year before using them, no matter how small the amount is.  Any forfeitures left over from one year to the next must be used to pay expenses for the following year. 

To make sure that forfeitures are used properly you should monitor your account frequently.

Plan Accordingly

Just like anything else in business, you need to plan on how you use forfeitures.  There are many options when it comes to utilizing forfeitures.  Be sure to go over your plan to make sure it aligns with your goals. 

You need to understand when forfeitures will occur, how to use them, and when to use them.  Failure to understand these could lead to IRS violations..  So, if your employees ask you what is a forfeiture account, you can tell them.

Have more questions about forfeiture accounts? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

5 Unique and Creative Employee Benefits

5 Unique and Creative Employee Benefits

For most people, landing a new job is not just about how much money they’re going to make, but about the employee benefits they’ll receive.  According to research from Glassdoor, 57% of people said benefits and perks are among their top considerations before they accept a job. Four out of five workers say they would prefer new benefits over a pay raise. 

Here are the top 5 best employee benefits workers prefer:

  1. Health care insurance (medical, dental): 40%
  2. Vacation/paid time off: 37%
  3. Performance bonus: 35%
  4. Paid sick days: 32%
  5. 401k plan, retirement plan and or pension: 31%

However, there are some unique and creative employee benefits that some companies provide their employees.  Here are 5 examples of creative employee benefits some top companies provide their employees. 

1. A Pet-Friendly Environment

If any of your employees have pets, you might want to consider providing benefits for them.  PetSmart offers employees several pet-related benefits.  They receive a 15 percent discount on pet-related merchandise and grooming.  They also receive free training classes and discounted veterinary services.  They can also bring their pets to work with them. 

Dogtopia provides its employees with a personal wellness fund that can be used for doggy daycare and vet visits.  Employees that don’t have pets can use the wellness fund for gym memberships and healthy lunches. 

You don’t have to be in the pet business to provide pet benefits.  Zappos provides its employees with pet insurance.

You can learn which retirement plan would best fit your company’s budget by clicking here

2. Unlimited Vacation Time

Netflix employees get to choose how many vacation days they take each year.  It could be two weeks or two months. 

Metis Communications not only gives their employees three weeks of vacation, but they also get their birthday off too.  They also get a bonus vacation week during the last week of December.  After four years of employment, workers get an extra week of vacation.  After five years, they get paid Friday’s off during the summer.   

3. Get Paid to Volunteer

Salesforce rewards their workers for volunteering.  They get six paid days off to do volunteer work.  They also give employees $1000 each year to donate to the charity or cause of their choice. 

4. Freezing Your Eggs

Female employees at Spotify who wish to delay pregnancy can have their eggs frozen.  Spotify will pay the cost of egg freezing and fertility assistance.   

5. Paying Down Student Loan Debt

Paying off student loans can eat away at your paycheck.  PwC helps its employees pay down their debt.  They give their employees $100 a month towards their student loan debt.  This benefit is available for up to six years.  This can help save employees save up to $10,000 when you factor in interest. 

You might want to consider offering your employees some of these benefits or none at all.  The important thing to remember is that to attract top talent for your company, having an attractive benefits package and an excellent work culture is a must.

Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

Tax Credits for 401ks for Small Business Owners

Tax Credits for 401ks for Small Business Owners

A lot has changed in the last few months for small businesses, but one of the positive changes we’ve seen comes from the SECURE Act. Previously, employers who had implemented a 401(k) plan for their company received a flat $500 tax-credit, which wasn’t enough of an incentive for some. With the SECURE Act, employers will be guaranteed a minimum of $500 with a maximum of $5,000 for up to three years! If you are looking for tax savings, this is a great place to start. The final amount is determined by the number of employees that sign up for the plan. Shameless plug: we help make enrollment simple for you and your employees!

Encouraging Employees To Enroll
Automatic enrollment (often called auto-enrollment) is a great tool to get more employees enrolled. Participants have the option to opt OUT, but aren’t dealing with the hassle of enrolling. It’s a great way to urge employees to start saving for their retirement. We find that one of the top reasons that employees don’t enroll is because they don’t understand or it seems complicated. What’s more, is that the SECURE Act offers an additional $500 tax-credit for those 401(k) or Simple IRA plans who use automatic enrollment for their participants!

Extension Of The Timeline
The SECURE Act has also pushed the timeline for employers to decide if they want to implement a 401(k) or Cash Balance plan. Instead of the December 31st deadline, they now have until their next filing date (including extensions) to decide whether or not they want to implement a plan for the previous year.

This rule goes into effect for plans starting in 2020 for the 2020 tax year.

This won’t be eligible for the 2019 tax year.

These incentives give the employer a way to offset the costs associated with a retirement plan that helps with recruiting high-quality employees, employee retention, and tax management.

We see the passing of the SECURE Act as positive for small businesses. If you’d like to read more about the SECURE Act, we’ve written a blog that covers extension of the implementation deadline, and eligibility for part-time employees. Read more here.

Contact us for a free consultation or head over to the Retirement Plan Evaluator to see which plan is best for your business.

Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

 

 

 

 

Should You Establish A 4 Day Work-Week?

Should You Establish A 4 Day Work-Week?

As employers, there are a lot of things on our minds consistently. How do we increase productivity? How do we retain our workers and keep them happy? How do we become more profitable? There’s been a trending topic that claims to address each of these issues, so we decided to dive in a little deeper. The concept of the 4 day (or shortened) work-week has even earned its own name: The Compressed Workweek. But, who has tried it? And of those who have tried it, what were the results? 

Why change? 

According to a global survey of nearly 3,000 employees across eight countries conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, 45% of full-time workers said it would take less than 5 hours each day to do their job if they worked uninterrupted, while 72% of employees of employees would work 4 days or less per week if their pay remained consistent. Yet, 71% of employees also say that work interferes with their personal life. 

Who’s tried it? 

According to NPR, Microsoft Japan allowed workers to transition from their 5 day per week jobs to a 4 day work-week over the summer, allowing them to enjoy a three-day weekend while getting their normal paycheck. The result? A productivity boost of 40%, and lower electricity costs- a savings of 23%. They decided to change meeting times too, from the traditional hour to 30 minutes. To replace longer in-person meetings, they suggested utilizing time-saving communication tools such as chat channels. 

Andrew Barnes, founder of Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand tried the four-day work week in 2018 as a trial that allowed all of its employees a paid day off per week. Employees worked 30 hour weeks but were paid the same amount as they were paid when working 40 hour weeks. They were required to produce the same amount of work. After the trial, the company found that team engagement had increased noticeably, while stress decreased. The company has been implementing the policy on a long-term opt-in basis since last November.

The Bottom Line

The Compressed Workweek clearly has made a positive impact on some companies, but only a handful of industries have tried it. Experts are giving some conflicting information on the matter, but what is evident, is that inviting change and researching the topic could check a lot of boxes for both employers and employees. The common denominator is a flexible work environment. While that may mean Fridays off for some companies, does it make sense for everyone to take Fridays off? Probably not, but if there are ways to provide your employees balance and flexibility while cutting costs and increasing productivity, it’s a great alternative to consider. 

At Life, Inc. Retirement Services, our focus is ensuring you have the support you need as an employer to keep your employees engaged, increase retention, and ensure they are taken care of. If you’d like to talk with us more about our approach, schedule a consultation with us today! 

    Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

     

     

     

     

    How Will COVID-19 Change The Owner/Employee Relationship?

    How Will COVID-19 Change The Owner/Employee Relationship?

    The Covid-19 crisis is changing current employer to employee relationships dramatically.

    Forced business closings are resulting in unplanned employee layoffs. But many businesses remain open due to innovative methods of connecting with customers and employees. 

    We all hope these pandemic conditions will fade quickly. We know that eventually business conditions and the economy will return to normalcy.   But some ways of doing business and managing the business owner to employee relationship were already changing before the crisis. 

    These new attitudes and methods, currently expanded due to necessity, will likely continue even when the Covid-19 crisis becomes a memory.  These changes could actually increase profits and strengthen employer to employee relationships. 

    Following is a short list of what to expect in the future, when the economy bounces back from the Covid-19 crisis.

    Technology and Evolving Attitudes Will Enhance Employer/Employee Relationships.

    As referenced in this Forbes Magazine article, businesses are rediscovering the value of employee engagement. 

    Respecting employees, encouraging their participation concerning decisions, embracing them as a positive factor in the business’ big picture, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel – creates loyal, productive employees.  

    Loyalty creates employees who better serve customers; associates who act in the best interest of the business itself, rather than simply offering the minimum performance needed to earn a paycheck.   

    Working Remotely is Convenient and Profitable for Businesses and Employees.

    Many employees who formerly commuted to an office have taken their computers home due to stay-at-home orders and business closing requirements. Most are successfully completing their duties remotely. 

    If they can work from home during the crisis, many employers and employees will continue to do so to save time, gas, the hassle of heavy traffic and the need for the employer to provide expensive office space.

    Virtual Consultations And Meetings Save Time and Money

    Travel takes time and resources away from company profits. Virtual meetings will be considered more efficient.  They save employees travel time, save the company hotel and transportation expenses. The bottom line would benefit.  

    Savings on travel expenses could make more funds available for employee benefits.

    You can learn which retirement plan would best fit your company’s budget by clicking here

    Virtual Education Will Be Encouraged and/or Provided

    Many employers find it difficult to locate potential employees with the specific training required for open positions at their company. 

    College students find it difficult to pay off massive debt. Years of study for a specific degree may not be practical for some occupations, especially in the field of technology, where changes occur rapidly.

    So with this in mind, employers will be more open to the idea of offering continued education due to the lowered costs of virtual education options.

    An In-Sourcing Trend Could Increase Demand for Employees With Specialized Talents

    The lack of medical supplies during this crisis highlights the need to bring more manufacturing home to the United States. 

    fThe demand for those with specialized talents, not necessarily college degrees, may increase, such as talented people who specialize in low-cost creation techniques like 3-D printing.

    With a bit of foresight and planning, the economy that follows the COVID-19 crisis may be one which will feature not only greater profits, but a more positive employer/employee relationship.  

    Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.