If you're a typical small-business owner, you have so many responsibilities that retirement planning often gets placed on the back burner. Don't kid yourself: It's not enough to count on the future sale of your business as your nest egg for a comfortable retirement.

Business owners notoriously underutilize retirement plans—or, if they do plan, they don't always come close to covering the full cost of a comfortable retirement. The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy reported that fewer than 2 percent of business owners have a Keogh (a self-employed profit-sharing) plan, only 18 percent participate in a 401(k) plan, and more than nine million self-employed individuals lack any retirement plan coverage. Those who rely on the sale of their businesses for retirement income are setting themselves up for potential trouble. The reality is that not all businesses can be sold at such a significant profit.

As a business owner, you might not have realized that you have a wide array of retirement plan options.  Be sure to ask informed questions of a qualified financial advisor or business retirement plan consultant about your options.  Ultimately you want to implement the right plan for your future and your company. You need a real retirement plan—yes, one that's above and beyond the hope of someday selling your company for a profit.  Here are the best tools for developing a retirement strategy for ensuring that you'll have sufficient retirement income.

Retirement Calculator
The Retirement Calculator is used to calculate when and how much is needed to retire with confidence. The calculator takes a set of parameters for contribution amounts, desired retirement income, and life expectancy, and determines the risk associated with retirement in various years. The spreadsheet provides input parameters for the balance, contribution, and desired retirement income in order to calculate the best years for retirement, based on the probability of success. When you have a way to evaluate your retirement goals you can change what you are currently doing to meet those goals.  Read More

Dig Deeper: 10 Tips for Planning Your Exit

401(k) Retirement Calculator
If you don't have a 401(k) plan or something similar you should implement one.  A 401(k) is a great way to pay yourself first and the savings are tax deductible. Contributions go into a qualified retirement plan on a tax-deductible basis; annual earnings are tax-deferred; and benefits are taxed only when and to the extent that distributions are made The 401(k)-retirement calculator helps you to calculate and plan retirement income based upon your current 401(k) performances. It includes a table of assumptions, tax deferred 401(k) plan growth, and taxable savings plan growth to be customized and filled in accordingly. Read More

Pension Plan Outline

Pension plans are not as common and often lately have been replaced by 401(k) plans.  But if you are interested in starting a pension plan for yourself and your employees, this comprehensive guide can be used. The document explains the different types of pension plans, a full list of glossary terms, and an overview of how pension plans are structured and work. Read More

Equity-Based Long-Term Incentive Plan
A growing number of private companies are offering their own version of equity-based or equity-like incentives.   Equity-based incentive plans are usually a way for employers to motivate their employees by paying them with company stock. But this can also be considered apart of your retirement planning.  A successful retirement can be based on the equity in the company.  When creating an equity-based plan there are several types of stocks that can be created for distribution including non-qualified stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock, and deferred stock. The equity-based long-term incentive plan is a comprehensive sample used as a guide for creating the plan and is customizable for the options you choose. Read More

Buy-Sell Agreement
It's okay to include selling your business as a part of your retirement plan, just as long as it is not your only option.   When you are ready to plan your exit and it is time to sell you will need a buy-sell agreement.  The buy-sell agreement preserves the continuity of ownership in a business and ensures that everyone is fairly treated—the buyer as well as the seller.   Read More

Stock Option Plan
If you are in the exit-planning phase of your retirement strategy, you might be considering selling part or all of your company.  And who better to sell it to than the people who have worked with you to build your company?  The stock option plan is used to provide stock options and other equity interests in the business to employees, officers, directors, consultants, and advisers of the company and its subsidiaries, all of whom are eligible to receive awards under the plan. This plan can be used as a guide for creating your own stock option and incentive plan.  Read More