Okay, stop! Pause. Breathe.

Quit running around your wedding business for two seconds and say one word with me.


That doesn’t calm you down, either, does it? Ugh, sorry.

You’ll be searching for your ginkgo biloba and reading glasses before you know it.

Hey Wedding Pros! Want to Retire Rich?

To be honest, retirement savings is one of my favorite topics (no lie!) because of the power you put in your very own two hands simply by putting together a set-it-up and fuggetaboutit account.

Savvy small business and wedding professional that you are, you already know that saving for retirement is a really, really important thing for you to do for your future. Right?


Quick story

My grandparents owned their own small business—a dry cleaners, actually, and they were well-versed in the art of dry cleaning all of the wedding dresses in their mid-sized city.

Wedding professionals, you get it. Post-wedding day brides (mud-splattered dress, anyone?) you know how to bow down before the all-powerful dry cleaner. You get it, too.

Anyway, my grandparents were in their fifties when my dad approached them and asked to buy the business.

My grandparents were blown away. They hadn’t been contemplating retirement. However, they took a look at their finances and decided they could retire.

In their fifties.

So they did.

Good for them.

So then, my parents took over the dry cleaning business and they proceeded to dry clean every wedding dress in town.

My grandparents could do what they could because they banked their money in an IRA.

Small business owners are special

There’s a point to me dragging you through my grandparents’ story. The point is, wedding business owners, all of you have tremendous advantages because of your retirement plan options.

Unlike working at XYZ Corporation, you have choices, and some of those choices come with mega-high contribution limits, which means that you can virtually stockpile your pennies.

Furthermore, armed with only your social security number, beneficiary information and bank account number, there’s no excuse because, these days, it’s super-easy.

If you can find your way to a computer and jump on the internet, you can open up a retirement account—and let’s not forget those employees of yours who may be hankering for a retirement account, too.

Let’s make your wedding business a coveted place to work—in more ways than one.

The best of three?

Now, let’s chat about options for you and your employees, and please don’t collapse from boredom. I promise I’ll try to make this as interesting and excitement-inducing as possible.

Because it really, really is exciting. REALLY. (And soon, once you’re done setting up these accounts, you’ll get to sit around and dream about your future and the future of your wedding business.)

Here are three glorious options for you to choose from, broken down with an explanation for each:

Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP IRA): This is an individual retirement account (IRA) that small business owners can adopt to provide retirement benefits for themselves and employees. 

You can:

  • Contribute as much as 25% of your net earnings from self-employment.
  • Save up to $54,000 (Talk about high contribution limits. Can you say ah-mah-zing?!)
  • Benefit from tax-deferred contributions and growth until you start withdrawing your money.
  • Get the paperwork done in a jiffy. It really is a snap.

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE IRA): If you have fewer than 100 employees who earned at least $5,000 in the preceding year, this might be the plan for you—and them. It’s funded by employer contributions and elective salary deferrals.

  • You and your employees can contribute up to $12,500 (and $15,500 if you are 50 or older).
  • It’s just about as easy to open as the SEP IRA—paperwork is SIMPLE (see what I did there? Ha ha!)
  • You will benefit from tax-deferred growth (ya think you pay too much in taxes now – what about 20, 30, 40 years from now!)
  • Mandatory 3% matching contribution or 2% non-elective contribution. (As the employer, you do have to pony up on this one—but remember, it’s good for keeping retirement-savvy employees, right?)

Solo 401(k) Plan: If you are a one-woman wedding shop and have no employees, I’d go for this one. It’s a way-cool option if you bankroll $100,000 or more because the max contribution limit is quite large.

Also, even though it’s a “Solo” plan, if you have a spouse that works for you, the Solo 401(k) goes for him/her, too.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Contribute up to $54,000 in 2017 (plus a $6,000 catch-up contribution if you’re 50 or older) or $100,000 of earned income, whichever is less. (GREAT options here, people!)
  • Contributions are pre-tax, just like a regular employer-offered 401(k).
  • You’ll need to file paperwork with the IRS if you ever have more than $250,000 in your account, BTW.
  • You can also choose a Solo Roth 401(k), which is a lot like the Roth IRA and you pay taxes ahead of time and not when you take your money out in retirement.

I chose not to go into a lot of detail here because I think it’s a great idea for you to do your own research, and a great place to start is the IRS website (I know, shudder, right?)

However, that’s where I got my info.

As much as I hate unsolicited advice, I do have one more little suggestion. Revere that retirement fund once you have it.

You never know how your business will do—so don’t bank on your wedding business carrying you through your golden years. Don’t fall into a trap where you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck after investing your entire retirement fund into your business.

Don’t forget: Neglecting to plan for your future is like your wedding business not carrying bridal gowns. You wouldn’t dream of not preparing your shop with the things that are absolutely necessary to the survival of your business, so don’t forget to prep for your future just as thoroughly.

Did this topic of retirement excite or terrify you?