Can Your Retirement Fund Your Next Business?

As more entrepreneurs turn to non traditional sources of funding to launch their businesses, many are wondering if their retirement account could be a viable source to start a business or turn your sideline venture into a full-time activity.

You may have built up considerable money in your 401(k) at a job or in your IRA and now you want to know if the money in your retirement account can be used as capital for your business without incurring a tax. If you follow the rules carefully, the answer is a qualified yes.

Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS) are one way to utilize the money in your retirement account as a funding mechanism to start a business. ROBS usually work in the following manner: You incorporate your new business and have that corporation set up a qualified retirement plan (usually a profit-sharing plan permitted under the terms of the plan to invest in employer stock). Then you roll over your 401(k) or other retirement account to the new retirement plan (the rollover is tax free). That plan then buys shares in your corporation (i.e., the plan becomes an owner of your business).

Barbara Weltman, attorney & author of such titles as J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, discusses ROBS and using IRA’s as a way in to start a new business in her latest blog on the SBA website.