Life insurance: an integral tool for business planning

Life insurance often is viewed as financial protection for your family in the case of untimely death. But these policies also often play a very important role in the business world.

From business partnerships and buy-sell arrangements to business succession plans, life insurance can ensure a stable revenue stream and continuity in the event of the death of a partner, owner or integral employee.

The death of a partner or company owner is a crisis for any organization. Not only does the company lose an important member of its key leadership, but a partner’s death means the company often must pay out the amount of the ownership stake to the owner’s heirs.

For a midsized company that is not fully mature, buying out an owner while simultaneously weathering the loss of a key company leader can be a deeply challenging proposition.

A properly structured life insurance policy can ensure that the company has the money on hand to buy out an owner and continue operation of the company without having to take on more debt.

This is important since a company dealing with the death of an owner or partner is most likely already struggling to replace the revenue that the partner generated.

In buy-sell arrangements among business partners, life insurance policies ensure that even a growing company with limited liquidity can transfer ownership in an orderly manner with the insurance policy payout financing the ownership buyout.

There are many different types of life insurance, and policies can be tailored to a business’ specific needs and desired level of coverage. Businesses should evaluate their maturity, liquidity, ownership structure and business succession plans in determining what type of life insurance policy best fits them.

Finally, some companies take out life insurance policies on key staff members whose identity, vision and skill are an integral part of the company’s success.

“Key person” life insurance protects a company from the financial risk of the loss of a CEO, founder or company visionary. A life insurance policy that pays when a key person passes away can help a company weather that storm and have the needed capital on hand to restructure or reorganize.

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Think globally, invest locally

Over the past several years, the state of Nevada found itself in a position no investor, public or private, wants to be in — locked in a stagnant investment fund that was losing money to inflation.

But the underperformance of the Nevada Permanent School Fund has since triggered a round of public investment innovation in the Silver State that is solving three of the state’s most vexing problems at once — increasing revenue from public investments, expanding funding for K-12 education and injecting much-needed private capital into Nevada companies.

The new investment strategy, championed by Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall, is an example of how states across the nation are thinking outside of the box by not only increasing investment in high-return private equity funds, but also voting to keep their investment close to home, where it will finance the growth of their own state’s economy.

Nevada’s Permanent School Fund, which was invested almost primarily in government bonds, is now becoming a diversified and balanced portfolio that increases returns by adding in a mix of private equity investment and co-investment. That change was spearheaded by Marshall and her knowledgeable staff (including investment experts such as Deputy Chief Treasurer Mark Mathers) who supported state Senate Bill 75 that passed in the 2011 Legislature.

This new public investment model for Nevada seeks to create a cycle of economic growth that lifts the economy, the education system and the state’s tax base into an upward spiral of compounding investment returns.

Nevada’s modernization of its school fund investment strategy paves the way for more investment in education, the foundation of future economic growth, while also investing in the state’s current economic engines — Nevada-based companies that need capital to grow.

The investment also is attracting welcome attention to Northern Nevada’s business climate. Nevada’s partnership with world-class financial institutions such as Hamilton Lane and Providence Equity Partners is exposing Northern Nevada’s business community to world-class funding institutions.

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Estimated Tax Payments

As the economy slowly gets back on its feet there are a few things to think about when you start making more money. Believe it or not making an estimated tax payment may be necessary if you want to avoid paying penalties.

Who must generally pay estimated tax?

  • If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S Corp. shareholder, and/or self-employed individual if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more.
  • If filing as a corporation and you expect to pay tax of $500 or more when you file.

If an underpayment of estimated tax is calculated you could be subject to penalties and ultimately footing more cash when you file your taxes. Generally, most taxpayers can avoid this penalty if you owe less than $1,000 in tax after subtracting withholdings and credits, or if you pay at least 90% of the tax for the current year, or 100% of the tax shown on the return from the prior year, whichever is smaller.

If estimated taxes are paid it will also make the tax burden much easier at the time you file your taxes.  To avoid these penalties and have a more enjoyable time filing your taxes consult with a tax professional and consider making some estimated tax payments.