How To Fund Your Small Business With Your Retirement Plan

There are many ways to secure start-up capital for your new business. From crowdfunding to partnering with a venture capital firm, you’re surrounded by financing options. If you’re more of a self-starter but don’t have the liquid assets on hand, consider peeking into your 401(k) or other retirement account. Why not fund your small business with your retirement plan?

Option 1: Cash Out Your Plan

When you’re ready to fully immerse yourself in the world of small business ownership, you can cash out either all or part of your 401(k) or Roth IRA. If you’re under retirement age (younger than 59 ½ years old), this option will incur tax penalties and some withdrawal fees. However, if you’re confident in your business plan and have enough money saved up, this is a relatively quick way to secure start-up funds.

Option 2: Borrow Against the Plan

If you have a 401(k), you can borrow up to half the vested balance of your plan, or up to $50,000—whichever number is smaller. The term of the loan is limited to five years, with interest paid back into that retirement account.

Taking out a loan is a smart option for folks who don’t need a huge chunk of money right away. And while there is interest on those loan repayments, it goes right back into your 401(k).

Option 3: Utilize a ROBS

ROBS stands for Rollover for Business Start-ups. It’s a form of 401(k) small business financing that allows you to bypass high interest rates and tax penalties incurred by other options. If you have a large amount of money saved up and you need more than $50,000, consider a ROBS. You can use your 401(k) or a traditional IRA, but not a Roth IRA.

You’ll register your brand-new business as a C corporation and set up a 401(k) program in its name. Then, you will “roll” your existing 401(k) funds from your old job into the new program and have access to the money for start-up expenses.

Your retirement account is an underrated source of business start-up funds. You don’t have to wait to retire to access any of that money! If you’re ready to start your own business and need the cash, think about using that account to invest in your promising new venture.