Much has been said of work-life balance, but it's easier said than done. Business owners have so much to do for their companies that they may not give proper attention to certain events in their personal lives -- even when these events can dramatically affect the business. Planning ahead can ensure that you'll more easily address the concerns of these events and be able to attend to business.
1. Having a child
Just ask any parent: Having a child complicates the work-life balance. Whether you're having one and need to plan for maternity leave or have toddlers or school age children for whom you have to make day care arrangements, you have a great responsibility.
- Have backup daycare arrangements that can be used when a child is ill, the primary provider is unavailable, or other unexpected events arise.
- As a business owner, be sure to follow the practices (such as time off after the birth of a child or bringing a child to work) for yourself that you allow for employees.
2. Caring for an aging parent
Ten thousand baby boomers turn 65 every day, and as the U.S. population ages, responsibility for assisting an aging parent will likely hit a growing number of small business owners.
- Share the responsibility of caring for a parent with family members.
- Use the services of adult care organizations for information and guidance.
- Consider paying longer-term care premiums for parents so that there are funds ready if they need long-term care in the future.
What happens to your business if you become disabled? Will it be able to function? Will you have sufficient income for your personal needs?
- Consider a disability policy. While a serious and permanent disability may entitle you to Social Security disability payments, less severe disability may prevent you from working in your business but not qualify you for disability. Keep in mind that disability benefits from Social Security only provides a portion of the income you may need, so it might be wise to investigate private policy options. You can purchase one directly from an insurer, but you'll find more favorable rates for a policy offered through a trade or professional group.
- Create a backup plan for running your business when you can't. Designate who will be in charge in your absence.
Many small business owners never think about retirement, but they should. While some have the physical and mental abilities to continue working indefinitely, others feel the effects of age and need to slow down or exit entirely.
- Think about retirement and what you plan to do about it. Decide whether you want to become a part-timer (and what you'll do with the time when you aren't working), sell the business, bring in your children, or take other action.
- Save for retirement using a qualified retirement plan. Distributions from the plan will supplement your other sources of retirement income.
Planning can go a long way in helping you deal with life's joys and challenges while still running your business. Talk with experts for ideas and guidance, and formalize plans and actions where necessary.