WTOP Interview: Smart Financial Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs

Interview Transcript:

HILLARY: This Friday is American business women’s day and it’s meant to honor the contributions and accomplishments of millions of women in the workforce, including the 11 million women who own businesses in this country.

SHAWN: Well in honor of the day Nina Mitchell; cofounder of Her Wealth and Partner at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda is here with us to talk about smart financial strategies to grow your business, good to have you back Nina!

NINA: Thank you, happy to be here.

SHAWN: You’re a business owner yourself, so give us some idea, what are some of the strategies that work well for you when you first started?

NINA: I started my wealth management business about 11 years ago after having worked as an employee for 30 years and for me personally, it was the right time in my life financially. So, for those starting a new business, here are a few things that worked well for me.

·      Get the full support of your family members and make sure to review your family finances very carefully before you start.

·      And ideally you should have personal savings available to cover at least 12 months’ worth of your living expenses and this should be separate from your business capital.

·      And I did a lot of advanced planning and created a startup checklist, so certainly don’t hesitate to use a business specialist to help you with some of the not-so-fun details like choosing the right type of business entity for tax purposes and setting up a good accounting system.

HILLARY: Well let’s talk about taxes for a minute, because that’s a really big concern for folks who are going out on their own?

NINA: Our listeners actually might not realize that the majority of women owned small business owners are sole proprietors and tend to work in the services industry. When we work with business owners, we try to claim as many tax deductions as possible, so here are three that you might want to consider, and of course, always consult your tax advisor.

  • ‍If you’re starting a business, you can deduct up to $5,000 of qualified startup costs like market research and legal fees in the year you begin your business.
  • Business owners can supercharge their retirement savings by setting up either a step IRA or a solo 401(k) and this could honestly be the best tax deduction of all. SEP IRAs and solo 401(k)s tend to have higher contribution limits than the traditional IRA and if you’re 50 or older, the maximum 2017 contribution is the lesser of your net earnings or $60,000.
  • Health insurance premiums are another great tax deduction. If you’re self-employed and your business has a net profit, you can deduct the health insurance premiums for you, your spouse and your dependents directly on your 1040 page 1 instead of as an itemized tax deduction, so that’s a great benefit too.

SHAWN: Where can women find the cash to fund their startup or maybe expand their venture?

NINA: Well, women owned firms do face an uphill battle when it comes to raising capital and so one savvy way for businesswomen to sidestep that battle is really by leveraging their personal assets, like their portfolio and using that as collateral either to margin your portfolio or using it as collateral for a small business loan or even using a home equity line, and these can be really attractive especially in today’s environment of low interest rates. The other thing is that small business owners are typically multitasking, working long hours, so it’s important to have an advisor that can objectively review your numbers and make sure that you’re not risking too much of your own personal net worth and you have a good handle on your business profitability.

HILLARY: Alright, thank you very much Nina, good to see you.

NINA: Thank you.

HILLARY: Nina Mitchell with Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda, for more on starting and growing your business go to WTOP.com search Her Wealth.