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Split Dollar Life Insurance Plans Benefit Small Business Owners

In the ever-evolving world of small business ownership, ensuring your enterprise’s financial stability and security is paramount. Many small business owners focus on day-to-day operations and growth strategies, often overlooking the importance of comprehensive financial planning. One such financial tool that can provide significant benefits is the Split Dollar Insurance. Understanding and implementing split-dollar life insurance plans can offer numerous advantages, from securing key employees to planning for the future of your business.

Understanding Split-Dollar Life Insurance Plans

Split-dollar life insurance is an arrangement between an employer and an employee (or between a business owner and their company) to jointly bear the cost and benefits of a life insurance policy. There are several designs for this insurance policy. Still, generally, the employer chips in the premium on the policy, and both the employer and the employee stand to gain from the policy. The main goal is to provide life insurance to the employee and, simultaneously, get the employer to recover the expenses charged against the policy partially or in whole.


There are two main split-dollar life insurance plans: the endorsement method and the collateral assignment method. With the endorsement method, the employer owns the life insurance policy and endorses a part of the death benefit to the employee.

On the flip side, in the collateral assignment method, the employee owns the policy, which assigns a part of the death benefit to the employer as collateral for the premium payments. Both work with differing advantages and are structured to meet the needs of the company and the employee.

Key Benefits for Small Business Owners

Attracting and Retaining Key Employees

One of the dilemmas small business owners face is whether or not to attract and hold onto the right customers. A split-dollar life insurance plan and employee incentive system are valuable tools. Adding this benefit further enhances the business’s overall performance. Besides, it redeems the firm’s reputation and insurance burden. This genius method will lure new staff and ban departure for those already present.

Business Continuity and Succession Planning

Agreements using split-dollar life insurance plans significantly benefit business continuity and succession planning. Losing a key employee or owner can devastate a small business, leading to financial instability and operational challenges. A split-dollar life insurance policy provides a financial safety net during such hard times, ensuring the company can continue operating smoothly despite unexpected disruptions.

Split-dollar life insurance policies offer various benefits crucial for maintaining business stability. The funds from the policy can be used to cover essential expenses, pay off debts, or even buy out the deceased owner’s shares. This ensures that the business remains operational and avoids the potential turmoil that can follow the loss of a critical individual. By providing the necessary liquidity, these policies enable the company to navigate financial difficulties and sustain its operations.

Moreover, split-dollar life insurance plans are vital to a comprehensive succession plan. When set up correctly, these policies facilitate a smooth ownership transition, ensuring that the business remains in capable hands. They provide a structured approach to transferring ownership, reducing the risk of disputes, and ensuring the business’s legacy continues. This is particularly important for family-owned businesses, where the leadership transition must be handled carefully to maintain harmony and preserve the company’s values.

In addition to supporting business continuity, split-dollar life insurance policies offer several tax advantages. The premiums paid by the business can often be structured in a tax-efficient manner, reducing the overall tax burden. This allows the company to allocate more resources towards growth and development rather than being weighed down by tax liabilities.

The death benefit from a split-dollar life insurance policy can also be a key financial tool for the business. In the event of the death of a key employee or owner, the death benefit can be used to hire and train a replacement, ensuring that the company does not suffer from a prolonged loss of expertise and leadership. This is particularly crucial in highly specialized industries where finding suitable replacements can be challenging and time-consuming.

Furthermore, split-dollar life insurance policies can enhance employee retention and morale. By offering such policies as part of the employee benefits package, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to the well-being and financial security of their key personnel. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and a more motivated workforce, all of which contribute to the long-term success of the business.

Implementing split-dollar life insurance policies requires careful planning and expert advice. Business owners must work closely with financial advisors and legal experts to ensure the policies are structured correctly and align with the overall business strategy. Adequately drafted agreements are essential to avoid potential legal and financial pitfalls and maximize the policy’s benefits.

Tax Advantages


Split-dollar life insurance plans are a marvelous way to enjoy tax breaks. Subject to the dates of the arrangement setup and the current tax laws in place, various forms of tax benefits are attractive for both the employer and the employee. For instance, the employer’s premium payments may be credibly accounted for a loan it makes to the employee and will be repaid out of the policy cash value or death benefit later. This arrangement will enable tax-deferred growth of the policy’s cash value, thus making the financial aspect appealing for both parties.

Customizable and Flexible Arrangements

Small business owners can take advantage of the flexibility of split-dollar insurance by adapting their life insurance plans to meet their specific needs and goals. Depending on its aim, these plans can be employer-centric, continuity-based, or succession planning as they can be converted into a suitable form for this or that situation. A split-dollar life insurance policy is an agreement that gains its attractiveness through various factors, including premium payments, ownership, and benefit distribution. Small business owners should have such insurance, considering the extreme flexibility provided.

Conclusion on Split-Dollar Life Insurance

Thus, it is clear that the split-dollar life insurance policy option can be of excellent service to any small business. Split-dollar life insurance can offer numerous solutions, such as attracting and retaining key employees, ensuring continuity of operations, and providing cost-saving and future benefits that qualify these plans as tax-deductible expenses by developing a comprehensive solution.

To that end, the planning options for split-dollar life insurance and the implementation of best practices should serve as a model for small-business owners. They will also improve their status as employees and ensure that the company’s future is secured.

Whereas small business owners wade through the intricacy of managing and expanding their operations, split-dollar life insurance can also be their key to this or that tool. It is not convincing only for the present; it is about creating an environment where businesses and their main resources—people—have long-lasting and growth-oriented futures.

small business coach