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Subject:  Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date:  8/18/2006  11:39 AM
Author:  ptheland Number:  53230 of 78702

As a preface, I am also a self-employed professional. I have a practice with a couple of employees. I know the problems you face, as I face them as well. Shoot, I even have a son with cerebral palsy. So I know where you are coming from.

However, you've got some serious errors in what you've said. My practice is in accounting - I'm a CPA. So not only do I know where you are from a business perspective, I know the tax laws as well.

Now, to a few specifics.

Small business owners are not allowed to deduct their own healthcare.

That is just wrong. You may deduct 100% of your health insurance. The balance of your personal medical expenses are at least itemized deductions. And if your practice is organized as a C corporation, you can deduct your other medical expenses in the corporation as well. To do that, however, you need to provide a plan to pay for your employees' co-pays and deductibles as well. That may or may not be a worthwhile trade-off - you'd have to run some numbers to make that decision.

I ... offer retirement accounts, flex accounts, continuing education and disability insurance but I am not allowed to have many of those benefits.

Again, that is just wrong. The main barrier to the business owner deducting most of these benefits is that you also have to provide them to your employees. If you're already providing them to your employees, you can deduct them for yourself as well. Your continuing education is deductible no matter what you do for your employees in that regard. I don't recommend deducting the disability insurance. Doing that causes any benefits to be taxable. If you pay for that insurance personally, any benefits you collect are tax-free.

I was able to get an HSA Blue Cross plan last year at great expense. At 56 years old, they could cancel me at any time for any reason.

I checked quickly and see that the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) offers a wide array of insurance products to their members. I didn't look at the details, but I'd guess their health insurance is reasonably affordable, as it's probably a group plan for all of the vets that choose to participate. And you also likely can't be singled out for cancellation. Plans available through associations like this tend to be reasonably good plans. At a minimum, I'd look into it. Your state association might also have insurance plans available to you.

I will never be able to retire unless healthcare becomes reasonably affordable.

At a bare minimum, you'll qualify for Medicare in another 10 years or so. It is very affordable, can't be cancelled, and at least provides a saftey net level of coverage. It isn't the greatest thing, but it's better than nothing.

I'm not asking for sympathy, just the realization that not everyone has choices like you are discussing.

Agreed. Sometimes folks here are happily discussing how to plan for retirement when they live well below some very significant means. That really makes things easy.

But that doesn't mean you have to roll over and give up. You take whatever means you have available to you, and find a way to tuck some of that away for retirement. Let's take a look at your situation, ev