NASE on Micro-Business

Financial Security in Difficult Economic Times [Commentary]

Posted on: June 30, 2009

As I watched the news announcing the 150 year sentence for Bernie Madoff, the mastermind behind a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, my thoughts were focused on his victims. In this time of economic uncertainty, their nest eggs disappeared before their eyes and they will likely never receive full restitution. Like Madoff’s victims, the self-employed also experience a high level of uncertainty about whether they will achieve financial security to allow them to retire.

Close to 4o percent of micro-business owners are not at all confident or have little confidence that they will be able to save enough money to retire. The NASE also found in a 2007 survey that an overwhelming percentage – 8o% – do not offer retirement plans of any type for either owners or employees. The greatest barrier, reported by 62 percent of respondents, is the cost of administering and contributing to a retirement plan. More than one-third of micro-business owners acknowledged they were not saving for retirement at all.

The issue of financial security has increasingly become a growing concern for the self-employed due to our nation’s economic woes. The financial market’s meltdown coupled with the housing crisis has led to sharp declines in spending, leaving the self-employed with declining revenue yet increasing costs of doing business (i.e. health care). There is less and less money to put away for a rainy day.

With over three-quarters of micro-business owners indicating that they are relying on the federal government as their primary source for financing retirement, our policymakers must prioritize helping Americans, such as the self-employed, to save more for the future.   If they fail to do so, our government will be left footing a very large bill.

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