Survey Finds Small Business Owners Not Ready for Retirement


New Survey Finds Small Business Owners Uncertain About Retirement Plan, Finances Despite confidence in business financial management skills, small business owners unsure they will retire comfortably


 Small business owners are confident in many key areas of running their businesses, including handling finances, knowing when to hire and managing employees, according to a new survey from TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. Life after entrepreneurship and personal finances present a different story: More than one-quarter (26 percent) of small business owners are not confident they will have enough savings to retire comfortably.

Baby boomers, for whom retirement is on the horizon, are the least confident when it comes to their retirement savings, with 28 percent saying they are not very or not at all confident that they have enough savings, compared with 21 percent of millennials. A key factor in this lack of confidence could be that on average, baby boomers started their current business at 43 years old, whereas millennials began their business at an average age of 26 years old, giving these younger adults more time to grow the business and invest in their retirement funds.

The TD Bank small business survey asked more than 660 small business owners nationwide about their management experience, how and when they started their business, confidence in major business tasks and areas where they need advice or help.

In terms of plans for retirement, nearly half (47 percent) of business owners said they do not yet have a plan in place, while approximately one-quarter indicated they would close the business. Furthermore, 27 percent of business owners who started the company from scratch said they plan to close their business when they retire, compared with only 8 percent of those who took over an existing business. Fifteen percent of business owners overall said they would transfer ownership of the business to family or co-workers.

“Building a small business is hard work, and it can be easy to get caught up in daily tasks such as paying invoices or increasing sales, but smart business operations need to consider the future, including the retirement of the owner,” said Jay DesMarteau, Head of Small Business Banking, TD Bank. “Just as those in the workforce should invest in themselves through retirement savings, business owners need to have conversations about retirement and prepare for the future to ease the transition, whether that be closing or selling the business or passing it on to family member.”

Small Business Management Skills

According to the survey, 72 percent of small business owners were employed in the workforce before opening their business, but just 51 percent had management experience or expertise. Generationally, 63 percent of millennials started their business without management experience, compared with only 49 percent of gen Xers and 46 percent of baby boomers.

Despite only one half of small business owners having previous management experience, 84 percent personally handle finances/accounting for their business, and 72 percent are extremely /very confident in their ability to do so. Millennial small business owners are the least confident in this area, with 60 percent saying they are extremely/very confident, compared with 72 percent of gen Xers and 76 percent of baby boomers.

To learn more about managing their business, small business owners turn to a variety of resources. Twenty-four percent of millennials say they have used a local or regional small business association, 21 percent of gen Xers have taken a college financial or small business course and 24 percent of baby boomers have attended a financial seminar or workshop. Even though some business owners sought some type of continuing education or professional development, 56 percent of all respondents have not taken any action to learn more about managing their business.

Small Business Owners Seek Advice

Although many small business owners indicated a high level of confidence in handling finances, human resources and other aspects of business management, many are still looking for advice on how to run their businesses. Millennials are most likely to seek insights on how to expand /grow their business (43 percent) and how to handle finances/accounting (35 percent), while gen Xers and baby boomers are most likely to want help with marketing/advertising strategies for their business (35 percent and 32 percent, respectively).

The survey revealed that the majority of business owners (73 percent) do not have a financial advisor or dedicated banker for financial planning and small business needs. Instead, most small business owners go to family and friends for advice (45 percent), followed by the Internet (36 percent).

“Small business owners are likely to be experts in their respective fields, whether it’s app development, dentistry or catering, but they might need a hand from an outside expert in knowing how to expand, get a loan or buy new equipment,” DesMarteau said. “By engaging a financial advisor, small business owners unlock access to custom tools and advice for managing their finances, including knowing when to seek additional funding to help them grow smartly.”

To learn more about TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, stop by a store, visit us at, find us on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Survey Methodology
The study was conducted among a nationally representative group of small business owners between March 30 and April 6, 2015. Included were small businesses of $5 million or less in revenue, and 100 employees or less. The sample size of 667 has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent. The survey was conducted by Vision Critical.

About Vision Critical

Vision Critical provides a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that helps companies build engaged, secure communities of customers they can use continuously, across the enterprise, for ongoing, real-time feedback and insight.

About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at approximately 1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas andFlorida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit Find TD Bank on Facebook and on Twitter at

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD.” To learn more,



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