By Paula Aven Gladych
The number of workers financially unprepared for retirement
is at “crisis levels,” according to 78 percent of African American small business owners.
According to a small business survey of 501 small businesses by Nationwide Financial and conducted by Harris Interactive, African American small business owners are more than twice as likely as other owners to plan on enhancing benefits for their employees and twice as likely to provide more access to 401(k) type plans within the next two years.
“It’s clear that African American small business owners are deeply concerned about the lack of preparation for retirement in our country,” said Eric Stevenson, vice president of sales for Nationwide Retirement Solutions. “Despite the alarming level of concern, it’s encouraging to see they are trying to do something about it by investing in their employees.”
Two hundred African American
small business owners were interviewed as part of this survey.
One in four African American owners said they would enhance employee benefits
over the next two years, compared to 10 percent of other owners. The survey also found that 24 percent of African American owners would add a 401(k) plan or other employee self-funded plan compared to 11 percent of all small business owners. Twenty-eight percent were likely to add health insurance compared to 11 percent of other business owners and 19 percent were likely to add life insurance compared to 6 percent of other business owners. Sixteen percent of African American business owners
said they would likely add a company-funded defined benefit pension plan compared to 5 percent of others and 14 percent said they were likely to add disability insurance compared to 6 percent of other business owners.
This willingness to do more for employees than the total sample of small business owners surveyed might be related to a higher level of hopefulness about the future of their business and the economy, the report found. Thirty eight percent of African American small business owners expect their business to grow in the next year, compared to just 21 percent of all other small business owners. They also are twice as likely as other business owners to believe the U.S. economy will improve in the next 12 months (41 percent to 20 percent).
The optimism of African American small business owners comes despite the fact that they say their businesses were negatively impacted within the past 12-24 months by the economy nearly as much as all business owners. African American businesses were more likely than other businesses to have cut back on hiring (31 percent of African American small businesses vs. 23 percent of all others), more likely to have had layoffs or downsizing (17 percent vs. 14 percent) or to have hired independent contractors or consultants (19 percent vs. 11 percent) within the past 12-24 months.
While nearly twice as many of all small business owners surveyed expect their sales and revenue to decline next year than those who think sales and revenue will grow (40 percent vs. 21 percent), more African American small business owners think their sales and revenue will grow than will decline (38 percent vs. 23 percent).
Not all African American small business owners see a rosy picture in the year to come. Nearly half (44 percent) expect the economy to be even worse next year. Roughly a third plan to cut back on hiring (34 percent), eliminate or delay raises (33 percent), offer smaller raises (34 percent), or eliminate/delay bonuses (32 percent) within the next 12-24 months. Four in ten (40 percent) will hire part time employees or independent contractors and one in four (25 percent) are shifting more benefits costs from employer-paid to employee-paid coverage. Nearly one in five (18 percent) plan layoffs or downsizing within the next 12-24 months.
“It’s difficult to know what will happen in the future, but small business owners
are an important part of the backbone of our economy, and their attitudes and actions will play an important role in the economic recovery,” said Stevenson. “We hope that the comparative optimism of African American small business owners signals better days ahead. There is no doubt that more needs to be done by American businesses in general to address the retirement crisis.”
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is a diversified insurance and financial services organization. The company provides a full range of personalized insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com