SMBs losing confidence in Social Security, seek more control of retirement plans

When it comes to Social Security, two-thirds of small business owners in this country want the opportunity to manage their own accounts, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by ING DIRECT's ShareBuilder 401k.

The new survey, completed by more than 500 small business owners across the U.S., reveals that:

 

  • 67 percent of small business owners want their Social Security dollars automatically placed into a personal account -- such as a 401(k) or IRA -- versus only 33 percent who would rather have an account that's managed and distributed by the government.

     

  • 77 percent of small business owners believe that citizens should be responsible for their own retirement versus 23 percent who see it as a function of government.

     

  • 30 percent of all respondents viewed Social Security as a very important issue in the 2008 presidential election with another 45 percent viewing it as somewhat important/

"It's clear small business owners have concerns over Social Security and how much they'll have when they reach retirement age," said Stuart Robertson, general manager of ING DIRECT's ShareBuilder 401k. "Most people feel better when they can actually view and manage the money contributed in their own account and dictate how it's invested."

The study finds that less than 10 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees currently offer 401(k) plans. According to Robertson, this makes small businesses even more reliant on Social Security benefits than their peers at larger companies.

Robertson also attributes some of the report's findings to the entrepreneurial mindset that most small business owners possess.

"Small business owners are, by nature, confident in their own abilities to lead and manage," said Robertson. "In that respect, it's not surprising that they feel capable of managing their Social Security accounts."

The report also revealed that, despite the economic downturn and the challenges it presents, small business owners have faith that Social Security will be around in some form when they retire.

"This report tells us that it's time to get in front of the issues facing Social Security and ensure it and other retirement plan solutions are available in a meaningful way to help every American," said Robertson.

Methodology

Data included in this press release come from the 2008 Small Business Annual Retirement Trends (SBART) report -- an annual survey commissioned by ING DIRECT's ShareBuilder 401k to measure small business employer attitudes, preferences, perspectives and needs for retirement benefits. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive from July 29 through August 25, 2008 among 512 small business employers (including owners, partners CEOs, chairmen and presidents with 1-50 employees). No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
 

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