Wells Fargo Bank and Gallup joined forces to research and produce their most recent Small Business Index study.  Between February 6-10, 2017, Wells Fargo and Gallup called over 13,000 small business owners to discuss their concerns, if any, about retirement, finances, unexpected costs, expectations, etc. (Wells and Gallup had done similar joint studies with small business owners on these topics in 2007, 2010, 2014.) It turns out that small business owners had and continue to have less concerns and more optimism about these topics than their counterparts who are not small business owners.  Let’s take a look.

Key take-aways from this study are:

  1. 76% of small business owners are optimistic and comfortable about their projected retirement lives.  Only 1 in 7 is worried about not having enough money.
  2. 53% of small business owners do not want to fully retire. There is hardly any percentage differential between 2010 and 2014.  The majority of small business owners want to continue working in some capacity in their current and/or newly created small business. No more than 4% in any of these studies (regardless of year) want to work for someone else.
  3. 30% of small business owners have already designed a succession plan for their businesses.
  4. 76% of small business owners feel they have enough money to live and cover costs of their chosen “retired” lives. In 2007, 79% of small business owners felt they had enough  money…after the recession, this percentage dipped in 2010 to 63% and then increased at bit to 66% in 2014.  Today, small business owners have almost fully rebounded to their pre-recession optimism about their finances.

When asking non-small business owners this same question about having enough money to live and cover costs of their chosen “retired” lives, there is a substantially different response. In 2016, only 48% of non-small business owners, not the 76% above, felt they would have enough money for their retired lives.  In 2002 and 2004, when Wells Fargo/Gallup asked non-small business owners about money for their “retired” lives, 59% said they felt they would have enough.  Apparently, non-small business owners are less optimistic about their finances than small business owners and are even less optimistic today than their counterparts some 12-14 years earlier.

Small business owners appear to be evenly divided in their concerns about medical costs due to an accident or illness.  Less than 50% are very or moderately worried about medical costs and more than 50% are not too or not at all concerned. Studies in earlier years are just fractionally more concerned about medical costs despite the fact that today, medical costs are higher than ever before.

Overall, this Wells Fargo/Gallup study of 2017 Small Business Index indicates that small business owners are more positive about their business and the economic environment in which their business operates than their counterparts.  Optimism levels are higher. Confidence levels are higher.  Being a small business owner, including a real estate business owner, must be the way to go!



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