Retirement is becoming a distant prospect for most small business owners in the West Midlands as the prospect of recession looms, a survey has shown.
And while those who say they are feeling downbeat about their immediate prospects are still in a minority, nearly a quarter admit they will be forced to cut jobs in the next six months.
They are also increasingly critical about what they see as the Government’s failure to appreciate the crucial role of SMEs, and about the effect of its pensions policy on their retirement plans.
These are among the findings of a survey carried out in the West Midlands by Clifton Asset Management (CAM), which claims to be the UK’s leading alternative to banks as a provider of finance and strategic planning to owner-managed companies.
As part of the survey the company questioned nearly 100 business owners in the region about their retirement plans.
CAM director Anthony Carty said that 65 per cent of the business owners questioned felt that their retirement was now further away than it was a year ago.
“This compares with a figure of 59 per cent in our last survey just three months ago, so clearly the economic downturn is already having an impact on people’s retirement plans,” Mr Carty said.
“Clearly, the ongoing stock market turmoil and the bail-out of the banks will do nothing to calm people’s fears when they come to weigh up their retirement options in the coming months. “
The research also found that while 75 per cent of owner-managers said they were generally optimistic about the prospects for their business and only six per cent were definitely pessimistic, almost a quarter (24 per cent) said they would have to reduce their payroll in the next six months.
Other key findings include:
- Retirement plans of those in the construction, consultancy, transport and wholesale sectors have been particularly badly hit, with automotive, manufacturing, restaurants and retail among the other worst affected sectors.
- Well over half (58 per cent) of business owners in the West Midlands plan to retire between the age of 55 and 65, compared with 46 per cent in the last survey and 49 per cent nationally, while 13 per cent do not plan to retire at all.
- Just six per cent feel that the Government recognises the crucial role of owner-managed businesses to the economy, with the same figure believing that Gordon Brown has been “good” for their pension plans.
- Some 41 per cent of business owners have bought their current business premises with their pension provision in mind.