An increasing number of business owners are rejecting thoughts of early retirement as a result of the economic downturn, a new survey finds.
In the survey, 69 percent of business owners said they were not planning to retire or cut back on work until they were at least 65, the traditional retirement age. That response was 17 percentage points higher than when the same question was asked in December 2007, and 28 points higher than in September 2005, just before a sharp slowdown in the U.S. economy.
The number of respondents who said they planned to retire before age 60 came to 11 percent, compared with 21 percent in December 2007. Those anticipating retiring in their early 60s decreased to 21 percent, from 27 percent in December 2007.
“Many business owners are reinventing their business approaches in order to ensure financial stability for the long run,” said Doug Case, small-business-segment manager for Wells Fargo, which conducted the study. “This often has a direct impact on personal retirement plans and tests the resilience and entrepreneurial flexibility which characterize small-business ownership .”
When asked what they would miss most by retiring, 78 percent of the respondents said it would be seeing their business grow and thrive. Seventy-four percent said they would miss interacting with customers, and 67 percent said they would miss working in a challenging environment.
Forty-seven percent of respondents reported they plan never to retire except for health reasons, an increase from 40 percent reported in December 2007.