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Top financial concerns of the self-employed

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The business and political climates are impeding self-employed Americans’ ability to save for retirement. As a result, many plan to continue to work into retirement years or rely on Social Security.

So reports TD Ameritrade in a new report, “Self-Employed Survey: Understanding the Financial Challenges Unique to Self-employed Americans.” Conducted by Head Solutions Group on behalf of TD Ameritrade, the survey polled 1,505 self-employed U.S. adults across several age ranges, including millennials (ages 18 to 34 in 2015), Gen Xers (ages 35 to 50) and baby boomers (ages 51 to 69).

The research finds that six in 10 (61 percent) self-employed individuals are anxious about saving money for retirement and more than half (55 percent) feel they are behind with their retirement savings. Also, half (48 percent) say that unpredictable income and too many personal expenses (38 percent all, 49 percent millennials) are the main barriers to saving for retirement.

Nearly six in 10 survey respondents (59 percent) are not making regular contributions to their retirement savings. A comparable percentage (57 percent) of those polled expect to fund their retirement with savings. And half (51 percent) expect to rely, at least partially, on Social Security to fund their retirement.

“Self-employment is a rewarding employment choice for many Americans, but can come with a personal and financial cost,” the report states. “In the last 3 to 5 years many have seen the costs of running their business go up, profits decrease and their ability to save for retirement impeded, leaving many self-employed Americans far behind with their savings goals.”

Most (six in 10) self-employed Americans say the business climate is moving faster now than 3 to 5 years ago. And many have been hurt by the pace of change: Profits are decreasing for one-quarter (28 percent); the cost of business has increased for one in three self-employed (32 percent).

Recent government policies have hurt businesses of self-employed Americans who say that: The effect of government regulations has become worse (27 percent); and that rising health care costs have reduced their ability to save (26 percent).

Among the survey’s additional findings:

  • More than six in 10 (64 percent) of the self-employed do not believe that small businesses will be part of the next President’s top five priorities

  • Reducing health care costs is the most desired Presidential priority for half (51 percent) of self-employed.

  • A third (34 percent) of self-employed have had to rely on credit cards to help them reach their goals, including four in 10 (41 percent) self-employed millennials.

  • Six in 10 (59 percent) self-employed individuals are somewhat/much more anxious about earning a steady income now than a year ago.

  • One in five (22 percent) are using personal borrowing to run their current business. And more than one in 10 (13 percent) self-employed millennials are using money from their family.

  • One in five (20 percent) self-employed would turn to their family if they needed additional funds for their business, rising to one in three (31 percent) self-employed millennials.

  • Retirement planning (73 percent) and investment management (68 percent) are the most common topics of discussion with a professional financial planner or advisor

See the infographic on the next page for more hightlights from the TD Ameritrade survey.


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