Small Businesses Face Growing Retirement Crisis

Small Businesses Face Growing Retirement Crisis

November 15, 2018

Small Business Leaders Say Americans Are Not Adequately Saving For Retirement; Lack of Awareness of Different Retirement Plans and Importance to Employees

OAK BROOK, IL - November 15, 2018 – Small business leaders and employees agree that America is facing a growing retirement crisis. According to results from the inaugural Millennium Trust Small Business Retirement Survey, 93 percent of small business employers and 95 percent of employees agree that Americans will not have enough money saved to maintain their lifestyle upon retirement. Additionally, more than one-quarter of employees have no savings in their retirement plan whatsoever.

The survey – one of the first of its kind to be conducted exclusively with employers that do not offer retirement benefits – was commissioned by Millennium Trust Company, a leading retirement and custody services provider to advisors, financial institutions, businesses and individuals. The results show a significant disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to saving for retirement. While 88 percent of employees think it’s important to have retirement plans when choosing a new employer, just 67 percent of small business employers think it’s important to have a retirement program for employees.

The survey also uncovered differing impressions of how important a retirement savings option is when considering employment:

  • 90 percent of millennials are most likely to say a retirement savings option is important for staying with a current employer, and 91 percent identify it as an important factor when considering a new employer.

  • However, only 23 percent of small businesses strongly agree that having a retirement benefit would help them attract and retain talented workers.

  • As a result, 55 percent of small businesses looked at a retirement plan, but still chose not to offer anything while 45 percent admit they have not spent any time researching retirement programs.

“Our latest survey is a wake-up call for small businesses. Time and time again we hear the value and importance employees place on having retirement plans and how a lack of access to a workplace savings option is contributing to the overall retirement crisis in America,” said Gary Anetsberger, Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Trust Company. “The misperceptions in the market about costs and limited options are hurting small businesses and employees. Traditional 401(k) plans have been great for Americans, but they aren’t a fit for every business. It’s time employers educate themselves on other viable savings solutions that can increase retirement readiness for Americans.”

Millennials Are Eager To Save

For millennials, a workplace retirement savings program is a top priority, with 90 percent saying that it factors when determining to stay with a current employer. Of the younger workforce surveyed, 95 percent of those age 18 to 34 responded that they would benefit from education on how to manage their activity in preparation for retirement. Ninety percent of the younger generation is interested in participating in such programs, compared to 78 percent of those 55 and older. 

Employers Look For Solutions

Low rates of adoption in retirement plan offerings among small businesses is largely driven by a lack of awareness and understanding. Notably, over half (51 percent) of companies with 10 or more employees researched offering 401(k) specifically and only 23 percent have spent time researching non-401(k) programs for their employees. Overall, approximately one-quarter (22 percent) of employers cite a lack of understanding around retirement savings options as the biggest barrier for adoption.

Despite this lack of awareness, more than two-thirds of employers (70 percent) are likely to consider offering a retirement savings program within the next two years, and 86 percent say that a program is much more attractive if it poses no additional costs to the company. Seventy six percent of small businesses would also be willing to share in the cost, paying up to $60 per year per employee, to provide that offering. That same percentage also stated they would be more likely to consider offering a program if it also allowed them to personally save for retirement. 

For more details about Millennium Trust Workplace Savings Solution, please visit our Workplace Savings Solutions page.

About Millennium Trust Company®

Millennium Trust Company is a trusted leader in specialized retirement and custody services, empowering clients with unmatched service, access to a wide range of custody solutions and expertise they can count on. Whether it's the custody of alternative assets, investment accounts or retirement funds, Millennium Trust is uniquely qualified to support our clients' success.

Millennium Trust Company performs the duties of a directed custodian, and as such does not provide due diligence to third parties on prospective investments, platforms, sponsors or service providers and does not sell investments or provide investment, legal, or tax advice. For more information about Millennium Trust Company, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Survey Methodology

The Millennium Trust Retirement Survey was commissioned by Millennium Trust company, and conducted by CITE Research ( The online survey was conducted among 500 decision makers at companies with less than 150 employees that do not offer any type of retirement savings option, and 500 employees who are working full-time at employers with no retirement savings option. The survey, one of the first of its kind to be conducted exclusively with employers that do not offer retirement benefits, was fielded between September 28 and October 8, 2018.