Financial planning gaps pose risk for Aussie SMEs

Gaps in the financial and contingency planning of SMEs are leaving business owners in a vulnerable place, new research from REST Industry Super has revealed.

In a statement yesterday, REST Industry Super released its Bridge the Gap report, which surveyed 1,700 workers and employers across Australia and looked at the attitudes of entrepreneurs towards planning for the future as well as their views on retirement.

The report found that one in five business owners felt their business would not be able to fund their livelihood and expenses for longer than one week in the event of their unplanned absence, yet 55 per cent considered the sale of their business as important to funding their retirement.

“Business owners appear to face retirement savings ‘concentration risk’ – a situation where future retirement savings are locked up in a single asset that is illiquid today and subject to significant financial risk,” the report said.

“SMEs may wish to consider the value of financial advice in relation to retirement planning – or include discussions with a financial adviser when considering their retirement planning.”

REST chief executive Damian Hill said that although SME owners were responsible for ensuring the livelihood of around 4.7 million working Australians, the research suggested they were typically less conscious of the risks around their own financial wellbeing.

“SME owners are relatively unprepared for the future when it comes to planning for their financial security – in terms of both their ability to continue supporting their livelihood following an unexpected event, as well as their plans for an eventual retirement,” he said.

“SME owners [need] to look beyond the sale of their business to fund their retirement by ensuring they make regular superannuation contributions.”

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