Nearly eight in 10 prioritize job creation, keeping employees
A majority of high net worth U.S. business owners, are focused on growth and job creation, but are putting estate and business planning on the back burner, jeopardizing their own financial security.
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of high net worth business owners feel they have a responsibility to create jobs, while 76 percent feel an obligation to keep people mployed even if it means lower profits, according to the 2012 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Survey” released Friday. Two-thirds say they feel empowered to make a difference by their ability to create opportunities for others.
Business owners represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and employ half of all private sector employees. Roughly half (55 percent) have started, acquired and/or made substantial investments to expand their business in the last four years, the survey found. One-half have not many any significant changes.
When asked about their plans to grow their business, 55 percent of high net worth business owners said they are holding back because of economic and regulatory concerns such as health care costs and the unresolved fiscal cliff.
But the survey finds that many of these business owners with at least $3 million in investable assets have not taken proper steps to establish wealth and estate plans that would protect their position and personal wealth.
Fifty-percent of respondents have not established a formal succession plan for their business, including 43 percent of those over 67. Similarly, six in 10 business owners do not have a comprehensive estate plan. They are slightly less likely than non-business owners to have a will, healthcare proxy, or a named durable power of attorney.
While more than three-quarters (77 percent) of these high net worth business owners say it is important to leave a financial inheritance to their children or grandchildren, nearly half (48 percent) are not using any type of trust to protect or transfer their financial assets to heirs, their business or charitable beneficiaries. Why? Forty-two percent said they just haven’t gotten around to it, the survey found, while one-third said they were under the impression that a will is sufficient to carry out their wishes.
More than half (55 percent) of business owners surveyed by Millionaire Corner do work with a financial advisor compared to 39 percent of Affluent investors overall. While almost half (49 percent) consider high fees to be a disadvantage to working with a financial advisor, this is more than compensated by several factors prized by small business owners, including financial literacy and peace of mind.
But a third quarter Millionaire Corner wealth level study of Millionaire investors and their relationships with financial advisors found that only 20 percent had received advice from their primary advisor about planning for long-term care, while 26 percent said they had received advice about establishing an estate plan.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.