Millennial Business Owners Better Prepared Than Prior Generations

August 22, 2016

When it comes to preparing for the future, Millennial small business owners are seemingly the most concerned generation in recent history.

They are more likely than Gen X or Baby Boomers to have plans for natural disasters, retirement benefits, cyberattacks and even business succession.

Those Millennial generation facts stem from Nationwide’s second annual Small Business Indicator, a national survey conducted online by Harris Poll from June 10-23 among 502 U.S. small-business owners with fewer than 300 employees.

“Our survey challenges some common perceptions of Millennials,” said Mark Berven, president of Nationwide Property & Casualty. “By far, these individuals are the most prepared — and concerned — generation of business owners in recent history.”

For the second year in a row, Nationwide’s annual Small Business Indicator focused on key topics impacting business operations: disaster recovery, retirement planning, cybersecurity and also business succession (new to the 2016 survey).

But the generational data had some of the most significant differences in percentages among small-business owners:

  • Disaster recovery: Millennials are most likely to have a disaster recovery plan in place (51 percent), versus Gen X (30 percent) or Baby Boomers (29 percent).
  • Retirement planning: Millennials are most likely to offer retirement benefits (59 percent); they are also most likely to offer their employees any of the following benefits (84 percent), versus Gen X (60 percent) or Baby Boomers (46 percent): medical insurance, paid time off, retirement benefits (e.g., 401(k)), workers’ compensation, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability and domestic partner benefits.
  • Cyber security: More Millennials have a written cyberattack response plan in place (42 percent), versus Gen X (17 percent) or Baby Boomers (12 percent).
  • Business succession: Millennials are most likely to currently have a business succession plan in place (61 percent), versus Gen X (32 percent) or Baby Boomers (32 percent)

Millennials represent the largest, most educated and most diverse generation in the United States, according to the Council of Economic Advisers. They are also the first generation to have had access to the Internet during their formative years — and many of them joined the workforce in an era of great economic uncertainty.

“Some of our survey data may seem surprising,” Berven said. “But if you think about the risks many Millennials have experienced and grown up with — everything from cyberattacks to an economic meltdown — it makes sense that they would be some of the most concerned individuals out there. They want to protect what matters most to them — their business.”


The Small Business Owner Study was conducted online from June 10-23, 2016. Respondents comprised 502 U.S. small-business owners of companies with less than 300 employees, and included 190 Millennials (ages 18-35), 152 Gen Xers (ages 36-50) and 106 Baby Boomers (ages 51-65). Results are weighted to be representative of small-business owners in the U.S. Research participants were drawn from the Harris Poll Online (HPOL) research panel and partner sample. Because the sample is based on those who were invited to participate in the HPOL panel, estimates of theoretical sampling error cannot be calculated. Percentages were rounded to the nearest whole percent. Differences in the sums of combined categories/answers are due to rounding.

Source: Nationwide

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