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Report Shows Small Business Owners Losing Confidence in Social Security, Seek More Control of Their Own Accounts

67% Want Money Placed in Personal Account Versus One Managed by Government, 77% Believe Citizens Should Be Responsible for Own Retirement Savings, 75% View Social Security as Very- or Somewhat- Important Issue in 2008 Election

10/15/2008:
Bellevue, WA — When it comes to Social Security, two-thirds of small business owners in this country want the opportunity to manage their own accounts, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by ING DIRECT’s ShareBuilder 401k.

The new survey, completed by more than 500 small business owners across the U.S., reveals that:

  • 67 percent of small business owners want their Social Security dollars automatically placed into a personal account — such as a 401(k) or IRA — versus only 33 percent who would rather have an account that’s managed and distributed by the government
  • 77 percent of small business owners believe that citizens should be responsible for their own retirement versus 23 percent who see it as a function of government
  • 30 percent of all respondents viewed Social Security as a very important issue in the 2008 presidential election with another 45 percent viewing it as somewhat important

“It’s clear small business owners have concerns over Social Security and how much they’ll have when they reach retirement age,” said Stuart Robertson, general manager of ING DIRECT’s ShareBuilder 401k. “Most people feel better when they can actually view and manage the money contributed in their own account and dictate how it’s invested.”

The study finds that less than 10 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees currently offer 401(k) plans. According to Robertson, this makes small businesses even more reliant on Social Security benefits than their peers at larger companies.

Robertson, also attributes some of the report’s findings to the entrepreneurial mindset that most small business owners possess.

“Small business owners are, by nature, confident in their own abilities to lead and manage,” said Robertson. “In that respect, it’s not surprising that they feel capable of managing their Social Security accounts.”

The report also revealed that, despite the economic downturn and the challenges it presents, small business owners have faith that Social Security will be around in some form when they retire.

“This report tells us that it’s time to get in front of the issues facing Social Security and ensure it and other retirement plan solutions are available in a meaningful way to help every American,” said Robertson.

Methodology

Data included in this press release come from the 2008 Small Business Annual Retirement Trends (SBART) report — an annual survey commissioned by ING DIRECT’s ShareBuilder 401k to measure small business employer attitudes, preferences, perspectives and needs for retirement benefits. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive from July 29 through August 25, 2008 among 512 small business employers (including owners, partners CEOs, chairmen and presidents with 1-50 employees). No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

About ING DIRECT and ShareBuilder 401k

ING DIRECT, the nation’s largest direct bank and third-largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.1 million Americans have entrusted their savings with ING DIRECT, building the bank to $79 billion in assets. For more information on ING DIRECT, or to learn more about the bank’s high-value products, including the Orange Savings Account and the Orange Mortgage, visit www.ingdirect.com or call 1-800-ING DIRECT.

ShareBuilder 401k provides easy, affordable and smart 401(k) retirement plans for small businesses, ranging from the self-employed to those with 25 or even more employees. ShareBuilder401k is a leader in providing 100 percent index-based ETF investments in 401(k) plans. ShareBuilder 401k offers a suite of on-demand services that make it simple for employers and employees to open and manage their retirement plans online at www.sharebuilder401k.com. ShareBuilder 401k plans provide market-efficient investments and model portfolios that make it easy for employees to select the smart investments to help them get on track to meet their retirement goals. Customers can also take advantage of ShareBuilder 401k Consultants, Customer Success Managers, and Customer Service Agents to receive assistance in choosing and managing their retirement benefits.

Stuart Robertson is General Manager of ShareBuilder Advisors, LLC which operates ShareBuilder 401k.

Media Contact
Dan Branley, Launch Communications
206.941-1231
mediainq@sharebuilder.com

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