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Opinion Poll: Millennials Identify Student Debt, Retirement Savings as Barriers to Entrepreneurship

Publisher: 
Small Business Majority
Date: 
Wednesday, 27 January, 2016

In every aspect of building a thriving society and economy—from addressing long-term unemployment to providing high quality jobs—American entrepreneurship represents a pathway to success, particularly among young Americans who struggled to get their foot in the door during the Great Recession. However, there are barriers that exist for young people who have dreams of being their own boss. New scientific polling shows the majority of millennials who own a business or would like to start one at some point say student debt and a lack of retirement savings plan are barriers to entrepreneurship.

Key Findings

Among millennials still paying on student loans who own or who have plans to own a business, nearly half say those loans are a barrier to entrepreneurship: Nearly half (48%) of millennials paying off student debt who currently own or have plans to own a business say their student loan payments have impacted their ability to start a business. Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) millennials who are interested in opening a business but have no current plans to do so say their student loan payments affect their ability to start a business.

Figure 1: Nearly half of millennials who own or have plans to own a business say their student debt is a barrier to entrepreneurship

Millennials still paying on student loans say their student debt affects their ability to invest in an organization or hire new employees: Of those who are still paying off student loans, 43% of those who own or have current plans to start a business and 38% who would like to own a business but have no current business plans say their student debt affects their ability to invest in an organization or hire new employees. 

Vast majority of millennials who own or would like to start a business say the lack of an employer-sponsored retirement plan is a serious concern when considering to start a business: Three-quarters (75%) of millennials who own, plan to own, or would like to own a business say the lack of an employer-sponsored retirement plan is a barrier to entrepreneurship, with more than a third (36%) who say this is a serious concern. 

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