Économie et Statistique n° 472-473Wealth and savings behaviour - The input of the 2010 Wealth survey: savings behaviour, inequalities, retirement and lifecycle, behaviour when faced with risk
Amount and make-up of the wealth of the self-employed, before and after retirement
On the basis of the Insee 2010 Wealth survey, we examine the differences in wealth composition between the active self-employed and those in retirement. The objective is to reach a better understanding of the implications of stopping work on the wealth of those households where retirement generally goes hand in hand with the sale or the transfer of a professional capital. The situation of salaried employees is used as a comparison. All else being equal, the wealth of the households of young salaried retirees is greater than that of older salaried households, which suggests that the net dissaving has not already begun among the former. On the other hand, for the self-employed, there is no significant difference between those in activity and retirees except in the case of farmers where a distinct drop can be observed. With craftsmen, traders and the professional occupations, there is little variation in the level of wealth. Only its composition changes with professional assets being changed into private assets after the sale. This corresponds to a model where the professional tool is sold and not passed on. In comparison with salaried persons, the slightest accumulation could be the result of the need to compensate for a greater loss in income upon retirement. For farmers, the substantial drop in total wealth results from the disappearance of the professional capital which is not offset by an increase in other components. These results are more similar to a family model where the production tool is handed on (to the children) especially as the substantial and uncompensated drop in the professional capital could be explained by the existence of a very special system, that of deferred salary, a credit held by the family helps (namely the children) over the professional assets and to be honoured, free of all rights, upon the cessation of business.