Purpose - Becoming self-employed has appeal to both genders. For many women, balancing work and family is a key motivator. However, businesses owned and operated by women are often very small, with limited turnover. This potentially can have disastrous consequences when these women come to retire, unless a solid retirement savings strategy has been considered. The purpose of this paper is to outline many of the issues and implications of a lack of research in this area. Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected from 201 small business owners via a convenience sample derived from various databases. The survey was completed on-line and analysed using SPSS. Findings - Many self-employed women in Australia have neither enough savings for their retirement, or an actual retirement plan. This is exacerbated by the lack of regulation requiring mandatory contributions into a superannuation (personal pension) fund by small business owners, unlike pay as you go employees, whose employers must contribute a certain about on their behalf. Social implications - Middle-to-older aged women are the biggest cohort of homeless people in Australia. This is likely to grow as self-employed Baby Boomers stop working and find they do not have sufficient personal financial resources to fund their retirement. Originality/value - Whereas there is much written about gender and small business ownership, as well as retirement and savings planning, these two areas have not been researched before in Australia. Yet it is an issue for the majority of small business owners, particularly women.