Desmond Brown

Silver Spring, MD

I’m Desmond Brown, going on 52 years old.  In fact, October coming up, I’ll be 52.  I have a company in Silver Spring, Maryland, and we provide portable x-ray, ultrasound, and echocardiograph services to nursing homes, to jails, and to private doctors’ offices. 

As an employer I do provide healthcare for my full-time people, and I pay the whole thing.  They don’t have to pay any percentage at all.  But I wish I could do the retirement. I hope in the future I can.  It is a goal.

For my own retirement, I have a 401(k).  It doesn’t mean much, in some regard, because I probably have less than 20,000.  I mean the highest at one time was maybe 45,000, but I had to go into it a couple times over the years just to help cover expenses here. 

As you know, I do a lot of older people.  I go to nursing homes, private homes.  Over the last, say, year and a half, I’ve been bumping into people that come in with tears in their eyes, virtually crying, saying “Dez, I’m not sure what I’m going to do!  I mean, how am I going to stay here?  How can I live here any longer?”  They talk about what’s happened to the stock market. What happened to their retirement?  It’s gone!

Well, I have a savings, but it’s not significant.  It really isn’t. It’s like, you know, when you get into hard times, things are slow with the business, you tend to dip into your savings or, you know, you pull from your 401(k). Again, I think people look at entrepreneurs and business owners as being all rich and wealthy. 

When it comes to family and money and the business, a couple of things have taken place in my mind.  One was that business was supposed to have thrived more than it has done at this point, and, from the business, hope that the money would be there for retirement, and from the business, money was there for the children -- for the schooling.  But like I said before, if things slow down, all those plans change overnight.  It’s not like anything is concrete.

I think when people have worked hard (you know what I mean?) all their lives, they should be able to, in their old days, be able to relax and sit back.  For crying out loud, this is America!