By Rob Zicaro
Those who labor solely as wage earners all their working lives can never match the financial security that can be gained through long-term participation in an ESOP.
I know—I’ve seen it firsthand.
In 2015, I was able to retire early—all thanks to my participation in an ESOP.
I worked for 26 years as an employee owner of Web Industries. Having an ownership stake in my organization through an ESOP—as well as an opportunity to grow personally and professionally—made my ownership experience all the more meaningful.
I found that working in an ownership culture means you are more than just a hired hand. Instead of your ideas, creativity, and labor benefiting outside investors or one or more individual owners, the wealth created by the collective efforts of all the employee owners working together is shared with those who created that wealth.
Employee ownership through ESOPs is a powerful way to open up the free enterprise system to be more inclusive for working Americans and to truly change people’s lives.
For me personally, the financial benefits provided by my ESOP enabled me to retire seven years earlier than I otherwise could have. And that, in turn, has allowed me extra time to spend seven fulltime years on my original passion—music.
The financial security I’ve realized from my ESOP has enabled me to invest in a home recording studio where I now record original songs and release them on my own web site.
How cool is that?
Without the means to pursue my aspirations, writing the next chapter in my life would not be possible. And having this financial security also enables me to be self-sufficient, and not become dependent on social safety nets.
It’s clear that employee ownership through ESOPS is creating stories like mine throughout the United States, year after year. At a time when there is much talk about wealth inequality in our country, I’ve personally experienced how ESOPS are making a real difference in closing the wealth gap.
ESOP companies are about real working people, creating real jobs in communities, and creating opportunities for economic growth across our country.
The journey of creating a successful employee owned company is not without its challenges and share of risks. But being an employee owner through an ESOP offers the best chance to raise the standard of living for millions of Americans.
I know it has for me.