Only about a third of self-employed people are saving enough for old age, a survey from Scottish Widows suggests.
Self-employed people can often struggle financially
As almost six out of 10 self-employed people are aged over 50, this is a particularly worrying development, the pensions provider said.
Self-employed people are often worse off than those in employment, as they do not enjoy employer pension payments.
In addition, the self-employed are only half as likely as public sector workers to have any savings at all.
Self-employed people on average have greater debts than employed people, probably due to the expense of starting up a business.
Scottish Widows spokesman Ian Naismith said that the impact on personal finances and for retirement prospects of setting-up in business could be "profound."
"The position of the self-employed is a particular concern.
"It is understandable that as people get older and have greater experience in their profession that they would want to opt for a more flexible lifestyle, but the financial implications of self-employment are still profound," he added.