Why Freelancers Need to Start Their Retirement Planning Now


You had a dream.  You acted on that dream and learned the ebbs and flows of making it profitable.  You learned about self-employment taxes, both state and federal.  You learned how to pay these taxes on time, along with other expenses that may come along, like payroll or necessary construction at a physical site.  Then you realize how much older you've gotten.

Much older, in some cases.

There's that thing called retirement that our parents (or grandparents) worked long and hard for but that thing's changed a lot over the years.  For one, more elderly people are working part-time jobs to supplement their retirement and/or social security.  If you think that's the norm we should all be prepared for, consider the fact that social security will be reduced in 2034 - if not eliminated.

Depending on your situation, there may not be a need to panic.  A lot of factors, like property and other assets may be able to provide a cushion when you reach that age.  Though it may seem a ways off right now, believe me, Father Time has a way of creeping up on a person when they least expect.

Getting the Basics in Order

If you don't have a separate account for business, get one now.  It makes it easier to apply for a small business loan if you need it and is just a good habit to have. Nerdwallet has a long list of business bank accounts you can open with a low/no deposit.

Now is also as good a time as any to pay down any large outstanding credit accounts or negotiate high-interest rates.  This thing isn't over yet and while some debt may be forgiven, we know that process seldom happens overnight.  If it's a matter of a few hundred dollars, it might be worth it to sell some unused items.

Finding Options that Lead to Your Money Goals

While you may not want to give up your freelancing aspirations, you have to see things for what they are.  Do you anticipate growth in the coming year? If so, what events are likely to make this happen?  Should this fall through, what next?  If you can't give a solid answer to these questions, it may be time to look into working for someone else.

Although a full-time job may make it hard to pursue freelancing at first, it is possible.  However, not all full-time jobs are the same, as salaried positions or those that require commuting long distances may be tiring.  One option would be to find a part-time job that pays benefits, including retirement.  Industries that offer these packages may be in education, hospitality, and some customer service jobs.

Getting the Money and Keeping It

You can open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at almost any bank or financial institution.  On average, it costs nothing to open but prospective account holders should read the fine print before proceeding.  For instance, it may be better to open a mutual fund or CD if finances are still a little shaky.  

Overall, it may be best to talk to a pro bono financial advisor or credit counselor about realistic long-term planning goals.  No one wants to open an account, then withdraw the funds shortly after.  As long as there's a plan to grow your money, it's better than useless online shopping.  Treating yourself once in a while is OK.