How to save for retirement on your own? There will come a time when you no longer want to work or when you are no longer able to. You must prepare your finances now for that point in time. Many salaried workers regularly contribute to a retirement account sponsored by their employer in preparation for retirement. Some even benefit from an employer-matching contribution and even periodic bonuses to inflate their retirement accounts quickly.
Freelancer workers are independent contractors, and they are responsible for making their own tax withholdings as well as funding their retirement account on their own. Because freelancers receive gross income often at irregular intervals, the impulse may be to allocate all income that is earned to bills and other expenses. Preparation for retirement is easy to overlook or to procrastinate on, and some people may not know how to save for retirement on their own. However, it is essential that you take action to prepare for retirement slowly over time. This means that you must begin today if you have not already done so.
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Saving for Retirement as a Freelancer Is Easy If You…
Retirement planning as a freelancer requires you to take regular action. You must learn how to save for retirement effectively. It is easy to re-allocate funds away from retirement and savings when you have higher than normal expenses, but this will be detrimental in the long run. By focusing your time and attention on these tips to learn how to save for retirement, you can better prepare for retirement as a freelancer.
1. Create a Retirement Plan
You could simply toss money into a retirement account and hope for the best, but a better idea is to develop a solid retirement plan. Think about when you would like to retire and what your retirement plans may be. For example, it may cost more to retire if you plan to travel frequently than if you plan to stay close to home. Your plan should include a detailed projected budget. It may be significantly less than your current budget if you plan to pay off the house, cars, and credit cards before you retire. This is an essential step if you want to know how to save for retirement.
2. Think About the Important Retirement Factors
There are a few important factors that you should not overlook when you want to know how to save for retirement. Healthcare costs and prescription drugs can be much higher than they currently are in your later years in life. Allocate a healthy sum for these expenses. In addition, choose your retirement location with care. For example, research property values, cost of living, property tax rates, state income taxes and more when choosing a retirement location.
3. Use an Online Retirement Estimator
There are various retirement calculators online that estimate how much money you need to retire within a specified period of time. Advanced calculators will use your estimated future budget and the current balance of your retirement accounts to arrive at a lump sum figure you need. They may also tell you how much money you need to save each month and what return you need to get on those funds.
4. Create a Budget
If you do not already have one, create a personal budget based on your present income and expenses. Use your calculation from online retirement calculators to allocate a reasonable sum of money toward your retirement account each month. This should be a line item on your budget. Also, it should be viewed in the same way as other expenses. It is a required payment you need to make into your retirement accounts rather than an optional one.
5. Fund Your Rainy Day Savings Account
When you want to know how to save for retirement, the last thing you want to do is to fall behind on your retirement efforts or go into debt because of unexpected expenses. The purpose of a rainy day fund is to pay for unexpected expenses. In this way, you won’t have to alter your budget or turn to debt to pay for them. If you do not currently have at least six to eight months’ worth of expenses saved in your rainy day fund, consider increasing your account balance. A smart idea is to regularly allocate a small portion of funds to your savings account. Your budget may reflect this as an expense as well.
6. Open Retirement Accounts
You do not need to be a salaried worker to open a retirement account. There are many tax-advantageous retirement account options available for freelance workers. They include a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, a SEP IRA and others. Review the benefits and limits associated with each account. In addition, choose your brokerage firm carefully as each gives you access to different investment options.
7. Think About Non-Retirement Account Options
If you plan to retire before you reach the traditional retirement age or if you are planning to max out contributions to retirement accounts, you may consider non-retirement account options as well. For example, if you plan to retire early, you need funds to live off of before you can begin receiving Social Security and taking distributions from your retirement account. Funding a non-retirement stock account or purchasing rental real estate are great ideas. You can produce income that you can live off of before you reach traditional retirement age.
8. Fund Your Accounts Regularly
When you want to know how to save for retirement, it is important that you fund your accounts regularly if you want to reach your goal. While your income may not be steady as a freelancer, set up automated transfers to your retirement, savings, and non-retirement stock accounts. Because you are treating these as expenses in your budget, you should have enough money available to make these transfers regularly.
9. Pay Off Debts
Paying off debts is a traditional part of most people’s retirement plans. When you pay off debts, you reduce your monthly overhead and can retire on less money. Also, between the time you pay off debts and your retirement, you will have more money to allocate toward your savings and investment efforts.
10. Choose Your Insurance With Care
As you get closer to retirement age, it is important to analyze your current insurance and to purchase additional coverage as necessary. For example, consider if your health insurance will be available after you retire or if you plan to use Medicare. Think about buying long-term care coverage now while it is more affordable. In addition, analyze your need for life insurance. Consider canceling coverage you no longer need.
11. Work With a Financial Planner
Many people struggle to reach their financial goals on their own. For example, some do not achieve the returns they desire from their own investment efforts. Consider using the services of a financial planner to get you on track. The planner can allocate your funds appropriately now. Also, he can re-allocate funds as needed to ensure maximum returns.
Retirement planning can be frustrating for anyone. But it can seemingly be more challenging when you are an independent contractor. Just as you take steps to project your annual tax bill and to save regularly for this expense, you must take similar efforts to prepare for retirement as a freelancer. Put these tips into action today, and you can move confidently into retirement.