RETIREMENT BLUEPRINT FOR FREELANCERS
Retirement for freelancers is tricky. Unlike regular employees, no one will look out for self-employed individuals’ retirement but them. Yes, you may not be able to obtain benefits such as company stock or free money in the form of employer’s matching contribution. But freelancers have all the freedom to wholly control their retirement contributions, investments, and possibility of saving more than you can imagine.
So how freelancers should prepare for their retirement? The following are some of the techniques for a successful retirement.
Rollover IRA. Majority of freelancers used to work for an employer before they became self-employed. More or less, these freelancers had a retirement plan with their former employer. Assuming that is the case, have you monitored it? Whichever, the best way to manage this retirement plan is to transfer it to a rollover IRA. Rollover IRA is a special individual retirement account, which enables individuals to transfer all their assets from previous employer’s plan to the rollover IRA. That way, freelancers can pick their own investments and control their accounts.
Roth or Traditional IRA. Both IRAs are available to employees, including freelancers. Self-employed individuals can contribute to this plan aside from their self-employed 401(k). Also, a working spouse can make a contribution to an IRA on nonworking spouse’s behalf. Roth IRA enables employees post-tax dollars; traditional IRA allows individuals to contribute pretax dollars. The maximum annual contribution is $5,500 or one’s total income, whichever is lower. Should you decide to max out contributions or combine before-tax and after-tax contributions, integrate a conventional or roth IRA to your retirement.
Self-Employed 401(k). Freelancers can contribute to a 401(k) as long as they are working for themselves. Contributions can be done with pretax dollars. If married, your spouse can also partake in this account. Like an employee that offers a 401(k), a freelancer can deduct $17,500 of his income into a self-employed 401(k). They can also make a profit sharing contribution of as much as 25% of one’s compensation, up to $52,000. A self-employed individual, if 50 years old or older, can also make catch-up payments. Use a self-employed plan contribution calculator to determine the allowed contribution amount according to your income. Another retirement savings account available to freelancers is the simplified employee pension (SEP). But normally, a self-employed 401(k) allows freelancers to save more.
You won’t be working all your life. So forget not to save money for retirement throughout the year. You will not know the amount of your contribution until the end of the year. Since you are a freelancer, you won’t be taking small accounts out of every paycheck and putting it in your retirement account. But if you wait until the end of the year to allocate a huge portion of your income, chances are you might figure out the money is not there because you have already spent it. Save early, save now.
To ensure the money available is sufficient to contribute to your retirement account, put up a regular old savings account you contribute monthly. Upon figuring out the amount you are allowed to set aside in your retirement account(s) for the year, you can transfer the money from savings account(s) to retirement account(s). Granted that you have saved more than you are allowed to give and you need not the money for something else, put it in a savings account. There are some cases an individual can make a bigger retirement contribution the following year.
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