Self-Employment Options

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  • #5231

    Well, I’ve been self-employed for almost 3 years now (boy, time flies whenever you’re too busy to realize what is actually going on), and it’s been full of great and amazing times. But also has had its fair share of struggles and challenges. Namely, money issues. Cash flow is never the best whenever you’re first joining the self-employment journey, but now that I’ve learned to manage the ebbs and flows of that – it’s time to tackle the next hurdle: retirement.

    I honestly have no (ZERO) idea where to begin. I’m definitely making ends meet at this point with my gigs, but also definitely don’t have a surplus of funds to funnel away into a retirement fund. I’m currently using Acorns to manage small weekly investments into a savings account as well as round ups on all my purchases.

    What do you some of you similarly self-employed folks do to handle this?


    This is a tough one. I wonder whether you can identify two or three regular expenses that you can eliminate, and then put the resulting savings into your retirement fund directly? I know, it’s easier said than done…

    For me the first sacrifice would probably my cell phone bill. I have a pretty indulgent plan and I could save a hundred dollars a month, or more, if I slashed it to the bare minimum. $1200 a year, that’s not bad.


    Here are some things to consider as you make your plans….

    – An IRA account allows you to contribute about $5,000 per year. Most have a minimum start-up balance of about $1,000. Look for low fee funds – Vanguard is always good on that account.

    – If you plan to stay self-employed for a while, maybe consider a solo 401k plan at some point. These have really generous contribution limits because you can contribute as an individual (up to $18,000!) and also as an employer (generally up to 20% of net income). There’s a bit more admin and set-up, though.

    Since income is bumpy, maybe set a goal of making a quarterly contribution to whichever plan you go with? That way, you can save up a little each month but also make sure you’re covering your other expenses and emergency funds.


    I agree with you, Josh, opening a retirement account is relatively easy – finding the extra funds to contribute is the hardest part! I’m starting to think the only way to make it happen is to make the contribution happen automatically, the way regular employees have their 401k contribution taken out of their paycheck before it hits their checking account.

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