Retire Well

How freelancers can save more than $50,000 for retirement

Retirement savings tips for freelancers
Retirement savings tips for freelancers

As a freelancer, you are the boss. You have the flexibility to choose when you work and what jobs you take. You also have the sole responsibility of taking charge of your financial future.

You'll need to plan ahead for your retirement — even if you love what you do and want to work well into your late 60s or 70s. When you finally stop working, you need to make sure your money lasts for the rest of your life.

Here are some great ways to save and secure your financial future as you're freelancing.

  • Start saving now. Put away at least 10 percent of your pay in a retirement account.
  • Open a Roth Individual Retirement Account. If you're just starting out as a freelancer or recently launched a business and make less than six figures, this is a great place to stash your first retirement dollars.
    You can contribute up to $5,500 in a Roth IRA in 2016 — or $6,500 if you're 50 or older. To contribute to a Roth IRA in 2016, your income must be below $132,000 if you're single or $194,000 for married couples.
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  • Consider other options. There are a few other savings options that have no income limits, allowing you to contribute money pretax (reducing your taxable income dollar-for-dollar) and thereby letting you save much, much more money:
    Simple IRA: Stash away $12,500 in 2016, plus a $3,000 catch-up contribution if you're 50 or older.
    Simplified Employee Pension, or SEP IRA: You can contribute up to 25 percent of your net earnings, for a maximum contribution of $53,000 this year. But older workers cannot make catch-up contributions.
    Solo 401(k): Offering the highest total contributions and most flexibility when it comes to tax treatment, you can contribute up to $18,000 in pretax or as Roth (after-tax) contributions into a Solo 401(k) in 2016. If you're 50 or older, you can add a $6,000 catch-up contribution to bring you to $24,000.
    Plus, this plan will let you contribute up to 25 percent of your net earnings, up to a maximum total plan contribution of $53,000. With that $6,000 catch-up contribution, older workers 50 and over can stash away as much as $59,000 this year.