• Advice, Finance

Securing Your Future: A Guide to Retirement Planning for Freelancers

With tax season now behind us, it's the perfect time for freelancers to look ahead and start planning for retirement. Unlike traditional employees, freelancers don't often have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, making it crucial to explore other viable options. Let’s explore the various retirement programs available at both the state and federal levels, designed specifically with freelancers in mind. 

Advocacy for Freelancers

In the realm of freelancing, where traditional job security and benefits are often absent, there is a pressing need for legislative advocacy to ensure freelancers are not left without a safety net. Freelancers make up a significant portion of the workforce, yet they frequently lack access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, which can lead to financial instability in later years. This is where robust advocacy efforts come into play, aimed at securing inclusive and comprehensive retirement solutions for freelancers across the nation.

Freelancers Union is at the forefront of pushing for legislation that includes freelancers in state-sponsored retirement programs like the Secure Choice plans. States like New York have begun to explore implementing such programs, but often freelancers are not explicitly covered or considered in the initial frameworks. Advocacy is not just about inclusion, it's also about ensuring these programs are tailored to meet the unique needs of freelancers—who often experience fluctuating incomes and may not be able to contribute consistently.  By pushing for broader inclusion, we ensure that more freelancers across the country have access to these essential retirement savings tools.

State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Many states have begun to implement retirement programs that cater to self-employed individuals and those whose employers do not offer retirement plans. These state-administered plans offer a hassle-free way to save for retirement without the need for extensive research or decision-making. State programs allow you to enroll directly through your state’s plan website, providing an easy and direct path to start contributing. You generally need only provide basic information such as your Social Security or taxpayer identification number, birth date, and banking details.

Freelance-friendly state plans:

Alternative Retirement Solutions for Freelancers

If your state does not offer a sponsored plan or you prefer a different approach, consider these alternatives:

  • Solo 401(k): A robust option for self-employed individuals allowing significant pretax contributions.
  • SEP-IRA: Ideal for high earners, enabling contributions of up to 25% of total compensation.
  • IRAs (Traditional or Roth): Open an account at a bank, credit union, or brokerage firm. Traditional IRAs offer tax-deferred growth, whereas Roth IRAs provide tax-free withdrawals in retirement.
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): Suitable for those with high-deductible health plans, HSAs allow you to save money for qualified medical expenses on a pretax basis. Post-65, funds can be used for any expense.

Planning for retirement as a freelancer requires proactive steps and a clear understanding of the available options. Whether through state-sponsored programs or alternative retirement accounts, the tools at your disposal can help secure your financial future. As we continue to advocate for inclusive policies, we encourage all freelancers to explore these options and start investing in their retirement.

Let’s make retirement planning a priority today, securing a brighter, more secure tomorrow for all freelancers.

Working Today Inc. Working Today is a 501c3 nonprofit that supports independent workers in the US through advocacy, education & services. We raise awareness of the unique challenges independent workers face.

View Website