Retirement planning for the self-employed: Why you need a plan and what are the best options
There was a time when people thought that a pension and Social Security income was enough to cover the costs of retirement. Today, the majority of consumers are saving for their retirement years through a variety of retirement plans that offer tax and other benefits.
You also need to understand the need to plan for your retirement on your own. The sooner you begin the process of creating this life, the better.
Before choosing the best option for your financial situation, you must first understand why it is difficult to save as a self-employed person and why it is essential to build a retirement plan.
Why saving for retirement is difficult for the self-employed
Every self-employed person should remember these factors that prevent them from saving for their retirement:
- Expenses related to running a business
- Get rid of major debts
- Inconsistent income
- The cost of health care
- Education costs
Establishing a retirement plan is a do-it-yourself project. No one will help you complete the paperwork, and there are no automated payroll deductions, no reciprocal contributions, and no business stock ownership.
You will need to be very serious about paying for the plan. Since your income determines how much money you can invest in your retirement accounts, you can’t be sure how much you can invest in them until the end of each year.
Even though freelancers face different hurdles when it comes to planning for retirement, they also have unique options. Funding your retirement account and the funds or time spent setting up and managing the plan can be considered costs to the business. A pension plan allows you to contribute before tax, which reduces your taxable income.
Why planning for retirement as a self-employed person is important
Here are some real benefits to saving for retirement now:
1. You will know many important things.
There are dozens of things to know about maintaining financial stability when planning for retirement. Retirement planning can help fill in the gaps and provide answers to important concerns such as:
- As a spouse, can you get Social security benefits?
- When to start collecting Social Security?
- What tax, savings and investment strategies should you consider?
- For good savings, which accounts should you consider?
- What is the best mutual fund or investment mix?
- Does it make sense to accept your pension in one lump sum?
- Is it a good idea to replace the dormant 401(k)?
- Should you consider a Roth IRA conversion?
- What return on investment can you expect from your portfolio in retirement?
- Which of your retirement funds should you use first after retirement?
- At the end of the year, what financial issues should you focus on first?
- In times of recession or falling markets, how do you manage your finances?
- Is it essential for you to have life insurance?
2. It makes you financially disciplined.
Incorporating retirement into your standard savings strategy is a great idea. You can gain momentum and quickly increase your funds if you plan to save a routine. Your plan can help you determine how much risk you can accept with your investments and how much money you can comfortably get out of your portfolio.
Fostering retirement savings is a great gift for your future, and it means ensuring that your retirement years are among the most enjoyable times of your life. You might even be able to retire early as a result. All it takes is a little real control in your financial planning to save you from going bankrupt in retirement.
Working with a financial advisor who specializes in retirement income planning ensures you have the right amount of money in retirement and are never caught off guard in a crisis.
3. You will have the benefit of compound interest.
You won’t find a more substantial benefit than using compound interest when reviewing your retirement plan. It improves your savings fund by earning more interest on your saved interest. By starting early, you can take the benefits of compound interest and make your money grow as much as possible.
4. It will defend you from market volatility.
You will basically invest in the stock market when you invest money in a 401k or IRA account. Like stocks, it also has normal highs and lows. Fortunately, if you start investing early enough for your retirement, you can mitigate some risks. Since you will have plenty of time to erase short-term losses, your investments will be able to absorb these declines. This implies that you can be more active with your portfolio, which will eventually translate into better returns. As you get closer to retirement, you’ll start to focus on building up your assets to protect everything you’ve saved.
5. You can live a happier married life.
Financial problems, excessive debt, and inability to achieve financial goals contribute to marital discord. Two of the most worrisome things that can ruin your married life are debt and planning for retirement.
When these two elements are part of the relationship equation, you can focus on making more exciting decisions, such as how to invest more to build wealth, how to lead a life after retirement, etc. Maintaining a healthy connection with your spouse can be a compelling reason to consider debt relief and retirement. To get out of high interest rate debt, you can choose different strategies. You can settle credit card debtconsolidate a personal loan with a loan, opt for a balance transfer card, settle medical debts, etc.
But, to plan for your retirement, you need solid and simple options that can protect your money and give you good returns. So let’s move on to the last and most essential section of our conversation – the best options available for planning your retirement.
What are the best 2022 retirement plans for the self-employed?
For independent contractors or small businesses, there will be four basic options:
- An IRA (conventional or Roth)
- A SEP IRA
- A simple IRA
- A single 401(k)
A. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
Whether self-employed or not, anyone who makes money can access an IRA. Individual retirement accounts are divided into two types: traditional IRAs, which provide initial tax relief, and Roth IRAs, which provide tax-free retirement income. IRA contributions aren’t considered a business expense, but they can save you money on your taxes.
Participants can contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA in 2022, with an additional $1,000 in catch-up contributions available for participants age 50 and older.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are simple to open and offer a wide selection of adjustable investment opportunities. In addition to the various plans, anyone who earns money can contribute to an IRA.
B. Simplified Employee Retirement IRA (SEP IRA)
The SEP IRA is a hybrid of a standard IRA and a Roth IRA that offers excellent tax advantages and much greater contribution limits. It’s just as easy to get started for the self-employed as a traditional IRA, and it offers a comparable level of flexibility.
Self-employed people can deposit up to 25% of their adjusted net income in 2022, less than half of Medicare and Social Security taxes. Plan contributions you make are limited to a maximum of $61,000.
SEP IRAs are simple to set up and manage. SEP contributions are tax deductible up to the maximum amount allowed per year and may be added to the previous year’s income taxes. SEP IRAs are not exclusive of other IRA accounts, meaning you can contribute to other IRAs up to their maximum contribution limits.
C. Employee Savings Incentive Plan (SIMPLE IRA)
The SIMPLE IRA is for self-employed people and small businesses employing less than 100 people. The contribution restrictions are higher than a traditional IRA and lower than a SEP IRA.
In 2022, self-employed people can contribute up to $14,000, with a catch-up contribution of $3,000 for those age 50 and older. People can make a flat 2% contribution or a 3% matching contribution to the plan through an employer-sponsored match.
SIMPLE IRA payments are tax deductible and the plans are easy to manage with nominal fees. The self-employed can also invest both as an employer and as an employee, and more globally.
D. Solo 401(k) Plan
The Solo 401(k) is also called an individual 401(k). It is comparable to standard employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. A person cannot participate if they have workers other than their spouse. As an “employer” and “employee”, a person can contribute and save more.
Self-employed people can initiate salary deferrals of up to $20,500 in 2022, as an employee, with an additional $6,500 for those age 50 and older. People can contribute up to 25% of their net income as an employer. In 2022, total contributions must not exceed $61,000 or $67,500 for people age 50 and over.
Depending on their needs, people can choose between tax-deductible and after-tax Roth deferrals.
Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience as well as in-depth knowledge and experience in consumer credit and drafting. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the McGeorge School of Law at Pacific University in Sacramento, California in 1998 and currently works for the Oak View Legal Group in California as a senior attorney.