Ever since I graduated from university in 2014, I’ve been a freelancer. I knew from the get-go that I never wanted to work in an office environment, I knew that I wanted to have the freedom to work however and wherever I liked without having a boss breathing down my neck, which is why I always knew that working for myself was the route to go down.
I grew up in a household where both my parents were self-employed as were many of the other important people in my life, which I personally believe influenced my choice to go down the same path. While I love what I do and cherish the fact that I can work from home, I have to admit that being freelance my income is never guaranteed which can, at times, be tricky.
However, I’ve found with some smart planning when it comes to my finances, I can easily ensure that I am able to cope now and am also prepared for my future.
I put money away each month
Saving money is so, so important. When I first started out as a freelancer, I made the mistake of failing to save money each month and ended up in a bit of mess with my taxes a couple of years back, so now I make sure that every month, without fail 10% of what I earn goes into the bank for savings with a further 5% put away to cover my taxes.
I have a buffer
The 10% of my earnings that I put away each month act as a financial buffer, so that should something unexpected come up, I’m not left in a tricky situation. I always like to have enough money in the bank to cover me for a month and a half, in case I lose a contract or I have a non-paying client.
I like to have multiple income streams
I don’t think that relying on one income stream when you work on a freelance basis is good practice. I mean, if that income stream was all of a sudden to disappear, for one reason or another, it could have a huge impact on your financial situation. I’m lucky that I currently have a couple of income streams that I’ve had for long(ish) periods of time but I am always acutely aware that these could disappear at any point, and so I always like to have various streams of income, just in case.
I’ve started to plan for my future
My mum has always told me that if you own a house, in old age you have multiple options for remaining financially secure – Sunlife has some useful information about this. Unfortunately, I am yet to purchase a home, which makes me wonder if in my old age I will be financially stable. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and I’ve realised that I must open a pension plan as soon as possible and start saving to buy a property.
I put money aside for taxes
After I made the mistake of not planning for my taxes when I first started out as a freelancer, I am now much stricter with myself. The 5% of my monthly earnings that I put aside each month for my taxes – as mentioned above – I put into a dedicated savings account or pay straight into my self-assessment account. (You can pay money in early and just let it sit there, ready for when your next payment needs to be made.)
Freelancing is an amazing way of life, I love what I do and I am so pleased to be where I am today, but I have to admit that it’s not always easy in a financial sense. However, the tips above help to make financial planning that little bit easier when you work for yourself as a freelancer.