But in reality, one day you just might retire. Whether you tire of the business or become physically unable to continue, you will set down your pen. At that time, how will you pay the bills? Nobody wants to think that far. It's critical that you do.
Save now. Even if it's pennies. Thinking ahead is how I was able to quit the day job and become a fulltime writer. Ten dollars a week in the bank. Then as I paid off a bill, I put that payment amount in the bank instead of letting it melt away and hide in my disposable income. After a couple of years, I was banking some serious coins! After three years, I turned in my papers and began to seriously write.
But a few years after I leaped into freelance writing, I began making a profit. And I hadn't paid taxes. Enter an IRA account. Now I put money into a self-employment designed IRA to save me from paying as many taxes, and to plan for the one day I won't be able to write.
You need three levels of savings, in my personal opinion.
- You need instant income - for those sudden expenses like toner for the laserjet, a backup harddrive, a sudden airline ticket, or purchasing several hundred of your self-published book.
- Then you need savings you can access without penalty. A savings that earns a little interest (little is very little these days, but it still adds up) but is there when your car dies, the air conditioner fries, or you break a hand and can't type for a couple of months.
- And you need a retirement account. You have a wide assortment, and this choice takes time. Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA. Find someone you trust to walk you through this, and that doesn't necessarily mean your banker. Your tax accountant might be able to help. A broker. A financial planner. But these funds are there for later, and you invest them in areas that build the best return for you in the meantime.
Even if you have to pass up a weekly latte or trip out for a burger, save. Even if it's $5/week, save. The point is to make it a habit. And it will be after a few months. Like eating fried food after six months of healthy eating, you'll regret backsliding because you've instilled the pattern in your life. Because one day, and there will be a "one day," you'll have a crisis, or a remarkable opportunity, and you won't be able to take advantage of it.
You don't want to find yourself emailing me, asking for some sort of emergency grant to keep the power on so you can keep your freelance career alive.