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How self-employed people can maximize their retirement savings

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If you own a business, you know how much is on your shoulders. From keeping customers happy to managing suppliers and employees, there’s a lot to juggle. No one else takes care of these and other critical business functions when you’re self-employed. That includes something very important to you and your family’s financial future: your retirement.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about saving and investing for your self-employed retirement so you can maintain your ideal lifestyle during your golden years.

Related: How to Save for Retirement While Running a Business

Create an independent retirement plan

The first step in saving for retirement is setting retirement goals. All future retirees should set realistic goals for saving and investing. If you look to the end and work backwards, you know you are making the right decisions today.

A popular method for retirement plans is to establish a reasonable budget for your after-work years. Keep in mind that some expenses will go down, likely reducing your spending on commuting transportation and a wardrobe for work.

Factor in inflation, medical expenses, travel, hobbies, housing and other needs. With that monthly or annual spending plan, you can calculate what you need to retire.

Some pension advisors suggest that you can withdraw 4% to 5% of your retirement account indefinitely and never run out of money. Divide your annual retirement budget by 0.05 to find what you should be taking out at the 5% rate. For example, if you want $50,000 a year in retirement, you’ll need about $1 million in retirement investment.

For every extra $50,000 a year you want, you add another million dollars to your retirement savings goal. For $100,000 you would have to invest $2 million. For $200,000 you need $4 million. And so on.

Related: Get the Best Retirement Account(s) for Your Situation

How much to save for retirement?

Many financial experts suggest saving at least 10% to 15% of your gross income in a tax-efficient retirement account. Super savers do more and sometimes save as much as 50% of their income for the future in the pursuit of early retirement.

Using a retirement calculator, you can enter your current retirement balance, target retirement age, annual income, projected annual investment returns, and other factors to estimate what you need to save each month to meet your retirement goals.

What about social security?

Social Security is an important part of financial planning. Social Security is guaranteed by law, but Congress can always make changes to lower benefits, so it’s a good idea to plan to stand on your own financial assets when you retire.

The benefits are more likely what the report says for those nearing retirement, while those with decades before their 60s may be planning a slightly lower benefit. To get an estimate of your Social Security benefits when you retire, log in to the Social security website to view your personal report.

Tax-advantaged retirement accounts for entrepreneurs

If they’re lucky, employees of major corporations and organizations have accounts like an employer-sponsored 401(k), 403(b), 457, or even a retirement plan. Entrepreneurs must create their own retirement accounts. Here are two of the most popular options in the US for small businesses, in addition to traditional and Roth IRA accounts, which are available to almost everyone in the US, although some income limits apply.

Related: Best Retirement Plans – Breakdown by Rankings


SEP IRA Accounts, short for Self Employed Pension Plan Individual Retirement Account, are flexible accounts for entrepreneurs and employees. You can set this up for free with most major brokers and choose from any supported investment.

While you can make hefty contributions without a specific schedule, there are contribution limits that aren’t ideal for many business owners. Funds work just like a traditional IRA or 401(k), with pre-tax contributions and withdrawals taxed at your normal income tax rate, which should be lower when you retire.

Solo 401(k)/Small Business 401(k)

The Solo 401(k) requires more paperwork to create and requires adherence to stricter rules around contributions. If you work alone, you can probably get a Solo 401(k) account for free with a major brokerage. Those with employees may need to choose an option made specifically for small businesses for an additional fee.

Depending on how you proceed, you may have access to all of the available investments from a major brokerage, a specific family of mutual funds or ETFs, or a specific menu of available funds. Do your best to keep costs as low as possible while maximizing access to investments.

Related: Which Retirement Plan Is Best for Your Small Business?

Don’t wait until it’s too late

While it’s never too late to start saving for retirement, it’s much easier to reach your goals if you start saving early. Thanks to the power of compounding, saving a little early can lead to huge returns over many years of investing.

Retirement may be a long way off, but it will creep up on you sooner than you think. When you stay focused on your retirement goals and automate your investment strategy, you are in the best position to achieve that dream retirement.

Whether you want to spend your days on the golf course, paint or take a nap on the beach, everything is possible. With a good retirement plan and solid follow-up, there’s nothing stopping you from making those retirement dreams come true.


Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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