As a freelancer, meeting with a retirement financial planner could be one of the most important things you do for both your peace of mind and future security. Being your own boss can be amazing.
You choose your own schedule, who you want to work for, what you want to do, and where you want to do it. If you want to complete a job from your laptop at the park or take a three hour lunch, no problem! As long as your clients are happy, life is good.
However, unlike many paid employees, planning for your retirement is completely your responsibility. There are no company plans or automatic paycheck deductions. So, if you don't take a proactive approach, your senior years may be less than comfortable.
You work hard your whole life, and retirement is about being able to relax and enjoy everything you have spent years working toward. But, a happy, secure tomorrow is built on the well-laid plans and efforts of today.
So, as a freelancer, if you want to start preparing for retirement, there are some important questions that you will want to ask your Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
Now! You might not think this is financially feasible (and maybe it isn't), but talk to your CFP about the steps you can take to make sure you can start saving for your future as soon as possible.
Yes! Navigating the world of finance and investment can be confusing.
A CFP has specialized training and an understanding of the markets. They will be able to help you set goals and develop a plan that fits your budget and needs.
Research! A simple Google search should connect you with a list of CFPs in your area.
Ask friends, colleagues, or family members for recommendations and be sure to check out the reliability, qualifications, and client reviews of anyone you may be considering. You will be depending on your financial planner to give you good advice so choose someone who is concerned about more than just the commission.
Remember, they will be advising you about everything from budgeting, to banking, savings, insurance options, investments, and future planning. When you are entrusting them with that much of your life, you want to have confidence in their ability.
Maybe! A CFP will offer to look at your financial situation and help you decide if you should pay off high-interest debts such as credit cards before you start putting money away for your retirement.
If you really want to start saving as soon as possible, they may also advise a smaller investment strategy until your debts are under control.
Make sure to ask your financial planner to outline your options so you can decide which approach will be the most beneficial.
Yes! Insurance should be an important part of your financial plan,
especially if you have a family that will need to be taken care of if something were to happen to you. Ask your CFP about your options.
Probably! Investments are the best way to build retirement funds, but a
CFP will be able to look at your finances and help you decide when, and with whom, to invest your savings.
Timing, amount, and choosing the right fund managers or products are critical, so make sure your advisor has your best interests in mind.
No! Or at least they shouldn't. But, that doesn't mean they aren't an important part of your financial plan.
Savings accounts are great for short term goals (saving for a home or new car), but they are not ideal for long-term planning such as retirement.
There are investments that offer more benefits and security over the long run. Ask your CFP about how to balance savings accounts with retirement accounts or investments.
Yes! The options and rules differ somewhat depending on the type of account and which country you live in, so make sure your CFP helps you understand the benefits of each choice.
Some accounts will have tax advantages, but some will not. Some funds will go to your estate or beneficiaries upon your death, while others will not. Some investments may be guaranteed for your lifetime through a built-in insurance element, but not always.
Yes! (I bet you are saying, “So, that's what IRA stands for”, right?). An IRA is a common type of retirement account that is available to almost anyone in every developed country.
They are popular because they often come with tax benefits for you and/or your beneficiaries. Ask your CFP to explain the different types of Individual Retirement Accounts available.
And, if you don't understand, ask them to explain again. Remember, it's your financial future that is being planned.
Absolutely! As a freelancer, there is a chance that you might
be out of work for a period of time or find yourself facing a financial emergency and need money – quickly.
If you don't have an emergency fund, you may be tempted to draw on your retirement savings. If you want the money to be there when you reach retirement, you can't spend it before you get there.
Ask your CFP how to plan your budget to allow for an emergency fund that will help you deal with the unexpected.
Yes! If they don't answer “Yes”, you might want to question their credibility. All CFPs should have a list of common questions and answers for their clients.
According to their professional standards, they must supply you with specific information while completing the questionnaire used to develop your personal financial plan.
If they aren't answering your questions and offering you the information you need to feel comfortable, then you may want to find another CFP.
Yes! Or, at least they should, so make sure this is the case. Also known as Professional Liability Insurance, this coverage protects you if the CFP makes a mistake or gives you bad advice.
They should tell you this automatically, and they should also explain the terms of the insurance. But, if they don't – ask! Make sure you are protected before you trust anyone with your money.
The advice provided on this website is general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is general advice for freelancers about the questions they should ask a professional advisor. Before acting on this education material for freelancers you should consider the appropriateness of the material, having regard to your own objectives, and seek detailed personal advice from an appropriate professional.