A Guide To Saving For Retirement When You’re Self Employed

The first question is, how much money should you set aside for retirement? While many people make a generous contribution to their retirement plan, very few self-employed people budget for retirement savings. Saving money for retirement should be part of one’s budget and allocated from business and personal spending.

Are There Different Saving Options?

There are four choices for getting retirement savings. They are:


A one-participant 401(k), as the IRS officially dubs it, is also known as a solo 401(k), solo-k, or individual 401(k). It applies to sole proprietors with no employees other than a spouse working for the business. See also our article on 401(k) versus and individual retirement account.

How a Solo 401(k) Works

The one-participant plan offers you a higher contribution limit than many other tax-advantaged plans. You can contribute as an employer (a non-elective contribution) and an employee (an elective deferral) for the same plan.

Setting Up a Solo 401(k)

There may be paperwork to fill out, but this isn’t too time-consuming. Abusiness owner must contact a financial institution to open an individual 401(k), which may impose fees and income limits on the types of investments available. While some plans limit you to a limited list of mutual funds, shopping around will uncover many well-known and reputable firms offering low-cost, flexible plans that have no contribution limit.


As a variation on a traditional IRA, SEP-IRAis also known as a simplified employee pension. It’s the easiest plan to set up and run and is excellent for sole proprietors.

SEP IRA for self employed people

How an SEP-IRA Works

The employer alone contributes to a Simplified Employee Pension—not employees. In contrast to the solo 401(k), you would contribute under your employer’s name. Plan participants also have the option of varying contributions, making them in a lump sum at the end of a year, or skipping them altogether. Participants do not have to contribute annually. The plan is not as useful if you have employees because it is so straightforward and flexible for one-person businesses. While SEP-IRAs are simple, they are not necessarily the most effective means of saving for retirement. We have a great guide on setting up a Gold SEP IRA.

Setting Up an SEP-IRA

The account is simpler than a solo 401(k). You can easily open an SEP-IRAonline at brokerage services.


Simple IRAs, officially known as employee savings incentive plans, are a mix of a traditional IRA and a 401(k). Small businesses are the best candidates for a Simple IRA. The cost of other plans might be too high for companies with fewer than 100 employees.

How a Simple IRA Works

SIMPLE IRAs follow the same investment, rollover, and distribution rules as a traditional or Roth IRA, except they have a lower maximum contribution amount.

Both employers and employees can contribute the same amount. In either case, employers must contribute up to 3% of each participating employee’s income to the plan each year or a set 2% contribution to every eligible employee.

SIMPLE IRAs are similar to 401(k) plans in that they consist of tax-deductible employer contributions and pretax employee contributions. Employers have fewer obligations. That is because employees make contributions even though there is a mandatory savings incentive match plan. Employer contributions are subject to the same contribution limits as employee contributions.

Setting Up Simple IRA

Like other IRAs, you must open these plans with a financial institution that offers a range of investment choices. Plans may also charge a fee for participation and administration. It has a similar process to an SEP-IRAbut with more paperwork required.


The Keogh or HR 10 plan (also known as a qualified or profit-sharing plan) is arguably the most complicated. On the other hand, it provides the greatest potential for retirement savings.

How a Keogh Works

The Keogh plan usually takes the form of a defined-contribution plan, in which a set sum or percentage of paychecks gets contributed every pay period.

For Keogh planning, you need to be an unincorporated business, a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a partnership. Although all contributions occur on a pretax basis, there may be a vesting requirement.A defined-benefit plan usually benefits those with high incomes since it enables them to make more contributions than other plans.

Setting Up a Keogh

There is a lot of paperwork involved with Keogh Plans due to federal filing requirements. Therefore, you should seek expert advice from an accountant, financial advisor, or investment institution. You may have fewer custodians choices than other plans, meaning brick-and-mortar institutions would be better than online services.

Why Is Saving Hard for the Self-Employed?

It will not surprise self-employed individuals why they do not save for retirement. The most common include: unstable income, debt repayment, uncovered medical expenses, educational costs, and business operation costs.

It’s a do-it-yourself task to create retirement funds, like any other venture an entrepreneur undertakes. You will need to demonstrate extreme discipline to contribute to the plan, and because the amount you can put into your retirement accounts depends on how much you earn, you won’t know the amount you can contribute until the end of the year.

The good news for self-employed individuals is that they also have unique opportunities to save for retirement. Incorporate your time setting up and administering your retirement fund into your business expenses. You can fund your retirement plan out of your business expenses. Contributions to a retirement account lower your taxable income since they are pretax.

It also depends on when you want to retire. For example, saving to retire at 40 is going to be a different plan that saving to retire at 55.

How to Build Your Retirement Plan?

Many self-employed individuals do not have access to the company-sponsored retirement plans that were once common. However, a self-employed person has more options than ever before, so it’s important to understand what each type of plan offers and how to best use it.

You can also use a defined-benefit retirement fund if your business does not have more than two employees. These plans are generally more expensive to set up and maintain, but they can be a great way to save more money over time.A solo 401(k) may be the best option depending on your income and personal situation. Both employers and employees can contribute, so they are often the most popular option among self-employed individuals. SEP-IRAs allow you to save tax-deferred for retirement.As much as 25 percent of profits are contributable, and there is no traditional or Roth IRA. You’ll need to consult with a financial advisor to set up the best financial goals.

Saving Money at Every Age: How Much Should You Have?

Investing companies suggest that your nest egg should replace 45% of your preretirement income in retirement since expenses reduce. In contrast, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security, Social Security only replaces about 40% of your preretirement income. Experts even recommend saving up to 70% to 90% of your preretirement income.

money required in retirement at age 30

In general, here’s what they recommend you should have saved at every age:

 By age 30:A year’s salary

 By age 40: Thrice your annual salary

 By age 50: Six times what you earn annually  By age 60: Eight times your annual earnings

 By age 67: ten times your annual earnings (the age when social security benefits are fully available to you)

Investing companies suggest putting 15% of your income into your retirement savings and putting half of those savings into stocks. Your retirement savings may differ from those recommended by the Standard Recommendation based on your age, retirement date, and desired retirement lifestyle.

How Does a Small Business Owner Save For Retirement?

Many small business owners don’t have a retirement account, even if they are self-employed. While a large company offers retirement accounts, small business owners must find ways to save for retirement. Many put every dollar they make into their business to build a solid foundation. However, this can lead to financial problems in the future. As a result, micro-business owners need to start thinking about the future early. SEP-IRAs are an excellent method of saving for retirement.

This type of retirement account allows small business owners to contribute 25% of their income, up to $61,000 in 2022. Business owners can contribute as much money because employer contributions are generally tax-deductible. These plans can be costly to fund aggressively but are a good option for solo entrepreneurs.

What Happens When You Don’t Save Money For Your Future?

A self-employed person needs to save for retirement because it ensures that you have enough money to live on when you stop working. Find out why freelancers ought to invest in retirement plans.


1. It provides a steady income stream.A pension provides a steady income stream at the end of your career, but this is not always the case with Social Security or other government benefits.

2. It offers the benefit of accumulating wealth over time. You can use the money in your account to buy stocks, bonds, and other investments which can grow over time and provide additional income in retirement.

3. It provides a higher standard of living in retirement. If you have saved for retirement, you may be able to afford to retire earlier than if you had not saved. You will also have more money available to take care of yourself and your family members in your later years, which could provide a higher standard of living in retirement.

4. You can accumulate savings over many years, providing important lifetime benefits such as lower taxes, free education for your children, and more time to enjoy your retirement.

5. It protects you financially during retirement. It can also help ensure that you have enough money to live on during your retirement years in case of emergencies, health-related issues, or job loss.

6. It provides a financial cushion to help reduce the impact of unexpected events. Saving for retirement can help you reduce your chances of experiencing a major catastrophe or other significant life events that could financially harm you.

7. It helps protect retirement income adequacy and can help provide you and your family with enough money to meet their future needs if you retire or are disabled, unemployed, or your spouse dies.

8. It helps reduce the risk of running out of money during retirement. It can also help ensure that you will not run out of money as you age.

9. It provides peace of mind in the future and a sense of security for your family, knowing they will have enough to live on when you retire or are disabled, unemployed, or your spouse dies.


1. You may need to work longer or retire later than you would like, resulting in a lower standard of living during your retirement years.

2. It could leave you without financial freedom and unable to maintain the lifestyle you need.

3. It could leave you and your family vulnerable to these events and unprepared for any changes in their lives, negatively impacting them.

4. Not saving for retirement could leave you and your family vulnerable to financial hardship and in a situation where they may not have enough money to meet their future needs as you age.

5. It could leave you with insufficient cash or other assets to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in your golden years.

6. It may cause stress and apprehension about what the future will hold for you. and your loved ones. The following are the benefits of saving for retirement.


Self-employed individuals have unique retirement planning considerations. One of the biggest challenges is that they often don’t have an employer who sponsors a retirement plan. Even though it can be difficult to make retirement savings when self-employed, it’s important to plan for it. Many people don’t think about retirement until decades later, but it’s important to have a retirement plan to focus on your future instead of the present. Having a well-thought-out plan will help you retire earlier than you expected, and it can also give you tax advantages now.

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Peter Grantham

Peter has been an avid investor in for all his life. Over that time he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience including stocks, bonds, real estate, retirement, precious metals, cryptocurrencies and business investments. You can get in touch at my email: info@smallunites.org As the owner of this site "My Gold Silver Bitcoin", he aims to bring his knowledge and experience to new investors and seasoned veterans. My mailing address is: 41847 Moen Grove, Greenton, Arkansas, 80976

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