Freelance futures: The one financial step every freelancer should take

Freelance futures: The one financial step every freelancer should take

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After leaving full-time employment to raise her children in their South African home, Alison Hill spent years as a stay-at-home-mum before deciding it was time to give her life an overhaul. So, she packed up her things – and her life – and moved to Australia to follow her dream of becoming a freelance writer. There was only one problem – she had very little in the way of superannuation. “I had some but not a huge amount as I’d migrated here, leaving my super-equivalent in South Africa, where I didn’t have that much anyway,” she says. “Super isn’t compulsory there, though luckily my employer did pay some. Then I had years out of the workforce raising children too. I had salary sacrificed for a few years though, and that made a big difference. It saves tax and boosts your super balance.” Despite the modest balance, Hill found the freelance lifestyle to be liberating, allowing her to work around her family and have a positive work/life balance. Self-employment: How to negotiate the cash flow and super growth struggle Read more “I love not working in an office and not having to attend endless, pointless meetings,” says Hill. “Not commuting, not having to dress in a certain way, being able to go to gym and swimming when I feel like it. Not to mention being able to follow my own interests and ideas when it comes to writing.” But freelancing does come with its share of difficulties. “Finding a constant flow of work is hard – you become out of touch with new technologies and have to make a real effort to keep up to date, and networking can be difficult and time-consuming. When you feel unmotivated, it’s easy to be distracted and go for a walk or find some vital household job that has to be done today – and probably involves a trip to the shops, a coffee while you’re out, and catching up with your reading afterwards.” Networking can be difficult and time-consuming. When you feel unmotivated, it’s easy to be distracted. As with any small business, cash flow can become tricky for anyone earning their living through freelance work. “It’s really difficult to plan and save, especially as my partner and I are both self-employed. It’s so easy to splash out when you have cash, and then regret it when things get tight. It’s hard to plan things like travel and holidays, because you always worry that work might drop off, or you’ll get so busy that you won’t be able to take time off when you want to.” While Hill jokes there are more fun ways to spend her money, she’s also renewed her focus on superannuation, particularly as she approaches potential retirement. “I try to save as much as I can when I can, and I keep some of it in a term deposit so that I can’t spend it on a whim. I’ve also made some lump sum payments into super when I’ve […]

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