FINANCES FOR FREELANCERS: A Monthly Feature Sponsored by Community Loan Fund
Setting money aside for savings is not always an easy task. For freelancers and creatives, it can be even more difficult, because many of us have irregular cash flow, as our clients, assignments and payments often change from month to month. A survey by TD Ameritrade reveals that 40% of Freelancers don’t regularly save, and only do so when they can afford to. I can say I personally used to fit that statistic!
Savings Helps your Cashflow
The start of healthy financial practices often begins with savings and cashflow management. Cashflow is the total amount of money being transferred into and out of your business each month. For freelancers, cashflow can go up and down pretty frequently, but having a savings can help to level things out. For example, let’s say in month A you get a lot of work, and invoices are all paid, Congratulations! The money coming in is greater than the expenses going out, creating positive cashflow. In month B, your invoices might not get paid in a timely way, or one of your clients might not have sent any assignments, so in month B, you might have a neutral or negative cashflow. If you saved a portion of your income from month A, when month B comes around, you will be in a better position to pay your expenses in month B.
Savings Looks Good For Loans
When applying for a business loan or mortgage, having savings will be regarded positively, because it reduces the risk to the lender. Your savings is considered a financial asset. Why is this important? Read on.
Savings Improves Your Net Worth
Having a savings improves your personal balance sheet. A personal balance sheet provides an overall snapshot of your wealth at a specific period in time. It is a summary of your assets (what you own), your liabilities (what you owe) and your net worth (assets minus liabilities).
Savings adds to your net worth, because it is an asset.
Tracking your balance sheet regularly is essential to knowing where you are with your finances, and what you can do to improve them and reach your financial goals.
Tracking your personal balance sheet is not difficult to do. There are many apps and software programs that are specialized to meet the needs of freelancers, while often offering benefits like creating invoices, tracking mileage, and more. QuickBooks Self-Employed and FreshBooks are two such programs, but there are dozens that can serve your needs. Search for a program that suits your particular business, or ask freelance friends or our ACE Discussion Group for their recommendations.
Setting a Target Savings Goal
Some experts say that setting a target of at least 20 percent of your income going directly to savings, or $20 of every $100 you make. Set up an arrangement at your bank to auto transfer a certain amount to your savings account with every deposit, and you’ll be saving without even realizing it! Accountability also helps. Joining a financial support group, or having a money accountability buddy can help you stay focused on your end goal when cashflow is lower and you are tempted to skip that savings deposit. Lean on friends on that tough day where you just don’t think you can save. Even a small deposit in your savings account each month will set you in the right direction and start a healthy habit for the future.
Article By Ashleigh Kinsey, owner of AK Design and ACE Digital Manager