As a freelancer, creating a rainy day fund or establishing a nest egg is important. You know you need to do it, but it is so easy to procrastinate. Setting aside money requires discipline, structure, and planning. The good news is that you can grow a nest egg by setting aside small amounts over time and by structuring an automatic savings account. It’s not glamorous, but it is necessary. We often have to trick our brains into setting money aside for savings because it’s so easy to spend everything you make on bills or leisure. Nevertheless, as the old adage goes “Pay yourself first,” – your nest egg depends on it.
BUT, HOW MUCH NEST EGG DO YOU NEED?
To feather your nest, you’ll need to pull in at least three and six months of expenses set aside if you have steady pay; freelancers should save six months or more
GROWING A NEST EGG
If you’re the type that thinks about savings and then promptly forgets about it, remembers, and then forgets again, then automatic savings plans are just perfect for you. Since an automatic savings plan lets you set aside money for savings quickly and easily without dedicating precious mental energy to monthly manual transfers to your savings account, it’s a real time-saver.
There are three main ways that freelancers can set aside small amounts of savings regularly that require very little effort or thought.
These are set it and forget it tactics that are sure to add up to a sizable nest egg over time.
- Direct deposit. If a specific client pays you regularly, split your direct deposit into two accounts; one to your regular account and one to a special account you don’t touch. Since it is deducted from your pay, often people won’t miss it.
- Automatic Savings Plans. With these plans, your banking partner sweeps a designated amount of money from one account to another at regular intervals, usually every two weeks. Automatic savings plans eliminates the need to make manual transfers to savings that you might forget to do, or convince yourself not to do because another bill pops up unexpectedly. Setting up an automatic savings plan is easy. Once you have opened your savings account, simply link it to your checking account.
- Automatic Savings Apps. These new apps for iOS or Android use a variety of strategies to help you set aside savings, from rounding up every purchase to the next dollar amount and putting the change in savings to apps that help you pay yourself as reward for working out. These free apps are linked to your accounts and every time you perform a specific task or on the schedule you determine, a small amount of money goes into your savings account. For most of these automatic savings apps, the money is held by the app owner, and is not held in your own savings account, though you can transfer the money to your savings account for free.
WHERE TO BUILD YOUR NEST: WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT AS A FREELANCER
To get an automatic savings plan in action, it needs a foundation – A SAVINGS ACCOUNT. Moreover, part of being a freelancer is that you may get paid on unconventional timelines, or you may do a lot of little transactions all day if you have an Etsy store. Look at what you currently do, how you get paid, and what types of transactions you need your account to handle.
NOTE: Here’s where you’ll have to be extra diligent with your research.
Each bank establishes the fees, limits, and thresholds on its accounts to serve various types of customers. Before you sign up with a bank for a checking or savings account, consider that banks may charge fees based on any of the following:
- Your average balance
- Some banks require that you maintain a certain amount in the account to avoid a monthly fee
- The number and types of transactions you make
- Number and dollar amount of cash deposits
- Many online-only banks set a low cap on cash deposits
- Number of transactions (e.g. debits and credits going into and out of your account)
- Uses of your debit/ATM card for any transaction
- Using your ATM card at ATMs from another bank
- Foreign transactions
- Wire transfers
Look at these thresholds to determine what is right for you. Make sure these automatic savings transfers both meet the minimum number of transactions the bank requires (usually one to three uses in a month) and do not go over the maximum number to avoid fees that will take a chunk out of your savings.
The best bank for a savings account is the one that meets your individualized needs, whether a personal or business account. Gone are the days when business banking catered to large corporations and ignored the small enterprise. Today, there are many options for savings money with direct deposit accounts that are designed for the needs of freelancers and others in “unconventional” jobs. No one needs to be confined to a 9-5 job to save for the future. Feather your nest your way, and grow your nest egg one automatic transfer at a time.
Before you know it, you will be making your way to having the recommended six months or more of expenses set aside, and you will no longer be as concerned with the ebb and flow of freelance gigs.
CURRENTLY SANTANDER OFFERS THESE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS:
- Santander Savings Account
- Santander Money Market Savings Account
- Santander Youth Savings Account
- Santander Premier Plus Money Market Savings Account
For more information about business banking, visit Santander Business Banking.