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May 21, 2002
Investment Strategies For Freelance Workers
by Sherril Steele-Carlin

Mention investing, and many freelancers shake their heads. They think they simply don't have enough income to invest in stocks, bonds, or 401(K)s. However, the future gets here a lot more quickly than you think, and even a small investment can grow. Buying the right type of investments can give you security, and make sure you're not left without income in your mature years.

Really, investing as a freelancer isn't much different than when you're an employee - you still need to choose the investment that's best for you, and do your homework when you're shopping for a broker or financial manager. Your employer may have done some of that work for you before, but now, just as in your everyday contracting, the choice is up to you, and you have much more control over your financial investments.

Barak Strickland, a Personal Financial Coach, recommends "paying yourself first." Even though it may be difficult, write a check for 10 per cent of your income right off the top, and invest it in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Strickland also advocates working with a personal financial coach to get your finances in tip-top shape.

Business Week offers an entire section on personal investing and how to create a portfolio at: http://www.businessweek.com/investor/nonips_content/pf_investing.htm.
They include articles on how to assess your investments for return, and what to look for in your investments. You can also set up your "investment profile," to find the best investments for your particular situation.

Many freelancers begin their investing with an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). These accounts can be created by anyone, and there is no minimum investment that must be made each year. A freelancer's spouse can also open an IRA, even if they aren't employed. There are many different IRAs that freelancers can create. Some of them can also be used for employees of a small business, as your business grows, and you hire your own employees.

There are other options for freelancers, too. Simply opening a long-term savings account that pays a higher interest rate than regular savings accounts can get you on the road to financial security. Many investors are turning to other modes of saving money since the stock market has taken such a downturn. In an article on CNNMoney.com, a reporter says, "Forty-seven percent of investors said they will make changes in retirement accounts if their 401(k)s or IRAs are worth less at the end of 2001 than in January. Seventeen percent will invest in more conservative assets; 15 percent will save a bigger chunk of their salaries; 10 percent will invest in more aggressive assets." That can mean anything from securities, to CDs and savings accounts, to commodities and other higher-risk investments.

Most large investment firms offer information on personal investing, and some even offer specific stock recommendations, and free advice and ratings of various funds and investments.

Before you invest your hard earned income, it's a good idea to choose a broker or investment professional to help you realize your long-term goals. There are also many online tools to use to discover your investment profile, and calculate what you need to retire comfortably. Type "personal investing" into your favorite search engine, and you'll find a "wealth" of information available to you!

We've seen there are many sites for freelancers to learn more about investing in their future. Freelance Job News offers a very comprehensive list of links, stock analysis, and investment news at http://r144.com/investment.htm.

Sherril Steele-Carlin is a full-time freelance writer from Reno, Nevada. She's published numerous articles in print and online publications. She's also the author of the new e-book
"How to get a Life by Living and Working in a National Park." http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/dltg0002.html?10402
AND
"How to Break Into Casino Jobs."
http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/djtg0023.html?10402
Visit her web site at
http://www.powernet.net/~carlin

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