October 23, 2018

The Complicated Financial Lives of Freelancers

“Working on your own can have its rewards, such as being able to set your own hours. But being self-employed also brings with it the headache of handling taxes — something a traditional employer normally does.

“It’s just excruciatingly difficult to manage our finances,” says P. Kim Bui, who has been a freelance consultant off and on for two years.

In addition to the Web design and social media work she’s hired to do, she must also manage all her own office functions, from accounting to payroll.

“No one really explains to you taxes and contracts and how to chase a client for that bill that they owe you — like, the nitty-gritty,” says Bui, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, who also works freelance, as a graphic designer.

They are among the rapidly expanding population of contingent workers that make up, by some estimates, a third of the U.S. workforce. They, like others, enjoy the flexibility of that work arrangement. On the other hand, neither of them has an employer contributing toward Social Security, health insurance, retirement, or paid vacations.”

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