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Irregular, Nontraditional, Or Gig Income? 5 Retirement Savings Tips

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Increasing numbers of Americans are opting for the gig-based or freelance lifestyle rather than a traditional 9-to-5 job. But this can make retirement planning more complicated. How can you ensure you still save for and plan for retirement even when your income is nontraditional, sporadic, or seasonal? Here are a few tips to put into place in your own life.

1. Work With a Planner. A financial planner isn't just for the very wealthy. Financial planners work with all manner of Americans to help them save and plan for a stable retirement no matter what their financial or personal circumstances. They'll provide tailored advice about everything from budgeting for cyclical income to crafting a retirement timeline. 

2. Earmark Certain Income. If you have multiple, unequal sources of income — such as gig work, consulting services, or seasonal employment — plan to earmark one or more sources specifically for retirement savings. By committing this income, you'll make regular contributions and create a good savings habit. It also helps to make budgeting more successful because you know in advance what is and isn't available for current expenses. 

3. Open Alternative Accounts. Employer-based 401(k) plans and pensions aren't the only retirement savings options available to you. Both traditional and Roth IRAs are open to most individuals through brokerage services and financial institutions. And you might open a Solo 401(k), SIMPLE Plan, or SEP IRA as a self-employed person. Learn about the various alternatives to find one that suits your finances. 

4. Use Taxable and Nontaxable Options. While getting a tax benefit when saving for retirement is great, you aren't limited to those options if they don't work for you. Don't overlook taxable accounts. For instance, in order to contribute to an IRA, you must have eligible earned income. If your income doesn't fit the rules, save with a taxable brokerage account anyway. You may even find this method more flexible and freeing. 

5. Avoid Using Savings. Retirement planning isn't just about saving new money; it's also about not prematurely depleting what you have. Whether you face unemployment, seasonal employment, or irregular income, avoid the temptation to use retirement funds for current expenses. Work with your financial planner to come up with alternative strategies, such as evening out cyclical income for a more stable budget. 

Want more help saving and planning your retirement when your income doesn't follow the standard path? Start by meeting with a retirement planner in your state today.