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Sole Traders

Secure or insecure retirement?

Last updated: 10 May 2022

Retirement age could be set to rise and according to some studies, by 2050 with life expectancy on the increase, we could be working for much longer. With this in mind it’s even more important that you find yourself in the right job enjoying what you do, but with so many of us unfulfilled and unmotivated, the prospect of working ourselves to death is not a nice one.

Becoming self-employed gives you autonomy and enables you to direct where your career goes and although you may be scared because you think paid employment is secure, you could be wrong. Steve Pavlina, a personal development specialist says: “Security is a result of control, and self-employment gives you far more control over your income than you have with a regular job. When you’re self-employed no one can fire you or lay you off. Which is more secure — owning your income stream or leasing it? Ownership obviously.” When you look at it this way it begins to make sense that starting up on your own could be the thing that enables you to live a happy life and even if you still have to work for longer, at least you will be doing something more enjoyable than answering to someone else.

It is an old and dated statement that a job is for life. Large companies lay off people all the time and a large percentage of employees will at some point in their lives lose their job. When you go it alone you are in control. As an employee your wages are set and balanced against others and maybe once a year you will get a slight raise, but working for yourself, the more work and effort you put in to market your skills and offer fantastic services, the more rewards you will see. Although in some cases you will work really hard and still, your business might fail, this is the risk all entrepreneurs face but generally, put in the work and reap the rewards. No more working hard for your employer and wondering why you didn’t get a decent raise at your appraisal, now you can be in control and with more and more companies outsourcing work or contracting people to keep their costs down, it means that the market for you to tap in to is getting larger.

One other main point to consider is that as a self-employed person you will save money anyway through tax relief. For example, as an employee you pay for your transport out of taxed income but in self-employment this is counted as an expense and you will be eligible for tax relief. You can also claim tax relief on a whole host of other items such as books, stationery and anything linked legitimately to your business but you will have to make sure you make provisions for your tax bill as it will not automatically be deducted as in paid employment. You will also need to think about your pension options and make sure you make suitable choices so that you are cared for in the long run.

There are a lot of things that may put you off going it alone with the main reason being the uncertainty and the supposed security of a full-time employed position but when you strip it down and look at the world today, you will realise that things are not as secure as you think and a little bit of insecurity at first, could lead to better rewards in the end … as well as an earlier, more relaxing, retirement.

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