Gig Workers: Tips for Building Your Retirement Savings Hustle

Published on October 6, 2022

The gig economy is growing, with more people working “on-demand” and side jobs. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gig workers are independent contractors or freelancers who typically do short-term work for multiple clients. The work may be project-based, hourly or part-time, an ongoing contract or a temporary position. What they have in common is that they earn income outside of traditional long-term, employer/employee arrangements.

Popular food delivery, pet care and transportation services, usually app or online-based, are among the more well-known side hustles that emerged in recent years. However, there’s more than on-demand work in the gig economy. Upwork reported that in 2021:

Saving for retirement as a gig worker

As independent contractors, gig workers do not get the same workplace benefits that many employees may have, such as health insurance or access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Plus, the lack of a steady paycheck may make it difficult for some to save for retirement.

At Next Generation, we’re all about educating people on how to build retirement savings. And we love the entrepreneurial spirit that goes along with growing a freelance business or enjoying the schedule and location flexibility of gig work. To that end, we offer these retirement tips for those working in the gig economy:

#1: Explore the types of tax-advantaged retirement plans available to you as a self-employed taxpayer.

#2: Tap into your affinity for flexibility with a self-directed IRA.

When it comes to the types of investments these retirement plans can include, a self-directed IRA offers a higher level of flexibility and creativity—with the same tax advantages of their typical counterparts. You can self-direct a Traditional, Roth, SIMPLE or SEP IRA, as well as a solo 401(k) – you can even self-direct an Education Savings Account (ESA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).

As a member of the gig workforce, you can make contributions to your self-directed retirement plan as your income allows—and grow those contributions through a broad array of alternative assets not available in other plans. These include real estate, unsecured and secured loans, precious metals, royalties, and many more. Doing so gives that extra boost to your retirement savings, provides a hedge against stock market volatility, and allows you to take advantage of investment opportunities not available through stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

Furthermore, if you weren’t always part of the gig-economy and you used to have a regular, W-2 job, you may have some cash sitting in an old employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k), that can be rolled over into a self-directed account.

“Self-direction” means you are comfortable doing your own research and making your own investment decisions—just as you are directing your professional life. And many people who already know and understand nontraditional investments want to build a more diverse retirement portfolio by including alternative assets in a self-directed IRA. If that sounds like you, and you’d like to learn more, we invite you to register for a complimentary educational session with a Next Generation representative. You can also contact us by email at or call 888.857.8058 for answers to your questions about self-directed IRAs.

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