Author Topic: Self Employed Retirement Options  (Read 2732 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 22
Self Employed Retirement Options
« on: May 23, 2016, 08:54:42 AM »
Hey All,

I have an odd career path as a political consultant working on campaigns here and there, and as a semi-professional poker player when I am not on a campaign.

While I make good money from both, I have yet to have jobs where there has been any sort of 401k or HSA or anything that might be more accessible in the corporate world.

Right now all my money is in Vanguard.

11k - 2 years of maxed out Roth all in VTSAX
12k - In VTSAX in a standard account
1.5k - In 2045 Targeted Retirement

Then I have about 17k in Savings, which is my emergency fund/poker bankroll.

So between that, and the few things I own, I have about 40k in assets. Zero debts other than some low interest student loans.

My plan at the moment is to put every dime I make into Vanguard and just let it build up long term.

My question is:  Is there a standard retirement savings plan people out there use when they have non traditional careers.  Besides maxing out Roth every year and throwing everything else into VTSAX, am I missing something obvious that I should be looking into?

Thanks team!


  • Bristles
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Re: Self Employed Retirement Options
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 08:57:43 AM »
If you are a 1099 employee you can set up a Sep-IRA very easily.  Great vehicle especially if you are making a bunch of cash. Limit is $53k a year or 25% of your income, whichever is smaller.


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 183
Re: Self Employed Retirement Options
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 02:26:27 PM »
I have been  a self-employed entertainer for the last 35+ years and am in more or less the same situation. I would recommend that you take stock at the end of each year and see what IRAs make sense. In years where your reported earnings are relatively low, you might want to continue to contribute to your Roth if you have enough money to do so. In banner years you'll want to pile money into a regular IRA. You can also set up a solo 401(k) as well as a solo 401(k) Roth, though I personally haven't had much use for the latter account yet because I have always elected for the up front tax savings.

You always have until about 4/15 to fund these accounts for the previous year, but in some cases the accounts need to be established BEFORE the end of the calendar year. You already have the Roth established. Is the 2045 Target fund in a regular IRA account? If not, make sure you have a regular IRA set up before the end of 2016 so that you have options.

The 401(k) option (or the SEP that 2buttons suggested) just allow you to put more money away if you have the funds.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 10
Re: Self Employed Retirement Options
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2016, 07:06:44 PM »
Hi.  I don't know if this would apply to you or not, but our small biz/partnership just opened the 401k with betterment and we love it.  It allows us so much more flexibility, as well as the option to max out at a much higher contribution rate than the IRA.  They have a roth 401k option as well.  We've been really, really pleased with their service and feel like it was a really good option for us.  I learned of Betterment on the MMM site, and have been really pleased with them overall.
Vanguard is fine for my personal accounts, but I have to say that on the business side, I really like the more nimble approach, the customer service, the website features and the fact that it's just more 21st century in terms of their overall platform.  This might sound odd to some, but the other thing I've really liked it getting to talk to the same person for our questions, needs, changes, whatever.  They have been super responsive and I have been really impressed with them.
Hope that helps!

Much Fishing to Do

  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Self Employed Retirement Options
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2016, 07:39:58 AM »
If you can save more than what the IRA allows set up a solo 401k with both Roth and traditional options.  I did one with Vanguard and was very easy to set up (easier than i had thought it would be).  Lower tax bracket years (15% or less for me) I use the Roth 401k option, and good years (25%+) I use the traditional to get the larger deduction.  If your income varies a ton like mine does this accomplishes building a good tax diversification in your retirement funds as you go without putting any thought to it.  I started with a SEP-IRA when I could go above the IRA limit, but it lacked the Roth option and limits can be too low for median earning Mustachians who save a ton (if you make 60k you can put 10k in a SEP but 18k+10k in a solo).


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 122
  • Location: Up North
Re: Self Employed Retirement Options
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2016, 08:12:17 AM »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Queens, NY
Re: Self Employed Retirement Options
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 08:02:23 AM »