The Ultimate Guide to Freelancer Finance: Pensions, Tax, Savings and More

Today I wanted to talk about an aspect of freelance life I’m trying to be much more savvy around: finances! One of my most popular guides on The Bloglancer is my guide to filling out your tax self-assessment. I’m pretty smug that I sent this year’s return to my accountant in 2018 (after leaving it until the last week of January last time!) but I’m not so smug at my grasp of other financial things: such as pensions (err, kind of forgot about that since going freelance must be honest!), savings, putting money aside for the tax bill and business banking in general. Today I’ve teamed up with new finance app Multiply to talk about getting your head around finances, setting goals and just generally being money-savvy when you’re freelance or considering it!

A Little about Multiply

Multiply is a new finance app specifically aimed at self-employed folk (or full-time workers thinking of making the leap) like me. It helps you plan and set goals for sensible financial things that, let’s be honest, I keep forgetting about: such an emergency fund (for actual emergencies not because you fancy a holiday), pensions, income protection and even wills. You can set goals and it gives you recommendations; as well as sometimes suggesting financial products that might fit. It’s also designed by flexible and adjust around your earnings-which we all know fluctuate constantly as a freelancer!

Sorting out a Pension When Freelance

An example of Multiply apps homescreen; which guides you through different areas of finance.

Did you know that 45% of self-employed people don’t currently have a pension? I went from a teaching career to a freelancing one: so basically from a pretty amazing pension to a non-existent one. A pension has been on my to-do-list for a while now so I decided to tackle it whilst writing this blog post and doing some of my own research!

After putting in mine and my husband’s salary to the app, it estimated I should be aiming to pay £153 a month into a pension. Which is £153 more a month than I currently pay! I like how it took my projected earnings into account for a realistic figure. It estimates this would give me a yearly pension of £22,617 when I retire (including my state pension) It estimated that without saving for a pension, would receive £8000 a year via a state pension. Which seems very little! So it’s clear that’s my first financial goal to get going with in 2019

After doing a bit of my own research into pensions, I didn’t realise that I could claim tax relief on my pension contributions-so it would actually benefit me to get going before April! If you’re a basic tax payer, you’ll get an extra £25 for every £100 you put in (according the money advice service)

Top Tips for Finding a Pension as a Freelancer

Pensions can be a bit of a minefield for us freelancers. There are private options (A SIPP-a self-invested personal pension)  of course but I was quite surprised when researching that you can actually join the government’s NEST scheme-which is the usual workplace pension scheme.

As long as you are between 16-75, working in the UK and registered as self-employed you’re probably eligible to join (more info here). What I like about this is that you can put as much or as little in each time you’d like-although I do think sticking to the goals suggested from Multiply would be best; I have to be realistic and all being well in the summer I’ll be on basic maternity allowance after the birth of my first baby-so there might be some months where I’d struggle to contribute.  There are also private SIPP schemes designed for self-employed folk-like Pension Bee.

At the moment, Multiply doesn’t have a section for recommended pension products-but they’re hoping to have this feature this month; so hopefully that will uncover even more pension options!

Savings as a Freelancer

Obviously with a baby on the way next year, savings are on my mind! I was going to cover this in a separate post but I’ve been looking into maternity allowance (happy to do a separate post on this if there’s many self-employed mums-to-be like me?) and at just over £140 a week, I know I won’t be able to have much in the way of maternity leave.

I know the sensible thing is to work right now and save like mad! On the app, I have set myself a goal for a maternity ‘buffer’ (basically the difference between my average salary and maternity allowance as for 3 months as I’ll probably only take that much time off) and the app gave me a breakdown of how much I need to start saving now to achieve it!

The app really handily gave a list of independently recommended saving products that could fit my needs My current saving account has pretty much 0% interest but the app recommended two 1.4% saving accounts that I will now look in to!
If you’re planning on going freelance, I know 3 months salary is sometimes seen as a good buffer. However, it doesn’t have to be 3 months salary. A good tip someone told me is to think of your ‘ramen’ money: in other words, set a target for what you’d need to save to live off noodles for 3 months-to just cover your basic bills in other words. I presume it meant budget noodles rather than Yo Sushi. You might find this figure is a lot lower than you think! It’s probably something we should all know in the back of our minds!

However, saving is often really unpredictable when freelancing is such a rollercoaster; so I’m thinking of also trying some ‘round-up’ apps. Basically, if I bought something for £2.70, the app would round it up to £3 and take 30p into my savings! This article explains more on how they work  but as I’m forever popping things on my card-I’m thinking it could be a really good way to save so I’m off to download them.

Income Protection

Finally, the app suggested I should be paying between £18-£31 each month into income protection. I’ve not done this but considering I have a chronic condition-I guess I should! I was hoping it would recommend a personalised product for me (like savings)but it didn’t unfortunately (hopefully that’s on the cards!) so it was back to research. Unfortunately, being self-employed; you’ll need to show evidence for your earnings and you can’t protect all of it-more likely 60%. So if you couldn’t work, income protection would provide a percentage of your income rather than your highest earning month! 

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I hope these tips are useful for you. What finance issue are you planning to get to grips with as a freelancer? Let me know your thoughts below! Don’t forget to download the Multiply app to get to grips with your freelancer finances in 2019!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Multiply. As usual, all opinions aand words are 100% my own.


This post is in collaboration with Multiply-an amazing new app for freelancers that can be downloaded on ITunes.


  1. January 9, 2019 / 8:00 am

    Eeek, I still haven’t set up a pension yet. That’s at the top of my to do list once I get back from my next press trip. You’ve inspired me!

    • The Bloglancer
      January 9, 2019 / 2:45 pm

      me too! thanks so much!

  2. January 9, 2019 / 12:08 pm

    This is really handy. I really need to get a pension sorted out, my state pension is up to date but I have nothing in the way of private funds.

    • The Bloglancer
      January 9, 2019 / 2:44 pm

      thanks Rebecca! I’m exactly the same!

  3. January 10, 2019 / 7:33 pm

    I keep meaning to look at setting up a pension. I’ve never had one! That’s so bad, isn’t it? Definitely going to check out Multiply as well. It sounds like something I’d find super useful 🙂

    Louise x

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