Self employment advice: The different ages of contracting

Self employment advice: Why contracting is a career for life

 

Over the past few weeks, I have been taking a journey through the different ages of contracting in conjunction with IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed. The four-part series ran on the IPSE website and aims to provide self employment advice and shows how contracting can provide many lifestyle and financial benefits at different stages of life.

 

Whether you’re fresh out of college or university and looking for that first job, or a seasoned professional with a lifetime of experience under your belt, setting up a Limited Company and contracting is a career that can grow as you do.

 

Age 18 to 30; Stepping onto the ladder

In the first of our ‘Ages of Contracting’ series, I explore why contracting can be a great choice for people taking their first step onto the career ladder.

 

The Flex Appeal Report carried out by The Recruitment & Employment Confederation, shows many young people start contracting age 18 – 24 to find work and make money quickly. Other reasons to contract at this age include the flexibility to fit study or hobbies around work or to fund your way through further education.

 

Those in their mid to late twenties who have perhaps been contracting for a few years might feel ready to consider setting up as a Limited Company.

 

If you’re entrepreneurially minded and earning over £25,000 per year, choosing the Limited Company formation route can open the door to even more potential benefits. These include:

 

  • being your own boss in control of your working conditions
  • greater take home pay
  • cut out competition for jobs by starting your own business
  • the satisfaction of building your own enterprise from a young age

 

Contracting through the Flexible Thirties

In the second article of the series, I show how contracting can open the door to new opportunities once you reach your thirties. Whether it’s taking a career break to travel the world or settling down, the flexibility of contracting can provide a greater work / life balance without sacrificing take home pay.

 

It’s also a great time to become your own boss. Recent research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) found almost 50% of employees are considering setting up a Limited Company. Again, flexibility and financial independence are strong motivations for going Limited.

 

Samantha Bell, 41, contracted throughout her mid to late thirties and has since launched her own successful marketing agency, DML Strategic Communications Ltd.

 

In article two, Samantha shares some of the lessons she’s learned along the way, including:

  • keep an eye on the future and where your next contract is coming from
  • look out for new problems that need solving for the client you are working for
  • be positive and professional at all times
  • make sure you know what only you bring to the role

 

Age 40 to 54; Consolidation and change

By the time you enter your forties, you may well have over two decades of experience and contacts behind you. If you were advised to make the most of your income and savings throughout this time, you should by now be able to reap the rewards of all those lucrative contracts.

 

In article three, I show how this can be a good time to audit your income vs outgoings to see whether self employment opportunities exist to ease your foot off the pedal or even change direction completely.

 

David Martin, who contracts in his mid-forties, believes confidence is the key to success:

”My advice for anyone considering a career in contracting is to go for it and have confidence – if you are successful as a permanent employee and enjoy meeting people then with the right attitude you will succeed at contracting.”

 

 

Age 55 and over; Flexibility, freedom and planning

In the final part of the series, I discuss the opportunities and challenges facing contractors in their mid-fifties and beyond.

 

Far from being worried about the future, research suggests those aged 55 to 64 are less stressed and more content than those still in the early stages of their careers.

 

Travel is a key objective for this age group, so it is no wonder that the flexible nature of contracting appeals. Contracting can also enable working in different environments and with a wide range of people, which helps to keep a career fresh if you’ve been doing it for a few decades.

 

Approaching retirement

If you are thinking about slowing down but don’t want to stop working completely, contracting provides a great way to reduce working hours without going straight into retirement.

 

Other reasons to carry on contracting in later life include:

 

  • making the move into retirement less drastic
  • the possibility of supplementing a pension with additional income
  • the opportunity to negotiate the number of hours and the type of work
  • greater freedom for those wanting to pick and choose the roles they will most enjoy.

 

It’s never too late to get advice

Whether you’re thinking about travelling the world, settling down or building a nest egg for the future, follow these five steps to make the most of your earnings and savings potential:

1. Speak to a reputable Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to ensure your money is working hard for you

2. Make the most of tax free savings, such as ISAs

3. Build up your pension pot

4. Review your investments – such as stocks and shares, or additional properties

5. Speak to your contractor accountant to ensure your salary/ dividends split is the most efficient for your needs.

 

Whatever your reasons for contracting at different times of life, it pays to seek advice on getting the most out of the potential benefits. To find out how we can help, speak to one of our expert contractor accountants today on 01202 375562 or email enquiries@intouchaccounting.com.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Five reasons to be your own boss in 2016

Be your own boss in 2016

With the recent announcements in this year’s Autumn Statement (or lack of them!), the future of contracting is appearing to be more attractive than ever.

 

So why should you consider contracting in 2016? Here we explore the professional and personal benefits you can gain by contracting with our top five reasons to contract in 2016 and beyond:

 

Career progression

career progression

If you’re in permanent employment there will often be a limit to the level of progression you can achieve. But as the boss of your own Limited Company the climb up the ladder of success is endless, as you control your own destiny.

Fancy branching out into a new field of expertise? Or are you seeing a trend for a specific type of contract within your field of profession? Your professional development and career progression is completely up to you, so why not go for it! Whilst the sky’s the limit, you’ll have to be driven enough to build up your network, promote yourself and have the determination to succeed.

 

 

Tailoring your skills

skills

Whilst contracting allows you the freedom to design your working life to your requirements, it also means that it’s completely up to you to do so! From scouting for contracts, creating and managing your business website to networking and managing your time, you’ll never stop learning. Permanent employment means you move to the beat of someone else’s drum, but as a Limited Company contractor you’ll need to find your own rhythm.

But don’t let being Limited limit you! There are so many tools out there to help you hone your skills and time management, without distracting you from your contract at hand.

 

Flexibility

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Tailoring your work life around your personal life (and not the other way around) is one of the major benefits of contracting. You make the rules, so if you only want to work certain hours or days to fit around your family life or favourite hobby, then you can!

 

It’s also completely up to you what time you feel you can give to certain contracts and when work is suitable for you. Fancy a break in the summer, or don’t want to work on your birthday? Choosing your contracts means you can decide when you work and for how long!

 

Remember! Being flexible in the early days of contracting means that you’ll build up your network and client list far quicker, allowing you to be more selective once you’ve established yourself. If previous clients know your calibre of work but are aware of an impending holiday, they’ll be more likely to hold off hiring anyone else until you’re back, especially if you’ve worked for them before and they’re keen to have you back.

 

Financial independence

Hand and money staircase isolated on white

Imagine a job where you can charge what you like for the work you do. Within reason, you can charge clients hourly or daily rates that just aren’t possible in permanent employment.

 

But whilst financial independence is probably one of the most popular goals for any professional worker, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need support to ensure you get the most from your take home pay. This is where enlisting the services of a professional contractor accountant comes in, as they will be able to make sure you are taking advantage of all the taxable benefits available to you whilst maximising your take home pay.

 

New challenges

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You’ll face new challenges; from learning new skills and working patterns, to winning business and learning how to deal with gaps in contracts, every contract will teach you something new about the world of contracting.

 

But whilst there will be a few obstacles to overcome, the financial, professional and personal achievements from going Limited far outweigh those offered in permanent employment.

 

How Intouch Accounting can help

Whether you’re just starting out and wondering what contracting can offer you, or are a seasoned pro but feel you need more from your current accounting solution, Intouch can help you at every step of the way. From incorporating your Limited Company free of charge and explaining how it all works, to making sure you’re supported when it comes to key deadlines such as your Self Assessment Tax Return, your Personal Accountant is here to provide guidance and support, whenever you need it.

 

To find out more about the services Intouch provide, why not visit us, email us, or better still,  speak to one of our advisers on 01202 375 562.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.