The Money Book for Freelancers - A Review

By Eric Hammer

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part Timers and the Self Employed, by Joseph D'Agnese and Denise Kiernan - Three Rivers Press 2010

In any list of reviews of what are fondly known as "money books," it simply seems to make sense that we should include at least one book aptly called "The Money Book." Of course, in this case, it's "The Money Book for Freelancers, Part Timers and the Self Employed." Basically, it's a how to guide for those who work for themselves (a demographic, which, according to the authors accounts for some 30% of the American population today).

This is no get rich quick book. There is no scheme here where you do this, buy that and you'll be set for life. Instead, this book is all about offering practical, genuinely useful advice. The book goes step by step, showing you exactly what you need to know in order to be able to make it financially as a freelancer. It does defy the logic of some other books on Personal Finance, but only in so far as it tells you what to do if you are not in fact earning a steady paycheck with benefits.

Gone from this book is advice about maximizing your 401K plan or deducting the cost of medical services not covered by insurance (anything over 7.5% by the way is deductible, but your health insurance, if employer provided is not, though it is 100% deductible, even from Social Security if you are self employed). Instead, you'll learn about paying for health insurance in a smart way.

You'll also learn about keeping enough in the bank so that when April 15 rolls around and your friends who do the work a day thing are celebrating their massive windfalls, you aren't crying about how you can possibly manage to pay the massive tax bill you accumulated for a year of working for yourself. The Money Book for Freelancers, Part Timers and the Self Employed in short, tells you what you need to know as a self employed person who needs to take charge of his or her own life.

The fundamentals are still here though - it's not so radical that the ideas presented are completely different from what you might expect. For example, keeping a cushion of money to get over the rough spots is still important (more important in fact than when you have a regular job). Paying yourself first is still a basic axiom. However, what is different is how you achieve these things as an individual who needs to worry about being paid late (or not at all) by clients who don't give a damn that your rent is due and the electric company is threatening to cut off your service unless you pay by this and this date.

Another important lesson taught here is that, unlike those worker bees who have 401K plans, you are responsible for your own retirement. You have to work hard and put money away on your own. You'll learn about your retirement savings options as a freelancer and how to make it work for your own, seemingly peculiar situation.

In short, the Money Book for Freelancers, Part Timers and the Self Employed is the personal finance bible for those who get a 1099 instead of a W-2.

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