If you think many full-time employees are ill-prepared for retirement — as a slew of studies indicates they are — imagine what it's like for the 34 percent (and growing) of the American workforce that are freelancers.
"I'm going to have to work until I drop dead," Tom Egan, a graphic designer in his 50s living in Jersey City, N.J., tells CNBC
. "I'm way behind in retirement savings."
The problem for freelancers, of course, is that their income stream is irregular, and they don't have employers that will match contributions to a 401(k) plan.
Nathan Schreiber, a 30-something Brooklyn-based illustrator and owner of a startup children's education service, puts the situation in dire terms.
"I'm woefully unprepared for retirement and terrified about it," he tells CNBC. "When I do get a good job, I make a point of saving it."
Technology makes getting more assignments difficult, he says.
"I live frugally, have no debt and have some savings, but things are still tenuous. I think there's going to be a crisis for my generation. Nobody's saving enough, and everybody's living longer. There's a brewing financial apocalypse."
CNBC lists three retirement vehicles for freelancers: A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA, a Solo or Individual 401(k) plan and a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA.
Meanwhile, many retirement planners urge their clients to consider working beyond the age of 65 to ensure their savings are adequate to fund the lifestyle they seek in their golden years.
So it's no wonder that 36 percent of Americans say they plan to retire after 65, according to a study conducted by Greenwald & Associates and the Employee Benefit Research Institute
But don't count on being able to work past the age of 65, says Robert Powell, editor of Retirement Weekly.
That's because 50 percent of Americans who plan on working longer find themselves retiring unexpectedly, according to the study, he writes in USA Today
As reasons why, they cite health problems (60 percent); changes at their company, such as downsizing (27 percent), having to care for a family member (22 percent); and new skills required for their job (10 Percent).
So how should you deal with these possibilities?
"Plan for all possible outcomes," Powell writes. "If you don't have a financial plan in place, do so now. That plan should cover all aspects of your finances, from budgets to insurance to taxes to investments to estate planning and retirement planning."
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