Having cash-in-hand is tough. As a freelancer, income ebbs and flows, especially during the first few years of business. Building up a cash savings account can be wishful thinking when you have start-up costs to consider.
So, let’s look beyond the checkbook. Have you considered combining your lifestyle with your long-term savings goals? As a full-time self-employed writer, it’s been well beyond eight years since I’ve had the assistance of an employer-funded long-term savings plan. Now, I’m saving on my own, but partially in a non-monetary way. Let me explain.
1. Become a Homeowner
We all need a place to live, so why not turn homeowning into an investment? My husband and I bought a historical Dutch Colonial home several years ago that’s become our weekend fixer-upper. Each time we invest in improving our home, we’re priming our property for a higher dollar amount when it’s time to downsize and sell.
We pay our monthly mortgage knowing that it both secures our place to live right now and becomes a long-term savings plan for when we need money in the future. Eventually, we won’t require as much space, and we’ll sell our home. The funds will be used for our retirement years, including housing and medical needs.
2. Invest in Collectibles
Love stuff? If you have a hobby that includes collecting antiques or unique items, you just might have a long-term savings plan in place without even knowing it. Some collections gain significant value over time.
If you already have collectibles on display, consider getting them appraised and, if applicable, a certificate of authenticity drawn up to make selling at a later date easier.
3. Buy and Rent Out Land
Another non-monetary investment is land. I live in the Midwest, where land translates into livelihood for many farming families. Land is passed down from generation to generation, and sold off in parcels for added income as needed.
Take a cue from this process and consider investing in land that’ll draw a monthly rent payment that exceeds your loan payment. Invest the overage. Whether it’s fields in the Midwest, or land just outside a growing metropolitan area that will soon be snatched up by business developers, work with a real estate agent to pick an area that will increase in value over time.
4. Invest in Stocks
Sometimes the best way to save is to tuck money away that you never see. Tell your friends and family that for future holidays, anniversaries, birthdays or wedding gifts you’d like stocks. These monetary gifts gain interest over the years, becoming solid long-term investments — as long as you let them reach maturity.
If you haven’t started paying yourself yet, or struggle to generate a livable wage, think beyond your bank account when it comes to long-term savings. Today’s investments can turn into tomorrow’s financial nest egg.