October 3, 2022  • Newsletter

This Month’s Money Message: Contribute

“A new phase” is how Serena Williams described her retirement from tennis earlier this year. That phrase resonated strongly with many of the folks I work with, especially in the context of retirement planning, which can seem pointless if you plan to continue making work until the end of time. (And for what it’s worth, I hope you continue making work for as long as you want to continue making. Your words, your art, your performances are too valuable to stop.)

But just because you may want to continue making work forever doesn’t mean you’ll want to continue making work in the exact same way forever. Perhaps you’ll want to make less work, even as you continue creating. Or perhaps you’ll want to take an extended residency somewhere without any pressure to earn during that time. Or perhaps you’ll want to scale back the unrelated (income-producing) work you do in a later phase of your career, perhaps teaching less or taking on fewer commissions.

These future phases of your career can be whatever you want them to be, even if you don’t know exactly what you want them to be (yet). If your current phase is still working for you, keep it going.

These future phases of your career can be whatever you want them to be.

But know that there might be a time in the future where you’d like your income to come from your savings or accumulated assets, rather than from new work you are doing or new income you are earning. That’s why we save for that future point, for that future phase.

So how do you save for that phase? I’m glad you asked. Because as someone with self-employment income, you have some additional options to contribute to your own retirement: Through a Job-Job (if you have one), As an Individual, and Through Your Own Business.

Through a Job-Job

If you have a job that offers retirement benefits – especially matching benefits where your employer contributes to your retirement savings – take them. Participate in the plan. Take the matching benefits. Accumulate the savings. Maximize this benefit as much as you can, both for tax purposes and for your future-self purposes. $20,500 is the maximum amount you (the human) can contribute to your own retirement this year, so save as much of that as possible through your job (especially if there is matching money).

As an Individual

If you don’t have a job that offers retirement benefits (or if you’ve already maxed them out), you can contribute up to $6,000 to an Individual Retirement Account – either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. If you need or want tax benefits now (say, because you have a lot of self-employment income), a Traditional IRA is a good option. If you don’t need or want the tax benefits (say, because you are in a very low-income tax bracket or because you have already maxed out your own retirement contribution for the year), a Roth IRA is probably a good option.

Either IRA option will allow you to contribute $6,000 to your retirement. Hooray!

Through Your Business

If you are able to contribute more than $6,000 to your retirement, you’ll want to think about making a contribution through your business. You can do this on top of individual IRA contributions as long as you stay under the overall maximum limits for the year. (If you are someone who is comfortable contributing $6,000, but no more, don’t worry about these business retirement plans yet. Come back to them in a few more years.)

The most common business retirement plans are Solo 401(k)s and SEP-IRAs. A Solo 401(k) allows you to contribute up to $20,500 (the individual contribution) plus 25% of your net earnings from the business. The SEP-IRA allows you to contribute 25% of your net earnings from the business. A Solo 401(k) will generally get you to a higher contribution number, but the plans are more complex and expensive to administer.

The overall contribution limit for 2022 (counting your contribution and an employer’s contribution) is $61,000. Someone who is 50 or older can increase this limit by $6,500 for 2022.

Retirement Recap

Because we are approaching the end of 2022, you may have a better sense of how much you may be able to save for the year. So why not revisit those retirement contributions so you can plan for them now? Here are some things to know, do, and believe as you plan those contributions:

Know: What plans you have and what plans you want to have for 2022, plus what you think you’ll be able to contribute.

Do: Make your payroll contributions, set up a self-employment plan, and/or set aside money to transfer to your IRA, depending on what makes sense for you.

Believe: Setting aside some money now for your future self is not a bad idea, even if you never want to stop making work.


What We’re Doing

This month is a busy one with seven events on the calendar – Some in person (Akron! Little Rock!) and some online. The coaching programs through JMF, Pew, and YoungArts are in full swing, so our days are full of creative conversations with incredible folks.

What We’re Talking About

We’re talking about retirement, of course, even though it may feel a bit premature to some folks. At this point, though, there is still plenty of time left in the year to set up those IRAs and more complex self-employment plans. The end of the year will be here before you know it!


If you’d like to chat with me to answer your own questions, feel free to find a time that works with your schedule.



“Contribute” has such a positive connotation… That’s the spirit I’d like you to have as you think about making retirement contributions. They aren’t depleting other things you might do. They aren’t taking away from what you’re doing now. They really are contributing to your own future. And I really love that for you.

Until next month,


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Arts & Numbers

You don’t have to do this alone. Arts & Numbers is a comprehensive financial guide for creative individuals… and anyone else with a passion for something other than accounting and finance. This book aims to provide basic information on finance and financial matters for creative entrepreneurs to take ownership of their financial situations, thus ensuring their long-term success, creative and otherwise.

Written in short story form with fictional anecdotes supporting the financial advice, Arts & Numbers promises to be an easy and useful read for creative entrepreneurs at any stage.

Check it Out