#154: How to Create Your Own Benefits Package, with Miranda Marquit

Today’s guest is Miranda Marquit. She lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Miranda has been writing and podcasting about money on a freelance basis since 2006. Her work has appeared in various media, including CNBC, NPR, Forbes, and TIME. 

She has a background in journalism and enjoys telling stories about finances and creating your own financial journey. Miranda has created a successful six-figure freelance career and recently released the second edition of her book about freelancing, “Confessions of a Professional Blogger.” She also developed a freelance writing course with two other successful freelancers, available on Gumroad. 

Another freelancer recommended Miranda for the show and when I was doing a bit of research, I came across this blog post she had written about creating your own benefits package as a freelancer — things like health insurance, retirement and paid time off. 

I liked how she framed that as a “benefits package.” I think that framing can help us start to plan for these types of things and put them all together into one package, not just randomly think about retirement and take vacations whenever. 

As a financial writer, Miranda is also quite knowledgeable about these areas, and in this episode, she dives into the details of various benefits. 

In this episode, Miranda talks about:

  • When she began thinking of her freelancing as a business. 
  • Why you should create your own benefits package as a solo business owner. 
  • How to start to create a benefits package: look at your income and list the most important benefits you need to cover right now.
  • You might not be able to have a full benefits package right now, but start to build one. 
  • Start with health insurance (in the U.S. in particular). 
  • Consider using a health savings account (HSA) — which provides a triple tax savings.
  • Also consider: short-term and long-term disability. Disability coverage can be expensive, but see if your bank has any available plans or build your own “disability fund” or “emergency fund” as a savings account. 
  • Why you need life insurance. 
  • Know ahead of time what community resources are available if you need help. 
  • Make retirement planning a priority and start now if you haven’t already. Even putting away $10 a week can add up. 
  • Retirement options:
    • Roth IRA (pay taxes now, no taxes when you withdraw the money)
    • IRA and SEP IRA (deposit money now pre-tax, pay taxes when you withdraw money in retirement)
  • Plan ahead for child care needs.
  • Include vacation days in your benefits package (plan annually and in each quarter).  
  • Build in deadline buffers, which can be helpful when you need to take a sick day. 
  • Building good relationships with clients and always hitting deadlines makes it easier to ask for deadline extensions when you’re having an emergency. 

Biz Bite: Outsource tasks


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