Tax & admin 13 March 2019

I’m self-employed, what can I do to financially prepare for Brexit?

brexit
Will the UK leave the EU on 29 March?

As Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement sees its second defeat in the House of Commons, the country appears no closer to clarifying its immediate future. Vivek Madlani, CEO and co-founder of financial planning app Multiply, helps self-employed workers prepare for every eventuality.

Lots of questions are still unanswered as we approach Brexit, so it’s understandable that many of us are feeling uneasy about our finances, and this is particularly true if you’re self-employed.

Though the majority of MPs are against the idea, a no deal scenario is still a possibility and one that isn’t welcomed by freelancers. IPSE found that 81% of its members were against a ‘no deal’ style Brexit.

With no decision set in stone here are some simple steps you can take now to help you feel more financially secure and stable in a seemingly unstable time.

Assess your current client base

If you haven’t already, now is the time to take a closer look at your current client roster to see how they might be affected by Brexit and how this, in turn, might alter your role working for them.

Running a SWOT analysis on each is a good place to start. This type of analysis involves looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to a specific scenario to help you determine the risks and rewards for, in this case, continuing your relationship with that company.

Once you’ve done this it’s worth having an open conversation with any of the companies you might be worried about. You can ask them where they think you stand in terms of working for them going forward, it’ll show them you’re on top of everything and gives you the information you need to plan long term.

Get your emergency fund in place

When the future of the country’s finances is uncertain, one of the best things you can do to bring certainty to your own financial situation is to build your emergency fund. We advise you have around six months’ worth of earnings set aside, that way if you find yourself with less work than usual, or an unexpected cost to cover, you have a cushion to fall back on and won’t find yourself left high and dry.

Make sure to look around for the best rate savings account, this might not necessarily be your current account provider. Take the time to shop around and find yourself the best deal. At this time, my top recommendations are:

Diversify your investment portfolio

No one really knows what Brexit will mean for the stock market yet, so it’s best to hedge your bets and spread your money between UK and overseas investments.

It’s also best to buy different types of investments such as company shares, commercial property, government and corporate bonds, plus gold. By taking these steps you can ensure you don’t have all your eggs in one basket and avoid leaving yourself exposed should one market take a turn. If you’re not sure where to start, places like The Money Advice Service and Fidelity can give you a good overview of the options out there.

Prioritise your pension

Though you may be focused on the immediate impact of Brexit on your finances, it’s important to think long term and ahead to your retirement as well. The possibility of a squeeze on taxes could affect the ability of the government to pay for the pensions “triple lock”, which could see the value of your state pension stagnate, instead of benefitting from the guaranteed increase in line with inflation each year.

We know that self-employed workers have a hard time in comparison to their employed peers when it comes to pensions, in fact our research shows that 80% of you agree it’s harder to plan for retirement and half don’t yet have a pension pot.

So put yourself in the best position and ensure you’re contributing as often as possible. We know fluctuating income can be a barrier to making pension contributions, so take advantage of technology that can work out contributions based on your income each month.

Vivek Madlani is CEO and co-founder of Multiply

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