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Survey says these are the best things about freelancing

The average freelancer aims to retire at 58 years old.

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More than half (52%) of freelance workers are expected to remain part of the gig economy — opting out of corporate jobs — until they retire, a new study shows.

A recent survey of 2,000 gig workers found that while three in four (75%) are confident their ongoing gig will help them reach their retirement savings goal, 54% also feel more pressure than ever to have a certain amount of money saved up before they retire.

Seventy-four percent are also saving differently due to the pandemic and recession. Currently, freelancers are spending or saving on mental health days (42%) and life insurance (37%) over buying or renting a car (27%) and travel (25%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Everly, LLC, the survey also discovered the top three things people love about freelancing — freedom of choice for the projects they work on (43%), flexible hours (41%) and being their own boss (40%).

As for their biggest pet peeves, respondents cited difficulty building vacation time into their schedule (42%), followed by clients that don’t always pay or pay on time (40%) and paying for health benefits (38%).

Seven in 10 (70%) respondents said they have changed their financial goals as they’ve gotten older, with 72% spending more money on longer-lasting things, and 64% cutting back on non-essentials.

This approach can allow gig workers to tackle some of their biggest expenses, among which are a computer, including accessories and maintenance costs (28%), personal expenses such as clothes and a gym membership (27%), health benefits (25%) and a professional website (25%).

The average freelancer aims to retire at 58 years old and anticipates needing $353,063 for retirement.

“Along with all the perks freelancing offers, one of the challenges is figuring out health benefits, retirement, and life insurance on your own,” said Karna Trautman, Chief Innovation Officer at Everly. “When choosing the right type of life insurance, you may want to consider an affordable cash accumulation policy that has flexible payments and a death benefit of five to 10 times your total expenses.”

While 58% of freelancers said they have health insurance, this varied by industry, with hospitality (78%) and architecture gig workers (76%) more likely to be covered than those working in education (64%) and healthcare (61%).

Of those who don’t have health insurance, 48% haven’t taken proper care of their health because they can’t afford to.

At the same time, 74% said they would switch to a full-time permanent role if the right opportunity presented itself, such as the pay, industry or job location aligning with their expectations. That includes the majority (88%) of freelancers with 4–5 dependents.

“Our research shows only 26% feel ‘very confident’ in their family or loved ones’ ability to continue to pay for expenses in the event they lose their income. Universal life insurance can help provide a safety net, as well as cover unforeseen expenses such as medical bills,” Trautman added.

BEST THINGS ABOUT FREELANCING

  • Freedom to choose the projects I want to work on - 43%
  • Flexible hours - 41%
  • Being my own boss - 40%
  • Flexible location - 39%
  • More room for creativity - 38%
  • Not having to worry about unpaid overtime - 35%

WORST THINGS ABOUT FREELANCING

  • Difficulty building vacation time into my schedule - 42%
  • Clients that don’t always pay or pay on time - 40%
  • Paying for health benefits - 38%
  • Difficulty finding regular gigs - 37%
  • Doing my taxes - 36%
  • Feelings of isolation - 34%

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 freelancers was commissioned by Everly, LLC between August 26 and August 31, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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