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Retirement savings for freelancers: What you need to know

  • Retirement Saving for Freelancers
  • by Michelle Waitzman

    When you’re self-employed, saving for retirement is anything but simple. There’s no employee pension, no group RRSPs, and no steady paycheque to count on. I sat down with Aldwin Chin, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Toronto, to get his insights on how to save for retirement as a freelancer. This is a very general overview, but you can use the links at the end of the article to find more information.

    How much of my income should I be saving?

    You need to prioritize your money to figure out how much you can and should save. Most freelancers should allocate their income like this:

    1. Pay for your current living and business expenses.
    2. Save three to six months’ living expenses in case of emergency or lack of work.
    3. Anything that’s left should go into long-term savings and investments for retirement or for other major expenses.

    (more…)

    How to write a successful academic grant application

    Grant Writing

    Editors can wear many hats. Sara Scharf dons a grant-writing hat, especially in the fall. She sees a great many applications and she has a few tips, which she has kindly given BoldFace permission to share from her blog.

     

    I’ve been editing a lot of grant applications lately. To borrow from Tolstoy, good grant applications all have several things in common, but there are many, many different ways for grant applications to be bad. Here are some tips to help you succeed in applying for grants.

    The number one thing that successful grant applications have in common is that they follow the directions. Most granting agencies have many applicants for a limited pool of resources. Don’t let your application get screened out early for failing to follow directions. It’s about respect: if you can’t even be bothered to submit what the instructions call for, the reviewers will have less reason to believe that you’ll use the grant money appropriately. Beyond showing basic respect by following the directions, be kind to your reviewers. Make your application easy to read and easy to understand so they will focus on your content. Here’s how:

    Layout tips

    Even if there is no minimum font size specified, use a font size of at least 10 points – even in figures – to make your text easy to read. Don’t play with the spacing, margins, line height or paper size, either. Reviewers see many applications and will notice when something about the layout is unusual. Giving reviewers more to read when they’re already swamped with applications is not a way to stay on their good side. But there are still ways to use the space you have to maximum effect.

    All grant applications have limits of some kind on how much writing should go in each section. Page limits and word limits are pretty unambiguous. Character limits usually crop up when submission through specific types of digital forms is required. Many of these forms count spaces as characters. Maximize the amount of text available by using only one space between sentences. (Two spaces between sentences is a hangover from the days of typewriters and not a habit that holds up well now). Make sure there are no extra spaces by searching for and replacing “ ” (two spaces, no quotation marks) with a single space. Check that there are no stray spaces at the end of paragraphs. (more…)

    Seminar: Taxes for freelancers

    Taxes can be like monsters under your bed: they’re scary because you don’t know what lurks there. This seminar takes the fear away by taking the mystery away. In three entertaining hours, you’ll learn how to reduce your tax bill and keep the Canada Revenue Agency happy at the same time. Learn which expenses are allowed, what it means to incorporate or register for the GST/HST, and how to avoid the pitfalls that get the CRA steamed.

    We’ll cover the advantages and responsibilities that come with being a freelancer and running your own business. By the end of this seminar, you’ll feel confident about your taxes, and, with the worry off your mind, you’ll be ready to devote more of your mental energy to what you do best: your work! (more…)

    Editors Canada call for submissions

    Contract
    Making contact with a potential client is good, getting a potential client to sign a contract is better. Do you have a method you use in order to ensure that the potential client you make contact with becomes a client you contract with?

    Editors Canada wants to hear about the tips and tricks you use to close the deal with a potential client. The submissions we receive will be included in the first in a series of editing-related chapbooks from Editors Canada, this one entitled From First Contact to Signed Contract.

    We’re looking for submissions of 500–700 words by March 1, 2017. So, submit your tips to Michael Bedford and encourage your colleagues to submit as well so that you can become an important part of this milestone publication from Editors Canada.