Illustration of passenger hailing a carsharing service using a phone

3 steps for saving in the gig economy

You drop off a businesswoman at work with Uber. You give a young couple visiting New York City for the first time the perfect place to stay with Airbnb. You help an elderly neighbor install a new ceiling fan with Task Rabbit. And you deliver groceries to a couple with a new baby with Instacart. Or perhaps you works 10 to 20 hours a week for a start-up or other business.

You’re one of the growing share of Americans earning a living in the gig economy. The humans that power these services rose to 16% in 2015 from 10 percent a decade earlier.

The gig economy offers workers flexibility and access to many employment opportunities. But without a predictable paycheck or employer-sponsored savings or health coverage, self-employed workers are less likely to save. In fact, a survey found that a majority of self-employed workers say they are behind in retirement savings, and that most do not have a specific savings goal.

Preparing for your future, an emergency, or a goal such as purchasing a new home doesn’t need to be difficult, but you do need to make it a priority.

Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. So take the pledge to start saving, and use these tips to get started.

Step 1:  Save automatically

The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. An advantage to the high-tech gig economy is that as a rule, most paychecks are directly deposited into the workers’ bank accounts. Ask the company you work with if you can split your paychecks into two different accounts – checking and savings. Or have your bank or credit union automatically transfer money into your savings each month. Not only are you more likely to put money in savings this way, you’re also less likely to spend it.

Step 2: Build an emergency fund

An emergency savings fund consists of a small amount of money, usually in a savings account, that you do not have easy access to. An emergency fund is especially important for workers without a steady paycheck, because it will cover unexpected and unavoidable expenses like a period of unemployment or a repair to a car that’s needed to get to work. By having an emergency fund, you’ll be able to pay these types of expenses without getting into (more) debt.

A good rule of thumb is to set an initial goal of $500. Learn more about why you should start saving for emergencies and where to keep emergency savings

Step 3: Open a retirement account

You do not need an employer-sponsored account to save for retirement and receive tax benefits. Your can open an Individual Retirement Account (or IRAs).

If you are age 49 or younger, you can contribute $5,500 each year to an IRA. The limit increases to $6,500 if you are age 50 or older. There are two main types of IRA – traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. In addition, those who are self-employed can put money in a SEP-IRA. Each has its own set of rules and offers different tax benefits. This article breaks down the difference and can help you figure out which is best for you.


3 steps for saving in the #gigeconomy: http://bit.ly/25lZ5y7 v/ @AmericaSaves #savings
Tweet this now


Need motivation to save? Let America Saves help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn’t stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.

Take the pledge.

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 21, 2013

    Still need a #gift idea? Here are some that will help others reduce #debt and #save more. http://ow.ly/r3ZaT 

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Starting Over

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Until last summer, Michael Lindman spent money freely. “I was a union truck driver for 35 years and had a good income,” said Lindman. “I owned my own home, saved a little, and tried to live within my own budget. You always think there’s going to be that much coming in, but things can change in a split second.”

Read more...

Don’t Laugh at Saving Spare Change

Written by | May 7, 2019

Virginia Saves saver, Brittany, decided to start saving again when she became a single mother. She thinks many women, and men, can relate. According to Brittany, “You work out a financial plan with a significant other, you get married and/or have children, you live together and pay bills. However, for one reason or another, life throws you a curve ball and changes the whole scenario. It is so important for a single person, especially a single parent, to have control over their own finances. We have to learn to use what we currently have, and make our paycheck last, to ensure our children and ourselves, are healthy and in a good place. America Saves emails have served as that voice, whispering to me, "It's okay! Day by day, you CAN save and you CAN take care of yourself and your children.”

Brittany’s #1 savings tip: Don't laugh at saving spare change, or an extra dollar from a paycheck. These small efforts are like all of the streams into a sea of water.

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | November 7, 2014

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving