Get Started: Retirement saving, contracting help

SELF-EMPLOYED, NOT SAVING

Most self-employed people aren't regularly putting money aside for retirement even though they expect to support themselves with their savings when they stop working. That's the finding of a survey of self-employed people released by the financial services company TD Ameritrade.

Forty percent of the 1,507 people surveyed said they aren't regularly saving, and 28 percent said they're currently not saving at all. But nearly 60 percent say savings will fund their retirement, while 38 percent expect an individual retirement account to support them.

Many self-employed people also haven't thought about how much money they'll need for retirement. Only 30 percent have a specific savings goal. The median amount those people want to save is $1 million.

One reason why self-employed people may have trouble saving is that their income can be less predictable than that of people who work for someone else. More than 60 percent of the self-employed said unpredictable income is their biggest challenge.

"For entrepreneurs there needs to be a balance between investing in the business today and investing in their future financial well-being," said Lule Demmissie, managing director of retirement at TD Ameritrade. "When you're self-employed the temptation is to think that the business will grow enough that you won't need to save today. But, you don't know when the next payout is coming...Having a retirement plan in place with regular saving is doubly important."

FEDERAL CONTRACTING HELP

The Small Business Administration plans a two-part online seminar to help small businesses learn about federal contract opportunities available to them in economically distressed areas. The seminars will explain the SBA's Historically Underutilized Business Zone program, also known as HUBZone. Under the program, small businesses can be certified in hopes of getting a competitive advantage in the bidding process for contracts. In the 2012 fiscal year, HUBZone companies received $8 billion in federal contracts, according to the SBA.

The HUBZone program is intended to help spur job growth, capital investment and economic development in distressed areas.

The first seminar will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The second will be Tuesday, Dec. 17. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/mblvksf

Both seminars will be archived on YouTube.

SCORE SEMINAR

SCORE plans an online seminar to help entrepreneurs decide how to structure their businesses — as corporations or limited liability companies. The seminar will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. You can learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/lepaefh

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