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TD Ameritrade Self-Employment And Retirement Survey, November 2013 (Graphic: TD Ameritrade).

Being self-employed means more control over your working life, but it also means taking the reins on your retirement planning. While the traditionally employed are being enrolled in company-sponsored 401(k)s with regular automatic contributions, nearly 70 percent of entrepreneurs, contractors and the like are often not saving for retirement on a regular basis – if at all – according to a new survey of self-employed Americans released by TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE:AMTD).

TD Ameritrade’s Self-Employment and Retirement Survey found that while many self-employed people expect their savings to fund their retirement, 40 percent aren’t saving regularly and 28 percent currently aren’t saving at all. That’s drastically more than the number of traditionally employed people who do not save regularly (12%) or at all (10%). Most surprisingly, 29 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of Generation Y who are self-employed say they currently do not save for retirement.

Reports indicate that the number of self-employed jobs in the US have increased more than 14 percent since 2001. Today, more than 10 million Americans call themselves the boss. 1 Entrepreneurism is an important piece of this country’s economy and has long been viewed as the traditional means to creating wealth. But, the survey findings beg the question: are self-employed people betting too much on the future?

“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 and you also don’t want to forfeit the power of tax-free compounded growth in vehicles like an IRA. Having a retirement plan in place with regular saving is doubly important.”

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