SNAP Wedding Photography Conference and Workshops
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Freelance & Fancy Free: how to manage your finances

Words by Miss Lolly and images by Camera Hannah

Turning freelance or setting up as a one man band can often be initiated by dreams of freedom, choice and potentially more money.  However, I often find when talking to clients, that it leads to more work, fluctuating pay and the loss of potentially great work benefits.

Here are a few tips that I give my clients to help with the rollercoaster:

1) Budget Well – It is important that you know EXACTLY what you need to spend annually. Don’t forget holidays, takeaways, fun and possibly a little extravagance every now and again. Once you have worked this out make sure you add some tax on the top to work out your gross income need. If you aren’t sure ask your accountant.

Let’s say this figure is £60,000 per annum, you know you need £5,000 per annum in fees each month to live your life. If you need a budget template you can download one from


2) Don’t Forget Your Future Self – yes this is retirement!! It is really important this you start thinking about this period of your life as early as possible. Will you still work but perhaps part time? What age do you want to be working because you love what you do rather than you need the money? How much will you spend then when you are on a fulltime holiday?

People are often scared by the work pension and retirement doesn’t have to be all about pensions but you need to know what you need and how you are going to get it. If you do decide to go 100% down the pension route, a general rule of thumb is that you take your age, divide it by 2 and this is the minimum percentage you need to be saving each month as  a percentage of your salary. Scary!! For example, if I am 40, I need to save 20% of my income for retirement.

Yes, that's me, SNAP's founder up there in the picture.  No I do not have my finances sorted so I need Miss Lolly as much as you do. 

Yes, that's me, SNAP's founder up there in the picture.  No I do not have my finances sorted so I need Miss Lolly as much as you do. 

3) Bomb & Bullet Proof – being employed by a big company may come with lots of additional benefits that are taken for granted. For example, its not uncommon to have a good amount of life cover, sick pay and also private medical insurance. This all creates a nice safety net should anything not go to plan. You need to create this benefits package for yourself. It can be something that you build on gradually and often people are surprised by how little some insurances cost.

4) Have A Five Year Financial Plan – for some people this is very detailed and for others it can be a vague idea. I like to break it down into property, family and big expenses. Property wise, do you need to move in the next 5 years? If so you need to start thinking about it now.

Are your accounts in good shape to achieve what you want? Perhaps you would like to have a child or pay for school fees? Or one that I love to help clients with is planning a sabbatical!

All these decisions need planning and the sooner I am able to put the plan in place, the more likely it is to happen.

Miss Lolly will be joining us at SNAP 2017 to tell you all about financial management of pensions, insurance and savings.  She'll also be offering 121 health checks so you can get advice on your specific circumstances.