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Real Stories - Chapter 6

Tim Bouchard started his own graphics and web design company to gain more creative control and build closer relationships with his clients. With that new control, however, came new financial responsibilities - such as, finding new business, traveling to clients, and buying equipment and office supplies.

Fortunately, Tim is on the right track. He has a solid business plan, money set aside for taxes and expenses, and meticulous records. Tim even joined the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, which provides benefits to small business owners in the area.

Tim Bouchard

Tim Bouchard owns his own graphics and web design firm in Buffalo, New York. Working as an independent contractor, Tim has to be responsible for managing his expenses and providing for his financial future.

What the Experts Say

"If you don't have employer-provided health insurance, one thing you can do for yourself is buy some kind of policy that takes care of you in a catastrophe."

Ron Lieber, The New York Times


"If you don't have a job that gives you benefits, see if there's some organization you can join."

Beth Kobliner, Financial Author


"It's a pay-as-you-go tax system, meaning the government wants their money as you earn your money. If you have not paid enough into the tax system based on your income, you are penalized for that."


"The IRS does not play. They will come after you, and the penalties for not paying are stiff."

Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post

Did you know?

If you are self-employed:

  • Save 30% of your income for taxes.
  • Save 15% of your income for business expenses and health insurance.

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Tools & Resources

Small Business Owners

Learn more about the thought and planning that goes into starting a small business from Your Money Counts®.

Check it out

Decoding Your Paycheck

Look at a sample paycheck to see how taxes, deductions, and contributions are handled.

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Plan With a Professional

Learn how a trained professional can help you make the right financial decisions.

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The Entrepreneur Challenge

Answer these fun questions to see if you have what it takes to start your own business.

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How Taxes Work

Learn about withholding your income and filing your tax return.

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Choosing a Financial Advisor

Here are nine important questions to ask before you hire a personal finance advisor.

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Classroom Ideas: Chapter 6

Find fun activities to help your students discover the rewards and challenges of being their own boss.

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Words to Know: Chapter 6

Learn how to talk dollars and cents with this list of financial terms.

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Young Money Magazine: Special Edition Guide from Your Life, Your Money

See why so many people like working for themselves - and get advice right from the budding entrepreneurs.

Check it out

Take Action

Now is the time to take charge of your personal finances. Here are three easy ways to work and live like a freelancer:

  1. Devise a plan before you start your business.
  2. Keep track of your business expenses for taxes.
  3. Be prepared to take care of your own benefits.