Due Designer Guide

Become a better designer

Design the future you deserve
Become a freelancer

Life after work starts here

Due provides a range of retirement options that help designers draw up their futures. We keep it simple: save each month and earn 3%, with no hidden fees, all the way to your retirement.

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Stay between the lines

Retirement pots should grow at a steady rate. Due lets you watch your savings build month by month. Lay out your future and keep your contributions on track.

What is a retirement plan for designers?

At Due, we know that design life can be unpredictable. Clients—and their demands—change. 

 

Projects come and projects go. Our retirement plan for designers keeps one thing certain. Your contributions will grow at the same rate whatever else is happening on your drawing board. 

 

You can adjust your contributions to match demand. But you’ll always get a 3% interest rate until you retire.

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Taxes made simple

Design work should be creative. Bookkeeping? Not so much. Due’s retirement plans make managing your taxes easier.

 

Deduct your contributions and keep more of your money when you’re ready to put down the stylus.

Why choose Due for your retirement fund?

Due gives you control of your retirement. Whether you’re employed and making the most of a 401(k) plan or a freelance designer with only your own savings to fall back on, you should have your own retirement fund. Due gives you an easy, predictable way to put money aside for your retirement.

 

Applying for an account is free and takes about two minutes. In less than the time it takes to draw an outline, your retirement plan can be up and running.

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State of the Designing Community

Designing is not just a U.S. phenomenon, but is now spreading around the world
Independent Contractors: 40% of the total design workforce, or 21.1 million professionals, do not have an employer and work on a project-by-project basis.
Temporary Workers: 10% of the total design workforce, or 5.5 million professionals, have a single employer, client, or project where their status is considered temporary.
Moonlighters: 27% of the total design workforce, or 14.3 million professionals, have a primary job but do design work on the side.
Designing Business Owners: 5% of the total design workforce, or 2.8 million professionals, see themselves as a designer, but also a business owner, such as a graphic designer who hires a team of designers and creates a virtual agency but still sees themselves as a designer.
Diversified Workers: 18% of the total design workforce, or 9.3 million professionals, combine a part-time traditional position with design work.
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Applying for an account is free and
takes less than 2 minutes

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BECOMING A

DESIGNER

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for graphic designers from 2012-2022 is expected to grow by 7% – which is slower than the average of other occupations. Does that mean that the profession is declining?

 

Not necessarily.

 

It means the industry faces tough competition. That isn’t an excuse for you to not pursue a career in design. Instead, this is an opportunity for you to learn the skills and insights to become a leading designer that clients and companies will want to hire.

 

If that sounds like something you want to explore, then check out this handy guide on becoming a designer. We’ll show you where to learn to become a designer and freelancing secrets that while give you a competitive advantage.

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Designer FAQs

How much should a designer save each month for their retirement?

The best answer is: “as much as possible.” If you’re salaried and have a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, you should contribute enough to take all of those contributions. Freelance designers won’t have matching contributions but they should aim to save enough to be able to live on 4% of their total savings one day with help from Social Security.

Calculate the amount you think you’ll need to live on each year, deduct your expected annual Social Security earnings, and multiply by 25. That’s your target.

What retirement funds best suit designers?

Retirement funds come in a variety of different forms, with different benefits and different advantages. At Due, we offer annuities, pensions, and 401(k) plans. While 401(k) plans are best used by employers looking for a way to help their employees, there are versions available for self-employed designers and for designers who take work on the side. Annuities let designers swap a monthly contribution or a lump sum for a monthly payment in the future. Pensions give a fixed return.

All of those plans will suit a designer, whether they’re salaried, freelance, or partly self-employed.

When should a designer retire?

Design work can be rewarding and enjoyable. It might well be something you want to continue doing long after you’ve left your employer and ditched the nine-to-five. You might want to retire early because you plan to sell your designs part-time and supplement a fixed income.

But the age at which you retire will affect the size of your distributions.

Any distributions taken before the age of 59.5, will come with a penalty. Delaying Social Security after the age of 62 adds 8% each year until you start receiving payments at the age of 70. At the age of 70.5, you must start receiving distributions from any pre-tax retirement plans.

The right age for you to retire is up to you. It will depend on how much you want to live on, and how much of your own design work, if any, you want to continue doing after retirement.

My design income is variable. Can I adjust my contributions?
Yes! You’re in charge. We understand that if you’re taking freelance work or selling your own designs, your income will vary. At Due, you can reduce your contributions if the gigs or sales fall then bump them up again when projects and sales grow. Just make sure that you check your account to stay on track towards your retirement goal.
Can I contribute lump sums to my retirement fund?
Sure. If you take on a big design job that boosts your income one month, or if you sell a design for a large amount, you can always put some of that money into your Due retirement fund. You’ll defer the taxes and move faster towards your retirement target.
Will I be able to keep working as a designer after I’ve retired?

If you want to continue designing after you’ve retired, you are of course free to do so. But make sure that you’re in a position to decide whether you want to work and how much you want to work. Your decision should be one you make out of passion and desire, not out of need. Save now. Save regularly. Earn that 3% interest rate. Then decide how much you want to continue designing—or not!

Is $300,000 enough to retire in my fifties?
Only if you’re going keep designing part-time. You can’t take Social Security until you’re 62, and if you take 4% of your fund in distributions each year, you’ll have an annual income of just $12,000 a year. You’re still going to have to put in a lot of design work each week.
Are designers good at saving?

No one is good at saving! The average American family has about $40,000 in liquid savings. Between the ages of 55 and 64, those savings rise to $57,200, and reach $67,700 between 65 and 74. People with higher education tend to save much more but designers can struggle depending on the type of designs they produce and the way they work.

Saving for the future means taking control, creating a habit, and sticking to it.

Why should I use a retirement fund instead of a savings plan?
A savings account at a bank will now barely pay enough to beat inflation. It’s unlikely to pay enough to compound and turn into a pot large enough to pay for your retirement. Contributions to retirement funds are also tax-deferred. You can make your contributions with pre-tax dollars and pay no tax until you retire.