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This is a truncated version of the EFA Chicagoland Chapter News. If you would like to read the full e-newsletter, visit the archive, where you can also subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox monthly.


  • PIN It. In an effort to combat identity theft, the IRS introduced six-digit Identity Protection PINs to help prevent someone else from electronically filing a tax return using your SSN or ITIN. The caveat: It’s an opt-in program, and you have to request an IP PIN yourself.
  • Words Words Words. Noting that words “shape how we understand the world, each other, and ourselves,” the Radical Copy Editor invites all to be aware of how language impacts our lives.
  • Quarterly Grants. AARP and the National Association for the Self-Employed have teamed up to offer $4,000 grants to minority business owners who are 45 years old or older. The Growth Grants Program will issue three quarterly grants intended to foster business growth. For details, see the NASE website.


Pay Yourself First, and the Rest Will Follow

Our August meeting was an EFA-wide event co-hosted by the EFA’s Chicagoland and New Mexico chapters. Ruby Money’s Angie Moody covered using percentages to pay yourself first and to set aside tax and retirement money, paying self-employed (SE) taxes, and choosing which retirement accounts work best for the self-employed. She and other attendees also provided the following helpful resources in the chat:

  • EFTPS. While Ruby Money allows you to automate paying quarterly SE taxes through the app, you can manually schedule estimated payments through the Treasury Department’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Warning: It’s a government site and not terribly user friendly. Your state likely also has a site you can schedule your quarterly SE tax payments through.
  • Income Tax Calculator. Provided by TaxAct, this online income tax calculator can help you estimate your tax liability. Other calculators, including an SE tax calculator, are also available on the site.
  • QuickBooks. Intuit offers both the full-blown QuickBooks and QuickBooks SE for accounting and bookkeeping.
  • Ruby Money. Check them out on their website and Instagram. They even created a special landing page just for the EFA at www.rubymoney.us/efa.
  • SE Tax Calendar. Created by Ruby Money, you can subscribe to the Self-Employed Tax Calendar to keep apprised of important SE tax deadlines.
  • SEP Calculator. Provided by Ruby Money, this tool calculates how much you can put away for retirement based on your expected or real income.
  • Wave. Another accounting app, Wave was recommended as being much simpler and easier to use than other options.
  • Women’s Business Centers. From the Small Business Administration website: WBCs “are a part a national network of entrepreneurship centers throughout the United States and its territories, which are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses.” Find your local WBC here.

To learn more about setting up separate accounts and using percentages to sock away money, check out The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan. The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money by Ilise Benun is also a good read, though it’s more about changing your money mindset.

And if you’re ready to delve deeper into money issues, the New York Public Library’s Thomas Yoseloff Business Center offers several free online classes throughout the year, including the following coming up in September:


For nationwide (and some worldwide) media- and publishing-related conferences, webinars, and other events of interest to self-employed editorial freelancers, see the Media Types Omnicalendar.