Well… you know what, random banker that I made up just 5 seconds ago?? You can go suck a lemon! Because I happen to know that artists have everything it takes to be amazing, not only at money, but at personal finance in general.
A former teacher of mine would always remind me that before diving into all the things that you feel terrible at… you have to remember what makes you great. That way you always start the work from a place of strength, rather than a place of weakness.
We, in the artistic business, have so many strengths that we forget about. Or at least we forget how easily they can apply to other, non artistic, parts of our lives.
Seriously… it doesn’t take much digging to find that the same skills that make you successful at your chosen art form, are the ones that can make you successful in your own finances.
Here’s why Artists should be amazing at Personal Finance:
This is the number one, above all else, most important thing. Personal finance is PERSONAL. That’s true for everybody, but for the rest of the world (tycoons, high powered executives, people who work at flower shops) it’s a little easier to get by with a few standard rules: automated savings, pay yourself first, and other standard personal finance advice.
Figuring out YOUR money: with the variable income, high costs, and crazy tax rules, requires a veritable doctoral degree in creativity.
But wait… you’re in luck… you ACTUALLY have a degree like that! Take that Uncle Jerry! But seriously, don’t worry about the specific rules. Yes, there are a ton of things to learn, but anybody can do that. It’s about colouring outside the lines, and finding new ways to make the old models work for you.
The less fun flip side. But let’s be real! There’s no way that anyone became a serious artist without developing some serious discipline along the way. Your finances just need some of that ‘I’m-going-to-figure-out-how-to-play-this-technical-passage-if-it’s-the-last-thing-I-do’ mojo.
There are some parts of personal finance that aren’t going to be fun, but I guarantee you that there are parts of your artistic journey that aren’t fun for you either (remember how auditioning is the worst, or that you hate playing long tones?). You do them because you understand the greater benefits. So, all we have to do is convince you of the benefits of making your money work for you and you’re golden!
3. Poverty Experience:
You already know how to cut back. I’m sure there was a time when you lived on nothing. At one point living in La Boheme style seemed like the dream. And then I lived in an apartment with no heat during one long Canadian Winter. It wasn’t fun at all… the towels never dried and I was always sick. I don’t want that life… and I’m certainly not asking you to live in a hole, but we can take some of that “suffer for your art” thing and mold it in to specifically targeted frugality; Cutting back on the little things that you don’t really care about so that you can channel resources in to the things that you do.
The arts community is awesome. A community can fulfill the needs of an individual so much more easily than one person can. I’m sure you’ve seen it before (every time you need somewhere to stay in New York), and it can make all the difference.
When you’re living-on-less it’s tough to do it all on your own. Luckily you don’t have to.
I’ve found my fellow artists to be a group that always helps weather the storm: a couch to sleep on, a crust of bread to gnaw on, or most importantly a cold beer at the end of a terrible day.
But they’re not just there to help you survive. All of these problems you’re trying to figure out, variable income, paying the bills, the dream of home ownership… other artists have figured it out. And they’ve done it in amazing, creative ways. Don’t be afraid to ask.
The more we talk about what works and what doesn’t, the further ahead all of us will be!
UNLEASH THE PASSION (umm…. It’s a Pirates of the Caribbean reference…like Kraken… no? … okay….).
Your greatest weapon. You don’t have to be passionate about personal finance, but personal finance doesn’t work unless it’s fuelling something that you DO feel passionately about. I expect that as an artist there is something that drives you, and that’s what gets you through the rest of it (the aforementioned long tones). It’s the same for other areas of your life.
Once you find the values that get you pumped up, you can channel that passion through all the mundane, boring financial stuff to whatever the end goal might be. Decide what that is and pursue it, passionately.
So. All you passionate, creative, disciplined, frugal members of our wonderful community, turns out ol’ lemon-lips was wrong. And so is that voice in your head telling you that you can’t. Not only is this something you CAN do, it’s something you have all the skills to really be awesome at.
So let’s get started.