kermit-70115_1280January is over.

How did that even happen?

No matter how many trips to the gym you missed, or other resolutions that you haven’t quite gotten to… it is indeed finished.

And I feel the need to do a bit of a recap.

A lot of personal finance blogs do monthly net worth updates, but that’s not something that I’m really interested in.

Of course, I’m endlessly fascinated by how much money other people have (sometimes it makes me sad), and I totally understand how it can be a useful tool to keep themselves accountable (although I suspect they’re deliberately trying to make me regret my life choices… thanks, guys).

But I don’t have a lot of money. And therefore I’m going to pretend that my recap is taking some sort of moral high road…

Um……..

Here’s the thing – I don’t think it matters how much money you have, as long as you’re using it to support the life that you want.

Sounds high roady to me! And actually pretty true.

Now, it could be that I’m just afraid of getting rich. But I’m choosing to believe that it’s not just me and that there are more of us who aren’t necessarily looking for wealth for wealth’s sake, but instead are seeking a balanced, stable, fulfilling life.

That’s the life I want to have, and the life I want to help you have, too.

Yes, before you come at me with your pointy pointy words, money can be a big help with all that… but I truly feel that sharing a report of my net worth doesn’t actually tell the whole story.

So here’s what I’m going to do instead.

I didn’t make resolutions this year, I rarely do… but that doesn’t mean that I don’t put ridiculous expectations on myself every time the new year rolls around.

This year, I’ve chosen to call these expectations ‘values’ … which is a concept I stole from a book…. Read more about it in my post about ‘the secret to making a budget that actually works’.

These ‘values’ have been my measuring stick, and my guidelines so far this year. I set a list of 5 things that I wanted to have be more present in my life. The theory was if I invested the majority of my time, energy and money in to those five things it would guarantee that I was working towards building the life that I want.

And that they would be a more complete picture of my Net Worth.

The chosen five were: Security, Experiences, Relationships, Learning, and Health.

This is kind of what I was aiming for…..

Security: This one mostly does have to do with money. I want to invest in increasing and diversifying my income, as well as look at ways to make this freelancer life feel a bit less insane.

Experiences: This one seems general. It started off as travel, something I love to do, but apparently (according to the book) that was too much of an action. So it became ‘adventure’… but that didn’t quite seem to fit. So right now I’m calling it ‘experiences’ and I reserve the right to change it if a better word comes along.
Basically I want to experience new things. Everything from the small, trying a new coffee shop instead of the regular one, to the huge, which involves traveling to every possible country in the world (I’m working on a plan for that).

Relationships: I have incredible people in my life. I want to spend more time and energy on each and every one of them. Family, friends, and my incredible girlfriend.

Learning: I love to learn about things. This love of learning is often snuffed out by my fear of looking stupid. So, this year is all about pushing down that fear and letting my curiosity fly!

Health: None of the above really matters if I’m not healthy. I’m lumping it all in this one: physical health, mental health, emotional health. Taking care of myself is something I often shove to the bottom of the list… and even though I appreciate the irony of it being at the bottom of this list… at least it still made the cut.

So this year, those are the things I want to invest in. Those are things that I want to have increase in value. So bear with me… if you’re not so interested in my non-financial life, maybe stop reading here. But if you want to keep tabs on my holistic net worth… read on!

So. Here it is: My January “Net Worth”:


Security:

It’s hard to feel secure in a month when I’m not making all that much income.

Honestly, a lot of the work I’ve put in to the security field I’m hoping will pay off later. But here are a few investments I’ve made in my security:

– I started a side business. What you ask? Well you’re reading part of it right now. This blog is the first step in a side business to help artists and freelancers with their finances. I’ve added yet another passion project to my bag of tricks, and although I’m not sure exactly where it will lead I’ve really enjoyed writing, answering your emails, and working with people to help make their money better serve their passions. And hopefully, at some point, it will help add some security to my life as a whole.

– On the other business front (the whole singing thing) it’s been another kind of investment. It’s tough to admit when something you’re doing just isn’t working, but an admission was necessary. I’m back in the studio with a new teacher and reworking my technique. Is it fun?… well… kind of, actually. It may not be paying off with work now, but I’m hoping it will in the future.

– I’ve been making use of a system I put in place last fall. January has been the first month I’ve had to draw from my payroll fund. It’s not fun to watch the balance go down, but it’s been amazing to feel completely secure in where my money is coming from, even though there isn’t a lot of influx. Total security success.

GOAL FOR FEBRUARY: I’ve been blessed with some free time in the next few months (Read: I have no work) so I’m really looking to continue the same kinds of investment. Weekly voice lessons and lots of blogging!

Experiences:

Homemade southern style banana pudding. Ya... that's right...

Homemade southern style banana pudding. Ya… that’s right…

This is where I’ve come up short the most this month. I’m having trouble thinking of anything I’ve really done that could be considered “stepping outside my normal routine”.

But here are a few things that I ‘experienced’ in January:

– I started a blog. BOOM. Can you sense a theme? Every once in awhile you do something that seems to apply to all the things you want, that’s one of the reasons I love this project so much.

– I went for my first commercial audition. It was weird, and I did not ‘nail it’, but there was a book of puppy pictures in the lobby and I learned a fun new jingle… so I feel like I got something out of the experience.

– I had southern style banana pudding for the first time. It was awesome. ‘Nough said

I will try to make this list a little longer in February…

GOAL FOR FEBRUARY: It’s gonna be a good month. I’ve got trips planned both to New Haven (to eat all the food!!) and New York (not new, but I’m going to be there at the same time as one of my best friends who has NEVER BEEN… so it counts as new for me too).

Relationships:

This one has actually been great. I’m rarely at home for a month at a time, and it’s allowed me to see people a lot more regularly.

It’s sometimes hard in the winter to see people, but I’ve been really lucky to have some great, long dinners with friends…long and aimless talks about the future, and River Phoenix.

Added to seeing great friends more often, I’ve also had the chance to connect with new people and old friends through ‘Rags to Reasonable’. Lots of people wanting to talk about this money, and tell me their stories.. which is such an incredible thing.

GOAL FOR FEBRUARY: I’ve been very lucky this month to have been hosted quite a bit. Time to pay back some Karma and have some people over here for dinner. Grocery budget be damned… I’m making tacos!

Learning:

This is another one I’ve really been enjoying. Here are a few ways I’m indulging my curiosities:

– I mentioned I have a new voice teacher. It may be an old curiosity, but I’m learning a ton.

– I enrolled in the Canadian Securities Course to expand my financial knowledge. Now readers are probably split into two camps:

– What’s that?
– Why would you do that?

The Canadian Securities Course is a base course for the financial services industry (anyone who works in the bank and money business). You learn all about stocks, bonds, and how to spell the word prospectus (I just spelled it wrong, thank you spellcheck).
I’ve been really enjoying it (mostly), and will hopefully be taking my first exam in February… which terrifies me.
The best thing about doing this has been exercising a part of my brain that I haven’t used since high school. I’ve never been a math whiz, but whipping out that old calculator and calculating a bond yield sure makes me feel like a big man.

– This blog has been a MAJOR learning curve for me. I jumped in to this knowing … really… nothing. I’ve had to learn the basics of WordPress, and photoshop, as well as a dozen other things that I’d never even heard of before: SEO, Alexa, widget, etc..
I also had to, for the first time in my life, learn how social media worked. I’ve always been a participator, but never an active member. I still have no idea what I’m doing, but most days it’s pretty fun to learn.

GOAL FOR FEBRUARY: I’m going to take my first CSC exam… and maybe learn the names of all the rivers in North America (but probably not the second thing).

Health:

When I first put this on my list I thought it would be more of a passive goal. I’m a pretty healthy guy. Honestly, I only put it on the list because as I was talking things out with the ole girlfriend she made the point that without health the rest didn’t mean much. I didn’t have anything else I felt strongly about so… health it was.

Facing the fear - Freaking out pre root-canal

Facing the fear – Freaking out pre root-canal

In the end, it’s by far the thing I’ve spent the most money on…

– Dental health. You’ve read about it. You will continue to read about it. I am finally facing my dental demons and fixing a problem that I’ve had for many years. It’s gonna cost me… but I’m pretty happy that I’m facing it. (Another root canal next month!!! Man… my life is fun.)

– December left me feeling like a huge lump. I haven’t really combated that as much as I should have, but I invested in a squash pass at a local community centre, and am now regularly getting my ass handed to me by a pair of fine gentlemen. Fitness… here I come.

GOAL FOR FEBRUARY: I’m having (hopefully) my last root canal in February. But after that I need to come up with a plan for how I’m going to get the rest of this dental work done. By the end of Feb I’ll have that plan made.


So what are the things you wish were more present in your life. Where do you want your resources to go?

I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments section or through the contact page. Let me know what you’re working towards and we can help keep each other accountable.

I really do firmly believe that it isn’t about how much money you have. It’s about how you’re using that money alongside your time and abilities. As long as you’re pointing them all in the direction of the life that you want to live… I’d say you’re pretty damn rich!

Liked what you read? Think it is important for artists to have better financial resources and tools? I would love your support.