Archive for the ‘budget’ Category
Plugging Money Leaks
Our bathroom faucet drips all day if you don’t turn the faucet hard enough. I learned that the hard way, noticing the dripping only after a whole weekend away. Sigh. My only thoughts as I twisted the handle as hard as I could, were about all the money I’d let drip down the drain.
I’ll bet I’m not alone, though. How many parts of your budget are you letting drip away, into places where the money disappears? While that’s bad news, we can look at this from a “glass half full” point of view: there are plenty of money leaks that we can plug to gain a quick shot of much-needed cash. Even if you feel like things are going well, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have some extra money to save for retirement, a new house, your art, or even to gift to your favorite charity?
Here are five areas that you can attack today to add more money to your pocket book:
How often have you caught yourself saying: “I Can’t Afford It”? That’s one of the most disempowering phrases we can use in our creative lives. “I can’t afford it” is the financial equivalent of “I don’t deserve it” or “I’m not ready for it.” Of course you deserve it, and of course, you’re ready.
You just have to tell yourself that you are ready, you deserve it, and all you need is a plan.
Now perhaps there truly are some things you may not be able to afford. Like this yacht…
However, more often than not, you could (and should) be breaking down life into two columns:
- I don’t want it.
- I am creating a plan to have it.
Let’s explore these two options: (more…)
Remember high school? Were you a person who wore what everyone else wore or did you stand apart?
I’ll bet you didn’t follow the crowd. That’s rarely the artist’s way.
Why do I bring this up? I only mention it because it turns out that creative people – those who are willing to go against the grain – should be great investors. Consider this: a financial company (Blackrock) sent out an email recently discussing the fact that many investors chase “negative returns.” Apparently, people try to guess where the market is headed; and Blackrock detailed just how horrible people are at guessing. In fact, it appears, when most people decide to turn right, the best decision was to turn left.
There’s Value in Turning Left
Everyone’s heard the mantra “buy low/sell high.” This even applies to your art, doesn’t it? Often I meet struggling artists who wonder “How come I’m not a sensation yet?” then they proceed to take the same steps as the herd.
It didn’t work in high school and it isn’t going to work now.
To truly get ahead, in your art and with your money, you need to turn left when everyone turns right. (more…)
I recently received this email from an actor who just finished working through the Artist’s Prosperity Home Study System:
I just have to write and tell you how excited I am to have found you! I’ve been an actor for five years, struggling along with everyone else, and I finally decided that enough is enough: I need to put together a plan so I can really focus.
All of this time, I thought I had already been focusing on my art, when in reality, I was part-timing everything: my job, my family and my craft. Now, you’ve put me on a path that I don’t think I could have accomplished myself. I have an emergency fund, a separate checking account for my business, and for the first time, real hope for the future. While I have yet to score that elusive “great part,” my auditions are much better. I believe this is because I come in focused and without worrying about “how broke I am.” Sure, I still worry about money, but not in the “OMG, I need this role” desperate way that I have in the past.
Thank you again for what you do. I just wanted to let you know there are people out there who appreciate you very much.
It is rewarding when we hear from folks who have started to take control of their financial futures, because the unfortunate truth is that many people simply never will.
I was just reading some statistics from a group called the Employee Benefit Research Institute. While most Abundance Bound readers are self-employed (and not employees of others), we frequently fall into these same traps and the results of their recent retirement survey weren’t encouraging: (more…)
Don’t taxes stink?
While I love the promise of a new year, the threat of an upcoming tax season is absolutely exhausting! I think we creatives have it doubly bad; we work from the energy of bending rules and pushing boundaries. There are no bendable boundaries or rules with the IRS. Instead, it’s a simple game: do it right, the first time, on time, and you win. Everything else is unacceptable.
I tensed up writing that!
So, my goal at tax time is to control the amount of time and energy I have to spend on this task. If I can get my taxes filed and paid quickly and accurately, that’s about the biggest win I can imagine.
How do I do it? I’ll share with you some secrets that hopefully will make your tax season a little less stressful so you can focus on your art and not on April 15th. (more…)
A couple weeks ago I wrote about the strange place I found inspiration for my 2013 goals. This week, I’d like to address New Year’s Resolutions head-on. Every year millions of people write out a fresh list of goals in the hopes of making the next twelve months better than the previous dozen. We creative people are no exception: in our world, it’s often the well-disciplined artist who ends up on the road to loftier goals, while the dreamer without clear, concise milestones spends another year chasing the same first-tier plans (and never can figure out why he doesn’t achieve anything….). You know the ones; they’re the artists with grand ideas, fantastic plans, and nothing to show for it except a series of excuses.
One mistake that even big businesspeople make, is that they set professional goals, but forget about the fuel to get them there. It might not be the most glamorous activity, but remember your financial goals; don’t just focus on your art. By making sure that your financial picture is healthy, you’re bound to have the fuel ready to have a wonderful 2013 in your craft. By placing well-executed goals, you’ll get where you want to go faster, and with less bumps along the road.
Some Financial Goals to Act On
Emergency Fund – If you don’t have a cash reserve, now’s the time to start one. Anything can happen…and probably will….in 2013, so you’ll want the protection to know that when bad news occurs, you’ve got the money in the bank to easily get through it.
What’s a good reserve? Generally, I recommend having at least three months expenses in a safe place away from market fluctuation (like a bank account). (more…)
4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!
I can’t believe it’s almost that time of year again! We’re saying goodbye to 2012….and it seems like we just said goodbye to 2011. This can be a crazy time for creatives. We’re busy building, sculpting, performing. But don’t forget that the end of the year is also a time to close the books on your financial life so you can begin 2013 fresh. Here are some of my favorite year end moves:
Paperwork & Technology Moves
This is a great time to shred unnecessary papers from the year and delete unnecessary emails. Set up your systems to ensure you roll easily into 2013.
- If you haven’t yet, create a series of email folders to funnel important financial documents. I also like the free financial tool Dropbox to store important papers in “the cloud” so they’re available from any computer.
- Adjust your budget. Automate budget tracking if you have a smart phone or computer using programs such as Mint. Last week I went over my grocery budget and before I’d unloaded the groceries into my car, Mint had already emailed me a warning.
- Create times to plan. Take out your 2013 calendar (or purchase one!) and lay out non-negotiable times to review your overall financial picture. You might want a quick once-a-week to review your budget, pay bills and review any new investment correspondence. More important is a twice-yearly “where am I” session. (more…)
I know Halloween was last week, but let’s keep the fun alive with some financial horror stories. Didn’t you love horror stories as a kid? I liked them…until I tried to sleep. Then, more often then not, I spent the night staring at the ceiling, sure that at any minute some disconfigured arm would grab me from under the bed.
The bad news is that we all have friends who have real life financial horror stories. Their money problems make it difficult to sleep. Maybe you have those issues. There’s good news: many of these horrible stories we can fix simply by turning on the lights: if we know they’re out there, we can avoid them or find ways for them to vanish:
Horrible Story #1) There once was a man who paid an annual fee on his credit card! There’s no reason to pay annual fees for cards unless you’re a high-powered user. Too many cards are available with no fees that still give you a low interest rate and reward points. Only pay fees if you find a card which you are certain will be justified by the rewards that are unavailable from a non-fee card.
Tip: Use online comparison sites to determine which card best meets your needs without paying a fee. (more…)