Posts Tagged ‘budget’
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…)
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…)
In our last post I discussed (among other things) setting up an automatic savings plan. I’ve received some questions about why this works. If you’ve found that you have trouble starting your automatic savings plan, today’s piece is for you.
I’ve found something awful happens when a dollar appears in my wallet.
I spend it.
Maybe this doesn’t sound like a special revelation, but over the course of the last week I asked a few friends if money disappears from their wallets. It turns out that I’m not alone. After answers that varied from head nods to enthusiastic “I do that too!”’s, I now believe this is a fairly universal trend. Money in your pocket is destined to end up in someone else’s pocket.
This realization spurred another, bigger thought: the inverse is true.
I don’t spend money when it isn’t in my pocket.
This is another truth. I don’t go to ATM machines to take out money often. I avoid using my debit or credit card for purchases that aren’t necessary.
That doesn’t mean I never use plastic. I still spend money if I don’t have an actual dollar in my wallet, but just not as often. Last week we went out to dinner once. I also had a couple of lunches out with colleagues. Those both were on my debit card.
So, I was on the right path, but when I examined places where I could get to money (the ATM or credit card) cash was still being spent. Where did I have money that I never spent? Was there a place where money would always be mine? What about longer term savings? How about my emergency fund? (more…)
What is it about September? People walk a little more quickly. Long evenings under the stars with friends become nights at home in front of the computer. Kids go back to school. Client work picks up. Projects roll. The world shifts into gear again.
This is a time for productivity. It’s a time to set up a successful move for your art. If you’re going to celebrate a great 2012, this is the time to clean up your financial picture so you can focus on your craft, your clients, and your career.
1) Write out your goals. In the book The E-Myth, author Michael Gerber points out that most small businesses fail because they don’t have set workflow practices. Don’t just jot down some 1,000 foot goals, get your hands dirty!
- What are you going to do each day to reach your goal?
- What milestones along the way will you set to stay on track?
- How much is each goal going to cost?
2) Set up your budget and direct deposit schemes. By automating your financial picture you’ll be able to focus on your art instead of on a stack of energy-draining “to do’s.” If you have a side-hustle job to pay the bills, direct deposit this money into a savings account, then set up an automatic transfer of enough to live into your checking. Use online tools such as Mint or Yodlee to plan your budget parameters. Once you’ve written out your expenses, you’ll be much more comfortable in your financial shoes. (more…)
Beating the Summer Doldrums
We’re in those beautiful weather days. Baseball. Festivals. Lazy afternoons. It feels like everyone spends the week waiting for Friday night…maybe you’re a little burnt out on your art. Maybe the creative juices are feeling the call of a little fun. After all, you have to live to be able to connect with your audience, right?
These can be dangerous days for your wallet. Time to tighten the belt.
It’s during times like these…the deepest part of summer, that people start seeing fall and rush to squeeze just a little more summer out. Often this means spending beyond your limits before the hard reset of Labor Day weekend.
I know people overspend in the summer because traffic at Abundance Bound and other financial sites like ours is MUCH higher in September than in July and August.
There are ways to finish your summer with a flourish and without worrying about your checkbook surviving.
Do you need some entertainment but don’t want to regret it later? Try out these ideas: (more…)
I was busy with my semi-annual deep clean of my children’s rooms the other day and came across an old Dr. Seuss favorite: Green Eggs & Ham. Although I think you all know the story, I’ll give you the quick executive summary:
Grumpy furry guy says he doesn’t like green eggs and ham.
Sam asks him to try them before passing judgment.
Grumpy furry guy decides to try them.
He falls in love with green eggs and ham.
In my experience, most people seem to be like the grumpy furry guy. A good friend of mine disliked classical music until I dragged him to a concert. Fast forward five years and he’s calling us to ask if we want to accompany him to the symphony.
It’s fine to dislike music, because although I’d argue that it’s good for your soul, neither your health nor pocketbook are at stake. But when you decide you don’t like investing money, or prefer not to use certain tools to save, it could cost you financially. (more…)
A friend recently said, “I don’t know how you keep all of this straight…what the Dow Jones is doing, what’s a good rate on a credit card, how a will works, the right type of life insurance. Ouch! It makes my head hurt.”
You may feel the same way about your financial picture. Between your craft, family, friends and obligations, it seems like a huge hassle to remember everything you need to know.
But there’s good news: it’s not that difficult.
I imagine you might be thinking, “Ha! Easy for you to say. You do this every day.”
I understand that it’s a whole new world for many of our readers, but I’m serious: it’s not that difficult.
Sure, you might not understand every point about finalizing a mortgage or how to tell a good mutual fund from a bad one, but like any task, if you organize it correctly, it’s easy to see what you really need to know now and what can wait for later. (more…)