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:
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 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…)
Remember setting up domino chains when you were a kid?:
I think artistic people understand more than others what these falling dominoes can represent. One positive result leads to another: an artist is shown in a gallery in Los Angeles, and a dealer in New York sees the show. That leads to a second show in Manhattan. An actor scores a part in a play that’s attended by a big producer. The actor’s next role is a small part in a motion picture.
I attached this video because even when all doesn’t go exactly according to plan (they had to roll the marble twice AND there was a break in the chain at one point), there are still positive results!
We tend to forget that one good result has a tendency to create another.
It’s the same with our financial situations, isn’t it? Successful people are far down the domino chain: (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…)
This time of year I like to look back over the last twelve months and reflect. For me, life is about making mistakes–mentors have told me that if you don’t make any mistakes, you aren’t moving fast enough. This year has been a whirlwind, so I must have made some real doozies!
While it certainly can be difficult, I try not to dwell on my missteps as long as I learn from them. At this time of year, I also like to learn from events and the mistakes of others. There are five that I think are well worth reflecting on before we march into 2012:
1) Don’t Wait on Government…In Fact, Don’t Wait.
Politics seemed to enter our life more than ever this year, with Republicans and Democrats waiting to the last minute before passing legislation in several key areas, including funding to keep the government open!
I’ve met people who’ve said that they can’t do any long-range planning because they’re unsure what measures the government is about to pass, or they aren’t sure if the tax structure is going to change, or they want to wait and see who the next president is.
Most artisans work on a 1099 income basis, so some important areas such as health care and small business taxes can have a big impact on your bottom line.
….but does this mean you should wait?
Waiting on the government doesn’t make any sense to me. Is it better to have a plan in place that you may need to adjust or to have no plan at all? I’d always prefer to revisit my plan when the government finally decides their actions, than be held hostage to whatever political problems crop up.
The Bottom line: Plan now and adjust as events occur. (more…)
If I were forced to choose one time of year that was about making smart choices, it’d be hard to choose against this one. What should you wear to the next holiday party? Who should you invite to a gathering you’re holding? How much should you spend on gifts? Probably the biggest one of all is this: what should you eat?
I was out with a friend recently for lunch and as she perused the menu, I heard her mumble, “Oh, that looks good, but I want that cake!” I felt a bit envious because if I eat frosting at noon, I’m struggling to stay awake by 2:00 PM. But I was surprised when the waiter arrived and she ordered a healthy salad and water.
She never ordered cake.
I asked when the bill arrived, “You aren’t getting the cake?”
Her answer was surprising. This healthy, fit woman told me that she was on Weight Watchers. She enjoyed this particular program because it was less about diet and more about making wise choices. She hadn’t been talking about the cake from that restaurant’s menu. Instead, she was already thinking about the awesome cheesecake a woman was serving at a holiday party we’d both be attending later in the week.
In short, she was making choices today that would affect what she was going to eat in the future.
If you extend this type of thinking to your whole life, powerful results are right around the corner. (more…)
Bryan and I have simply been blown away by the response to last week’s “Living in Possibility” call! Hundreds of you joined us for a conversation about living life powerfully as artists who CHOOSE to create the success you desire (and deserve) in every area of your lives. We suspected there would be a few motivated artists who might dive into the material, but we just weren’t prepared for the number of calls and emails we’ve received, sharing your questions, experiences and victories–we’ve never seen the group this fired up before! It seems we really struck a nerve!
Or are you all even more dynamic than we realized?!
The immediate question is: With all of this momentum and new insight, what are you going to do next to stay in the zone of your potential? How will you apply this work practically day to day? How will you best capitalize on these discoveries and treat yourself to the good to come–right now? (more…)
Investment horticulture: Low, indirect light. Water once a week. Fertilize regularly.
To some, investments seem like the Las Vegas segment of a financial plan; you bet your wages on an investment and hopefully watch your chips accumulate on the road to wealth. If you ever watch cable investment networks it sometimes feels as if the average person is just a lucky investment or two away from riches. The truth, however, is that the professionals we see on television, work all day, every day tracking the market, compiling data, and using mathematical algorithms to choose investments. The secret to investing successfully, if there is really any secret, is first recognizing that any sexy, get-rich-quick ideas are generally surefire strategies for a new investor to lose all of their money.
It can also be easy to be fearful and just avoid investing altogether. The trouble is that if you never invest money, you’ll never keep up with inflation. Worse yet, you’ll have to earn dollar for dollar whatever you want to spend later. If you ever want to stop working – or be able to focus all of your time on the things you want to do rather than have to do – investing is a critical part of your financial plan. Imagine that you’re not working anymore and you’ve never invested….only saved money into a bank account. How much money do you need? You’ll need to have money for every meal every day and that’s just for starters! Accumulating this pot of money without investments is close to impossible.
Here’s how successful investors work their magic. They begin by imagining their investments as a separate person who goes out and earns a living every day. You purchase an investment with a small sum and your funds go to work each day, as do you. At the end of the day your money brings home some more money. On a few days your investment comes home empty handed, or worse, loses some of your money. Imagine that you had an employee on your payroll like this? What would you do?
Well, the first thing you’d probably do is to tell your employee exactly what they’re trying to achieve. I’ve had jobs (and I’m sure you have also) where my boss was unclear about what we were actually trying to do. Because of this, nothing really got done. On the other hand, I’ve worked for people who were laser specific about their objectives, and all of the employees were able to quickly complete the job. By having clear goals about your money, it’s easier for your money to multiply.
PHILOSOPHER GEORGE SANTAYANA SAID, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s why, at the end of the year, I like to study the past twelve months and ask myself, what is it that I learned? Some years the answers to the question are easy, like in 2000, when the obvious moral was that the stock market doesn’t always skyrocket. In 2002, we were lucky to learn that the inverse, stock markets don’t always plummet, was true. Other years are more difficult, but if you dig, each twelve months you’ll find plenty of learning nuggets buried in the headlines that you can carry into the next year and beyond. 2010 is no exception. Although it wasn’t a year with brilliantly shining financial stories, there is plenty to remember.
Here are my top five 2010 lessons, in descending order:
5) Home ownership is difficult (still). According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 389 homes received a foreclosure notice in the month of October. Banks are still uneasy about loaning money to people for home purchases, and with good reason. If you own a home, having a good cash reserve, a low amount of debt, and a consistent income stream are all vital to maintain your mortgage.