Monday, April 2, 2012

Money Monday: Stupid Money Mistakes that Artists Make

You’re creative – it’s undeniable. You’re a dreamer and a visionary. You’re bringing your unique voice to the world and nothing is stopping you.

Except not having money!

You can be artistic and money-savvy at the same time. Start by making sure you don’t make these mistakes --

Not having health insurance – Unacceptable! Your body, voice, and well-being are your work tools. Without them, you’re screwed. Protect yourself and your future by getting covered now.

If you don’t qualify for SAG-AFTRA or WGA’s health plan, you can buy an individual plan from a health insurance provider. Do research and compare rates at and then buying directly from the company’s Web site. If you’re young, single, and healthy, I highly recommend Tonik from Anthem Blue Cross – low rates and great coverage.

Living beyond your means – You need materials, classes, and a working car to pursue your dream. You do NOT need that new pair of UGGs. Don’t stress yourself out by budgeting every cent you make, but make sure you’re spending more on career and life “needs” like additional training or new headshots instead of “wants” like eyelash extensions or those hubcaps that spin even when your car’s not moving. (Sorry, but those hubcaps are dumb.)

Not having an emergency fund – The work of being an actor is looking for work. When you are working, put some money in a money market fund or other short-term savings vehicle for the times when you’re not working. An artistic career will naturally have ups and downs – saving money in an emergency fund will help ease the roller coaster effect.

Wasting money without noticing – Parking tickets, ATM fees, overdraft charges, buying lottery tickets, and drinking excessive amounts of Starbucks or Coffee Bean are all ways you waste money that could be invested in your career. Paying attention to your money ensures you’ll have more when you need it.

Not having a retirement plan – Because you’ll want to hang up those character shoes someday and have enough to enjoy the rest of your life. If you don’t qualify for SAG-AFTRA or WGA’s pension plan and you don’t work for a company that offers a 401K plan, you can still invest for your future by getting a Roth IRA at a do-it-yourself financial services company like Vanguard, Fidelity, or TD Ameritrade. Saving early pays off later – trust me.

For more money advice for artists, check out this free ebook I found – 5 Big Mistakes Creative People Make With Money

What do you think is your biggest money mistake?