Sit down my right-brained children. It’s time to talk about that dreaded topic we all fear and all struggle with – Finances. The most common financial frustration I observe amongst artists and creative people is the difficulty of balancing having enough money to live the life and create the things they want, without feeling like they’re “selling out.”
Everyone wants to have a richer life, but that means different things to different people. And while it’s important to value the non-monetary things that do enrich your life, you cannot ignore the important role money does play in your ability to continue thriving and (most importantly) continue creating.
It doesn’t have to mean making choices simply because they make you more money, or skimping on your midday latte purchases. That could be part of it, but it’s really so much more than that – and it doesn’t have to mean compromising your ideals or your art.
The real secret to having the money you need to lead a “richer” life is a combination of 3 steps:
(These were inspired from the wisdom of Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, so I’ve linked to his site for reference on each below)
1. Earning More Money
There is a difference between making tons of money, and making tons of money worth earning. It isn’t just about making more salary – it’s also about where that paycheck is coming from. Because money coming from a occupation you truly love will be worth more to you. And doing something you love will motivate you to work harder and keep you working there longer, encouraging more productivity and ultimately making you even more money! So there is an actual logical case for sticking with your creative passions so you can earn more there in the long term, rather than “sell out” for something that seems more profitable in the short term. The moral of the story is that in order to earn more money, you should earn it from something you are passionate about.
2. Saving More Money
I agree with Ramit Sethi’s theory on Big Wins. Making little changes to skimp on the everyday splurges (“I don’t really need another t-shirt” or “I’ll just get a small coffee today”) isn’t going to make a significant enough difference. It’s about saving on the big things that do have a large impact on your savings bottom line — things like your rent, your mortgage, your energy bill, etc. Take a look at your finances, track your expenses or just watch your checking account activity for a few months. Take note of which items or categories cost you the biggest chunk of change. If you can find ways to save in these larger areas of your finances, you will find it a faster and easier way to save larger sums of your money.
3. Automating Your Money
Automation is a wonderful concept that basically frees you from the hassle of remembering – when to pay your bills, when to pay off your credit cards, when to evaluate your savings and investments, etc. These can be easier managed by arranging direct payments on your bills from your bank (most banks offer this option), setting up automatic payments on your credit cards, working out a regular payment plan on your mortgage or other recurring expenses, or giving yourself automatic reminders (my favorite is creating recurring “reminder” events on my Google Calendar). There are many other methods as well, but the point is to utilize systems that alleviate your need to do any of the remembering.
Now if you can master all 3 of these steps, you’ll be able to live a richer life in more ways than one. You’ll be earning more money from an occupation that fulfills you and provides you the freedom and creative autonomy you crave. You’ll be better saving your money for a backup plan in case your creative endeavors don’t go as well as you hoped. And you’ll be freeing up your time from worrying about payments and money management, which you can instead spend on more valuable and enriching activities, like working in your studio or hanging out with friends and family.
Because as Ramit Sethi says, living a richer life is really composed of 3 areas: our jobs, our finances, and our relationships. So if you can master the 3 steps above, you will be able to optimize all 3 areas at once!
Happy richer living!
Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Please comment below and tell us how you are going to live a richer life.
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