All artists (all people in fact) should learn about personal finance. Money is one of the central issues of our lives, and yet many people (including my former self) brush it off as if it is either unimportant, or even bad. This confusion about money does not help us live happy lives!
Many people think that money is the source of their problems. I think that IGNORANCE about money is the source of many people’s problems. It was for me.
First of all, a little back story: I was raised by amazing human beings who valued all things creative, encouraging me to follow my creative dreams at every turn. As an aspiring novelist, my mom showed me that it was okay to follow my creative ideals. As an improvising keyboardist, painter, and computer art enthusiast, my dad modeled creative freedom and exploration. I grew up in a household that never said NO when it came to creativity. This gave me the confidence that I needed to pursue a
career in music.
My parents got a lot of things right, yet when it comes to finances, I was not so well-prepared.
I grew up fearful and clueless about money. Nervous and uninformed, I avoided it as much as I could throughout my teens. Once I started college, I took on my first college loan, and though it was probably less than two thousand dollars, I felt as if I had signed up for a million dollars in debt. I did not understand how credit worked, and I merely saw it as a confusing burden. At the same time, I had very little concept of earning money, and had little experience or trust in my ability to do so.
Once I left college, I started to piece together an income primarily through music gigs. I recall the joy I felt when I landed a gig several days a week tutoring a kid on music for $25/hour. I was thrilled to be earning money to live on doing something I loved. I did many other interesting music gigs, including accompanying for voice lessons and plays, playing for retirement homes and parties, and teaching piano. When I got married five and a half years ago, I relocated from the Bay Area, California, to Sacramento, 100 miles away (and where I live now). Here I started my own piano studio.
Being a married man dramatically motivated me to get my financial act together. It hasn’t been an easy process overcoming years of negative programming, but I am gratified by the resulting growth I have seen in myself, and in my income. Also, my early frustrations and ignorance on money matters has fueled an intense desire to learn about the topics. These days, I am an avid reader of financial blogs and books. I have read dozens of excellent books on finances and investing. Here are a few that I recommend:
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- The Millionaire Next Door
- Tony Robbins’ “”Money: Master the Game”
- Think and Grow Rich
Many people have deeply-seated opinions about money. Yet, in my view, these opinions often are based on ignorance rather than knowledge. With correct knowledge, money does not have to be feared, or merely tolerated. The accumulation and management of money, in fact, is something to be revered. After all, if we spend all these years aiming to be able to make money from our art, why not actually embrace and respect the money we earn by learning as much as we can about it? Why not go learn how best to manage and grow that money so that we can grow financially rich while also being artistically fulfilled?
With this blog, I hope to succeed in helping other artists who may have suffered in ignorance as I did in the areas of money. I now know money to be a beautiful thing, a crucial participant in my rich artistic life. Just as air is important to breath, and water is important to drink, in our society, money is important to use.
Personally, I believe that more of our education system should be devoted to learning about money. Ignorance is not bliss on financial matters, yet sometimes it seems that our schooling supports this idea.
So learn about personal finance! Empower yourself. Try out any of the books listed above, or turn to the many thousands of resources in book stores and online to get yourself financially educated. If you need any other suggestions, send me a note or comment and I will tell you some of the other resources I have used.
On a related note, what are money topics that concern YOU? What would you be interested in having me write about? Please leave your comment below.