The Biggest Artist Killer (By Far!)

THE BIGGEST ARTIST KILLER that I’ve witnessed in my extensive experience as a recording artist and creative performance coach in the music industry is personal financial mismanagement. Simply put, artists do not typically possess sound money practices. Time and again over the years, I’ve watched musicians and aspiring rockstars have to give up their dream for the day job because their money is out of control. I’ve looked back in regret more than a few times at many of the financial decisions I made as a creative and wished someone would just come up and punch me in the face as hard as they could. When I realize certain truth’s that I was never aware of in my coming of age years for which I have no good excuse, I just have to take a deep breath and start applying that truth immediately. It’s no use feeling sorry for myself. Growing up, my money situation was out of control. I wasn’t stupid, just ignorant. I had no goals, I had no plan, just directionless hopes and dreams. Realizing that you’ve fritted away precious years by making asinine financial decisions doesn’t feel great when you realize you’ve come to the end of that cul-de-sac and there is no more road left to travel. Backtracking is a massive waste of time and most often leads to broken dreams and dissipated hopes. If you’re a creative, you’d do well to read the rest of this. These are the most important financial lessons that I wish I had applied to my creative business and to my own personal financial management back when I started in the industry. If you implement these practices, you will be more than okay. But you should start today. I promise you, this is the one, surefire way to guarantee that you won’t have to give up your dream due to poor money choices.

  1. Stay 100% out of debt. Cars, computers, iPhones, business or school equipment, school loans, credit cards, “borrowing” money from friends & family, mortgages, vacations, having someone “spot you”, whatever you could think of. Forbes magazine reported an article from May 2017 that “for every dollar the average American earns, he or she spends $1.33” ( Debt is by far the #1 killer of wealth and finance. If you want to feel like a slave and die early from stress, go ahead and keep spending. If you want to be a boss and sleep peacefully at night, stop your freaking spending NOW.
  2. Budget. It’s a dirty word, I know, but if you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll be asking yourself “where did all of my money go?” If you’re not a trust fund baby, your future will be won in the margins. If you’ve never budgeted, I challenge you to do it for 1 month. You will not freaking beLIEVE how much you spend on eating out, tasty alcoholic beverages, those mini-mart stops, movie rentals, application purchases, video games, that hobby you just picked up, etc. It will blow your mind. Budgets reveal priorities. They reveal values. If you’re like half of America, you’re living paycheck to paycheck ( K9mR30f0WVN). The only way to stop that rat race is to budget. If you earn in cash, you should also keep a cash ledger. Cash can disappear quickly a myriad of ways. The budget is my foundation. It tells me “no” now so that I can say “yes” later.
  3. Save 3-6 months of expenses. I call this an Emergency Fund. Emergencies will happen. If something happens and you’re still living paycheck to paycheck, you’re screwed. You’ll have to borrow which adds to your anxiety. You don’t want that. Take control of your finances. Feel empowered with your money. Start smashing away at that 3-6 months savings.
  4. Invest 15% of your income. Once you’ve got 3-6 months in savings, it’s time to begin building up wealth for your future. Everyone has a different theory on investing. What I do is invest 15% of my income into growth stock mutual funds. Warren Buffet, Dave Ramsey, Tony Robbins, Larry Burkett, they all say the same thing. If you max out a Roth IRA every year (about $5500 for the average individual) for 30 years, you’ll be a millionaire. That’s it. It’s literally that simple. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the simple, “7-baby step’s” process from Dave Ramsey: If you only ever followed what this guy said, you’ll be wealthy.
  5. Be careful who you marry. First off, marriage is expensive but divorce is much more expensive. Questions to ask yourself before even thinking about tying the knot: 1) Does this person have debt and how much? 2) What are their spending habits? 3) Do they budget? 4) Are they high maintenance? 5) Do they expect a luxurious lifestyle that you may not be able to afford them? 6) Are they trying to keep up with the Joneses (the Joneses are broke btw - It sounds brutal, but perhaps you should make this person a list of requirements for getting their shit together before you bind yourself to them for the rest of your existence. Don’t marry a headache.
  6. You do not need a FICO credit score. Ah yes, the lenders have done a superb job since the 80’s in implementing the FICO credit score myth and have made gazillions off of your parents in the process! To obtain a good credit score, you have to have credit. To have credit, you have to spend money that isn’t yours. Money that isn’t yours is called debt. I raised both fingers to FICO many moons ago. If someone tell’s you that you need to build credit, they’re misinformed. It doesn’t matter how much Mommy loves you, she’s wrong. I’ve got a question: how much debt does Mommy have? Lenders will tell you that you need credit. I’m not here to argue (I’m here to help you win like I am winning). You don’t NEED a credit score to purchase a home, car or anything else. Think about it: How did people buy homes & cars before the 80’s? If I need a credit score to live, how is it possible that I pay all of my bills, drive paid-for cars, go on paid-for, luxurious (in my opinion) vacations, fully funding my emergencies without going into debt, AND investing into my future? I don’t even make that much! Again, don’t take my word for it ( I have unscorable credit. I can’t obtain a credit score because I’ve taken my scorability away from the system. In other words, I’m 100% in control of my money. It feels GREAT. The goal of a mortgage company is to sell you a product. They’re not trying to help you. Ever thought about why it’s so easy to borrow money in America! Lenders are still giving out the same types of loans that created the 2008 recession ( It’s called predatory lending. More bubbles will burst. I’d rather not subject myself to bubbles or those that cause them. ON THE OTHER HAND! If you can control your spending and have the discipline to pay off your credit expenses every month, credit isn’t a sin. Credit can make certain services and financial “routes” a bit easier to use. For example, if you want to hire a personal assistant from a firm in the Philippines, it’s safer to use credit as payment opposed to debit. Go ahead and do the research for yourself, but all I’m saying is credit is a dangerous thing if you aren’t yet disciplined in your spending habits.
  7. Become an expert in something. “There is nothing more useless to the world than someone who knows a little bit about many topics. There is nothing more valuable to the world than someone who know’s everything about one topic.” It’s not bad to be able to hold a general conversation. That’s just you being an interesting person, living an interesting life. On the contrary, if you have no expertise in a given field, you’re of no use. Being wealthy goes hand in hand with being useful. If you want to make any real money, become an expert in something. The reason why someone flipping burgers at McD’s is only making minimum wage (nothing to be ashamed of btw) isn’t because old-richwhite-man owner want’s them to be poor. It’s because anyone on the planet can flip a damn burger. There is no skill involved. All you need is a timer, a spatula and a grill. Come on people. Let’s not just yell whatever headline we see in the news about how minimum wage pay is unfair. Makes me want to jam a dull spoon in my eye.

I’ll close with this. Do you want to know how to become wealthy as an artist? There’s no secret. It’s not winning the lottery or marrying a rich partner. It’s called “behavior”. But as I’ve previously stated, don’t take my word for it. Watch and learn! I wish you the best!


#ThePerseveringArtist #JoinTheUnion

P.S. If this resonates, please share it with a friend. If you’d like to learn more, follow this link to my coaching services!

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