People generally fear anything to do with finances (unless, of
course, they have won the lottery). In fact, this may be the number one
thing that people AVOID. We can be very good at justifying why we
really don’t need to concern ourselves with our financial state of being
“right now”. These justifications include: “Something is going to
happen really soon that will turn things around”, “My debt isn’t that
bad”, “I’m still so young; I’ll start saving soon”, “I’ll deal with the
So what are the real reasons we don’t want to deal
with our finances? There are four primary reasons for this avoidance
and they tend to stem from what we have learned – or not learned – about
finances and life as we were growing up. Each of these reasons are
presented below, with a solution for how to make the necessary changes
for your benefit.
We are uncomfortable talking about money:
of us simply aren’t raised to be truly comfortable with the topic of
money. It is rarely freely spoken about. Many of us were taught us
that it was rude or otherwise inappropriate to discuss money. Perhaps
you grew up in a home in which your parents did not know how to manage
finances. Of course, it was never appropriate to share what you were
earning or how much things cost and if you had debt you certainly never
told anyone. We are also never taught about money in school. A
remarkably small number of students ever took classes on personal
finance, debt management, investing, building residual income, setting
financial goals, or any other topics that are so obviously critical in
real, day-to-day life.
Start talking honestly about money with people you trust. At Abundance Bound ( Financial Education and Planning for Actors and Artists)
we encourage our clients to work with a friend who also wants to make
financial changes, and commit to helping and supporting each other
without any judgment. Start sharing what things cost – how else can we
find the best deals and bargains? Be truthful about your financial
struggles and even your debt. This will bring it out in the open so you
can no longer pretend it doesn’t exist. Make a commitment to learning
about money. Read books, take classes, get help creating a personal
financial plan that will work for you regardless of how desperate your
financial situation may seem.
It is unfamiliar, so we feel like failures:
naturally follows that, if we were not taught about financial
management as we grew up and may have even gotten the message that it
was a taboo subject, it is going to feel very unfamiliar. And as
everything that is new, it is going to be difficult at first. As trite
as it may seem to remind you that you didn’t just jump on a bike and
start riding, the same is going to be true when you start learning to
handle your finances. There are going to be things you don’t
understand. When you first start getting yourself financially
organized, setting up filing systems and ways of tracking your income
and expenses, it may take days, even weeks to get it all in place. “I’m
not any good at this,” is a common decision we make, and quitting is
not far behind.
Recognize that money management is a game. This isn’t
to imply that money management is not serious. Money impacts your life
in meaningful ways. After all, we all need a roof over our heads, food
to eat, and clothes to wear. But allow yourself the time to learn to
play. Reward yourself for the small wins – the freshly organized filing
cabinet, the new deposits you start making each month into an account
for investments, the debt plan you have put in place… Almost before
you know it, strong financial habits will become your new way of life
and you won’t be able to go back. You wouldn’t be able to stand it!
Fear – it’s out of our control:
as artists, we are afraid of really looking at our financial situation
because we don’t think there is anything we can actually do about it.
We frequently live our lives waiting for someone else to give us a
break, an opportunity, rather than believing that very much lies within
Recognize that this is just a
story we’ve been telling ourselves and it simply isn’t true! Artists
are some of the hardest working, most intelligent people in the world.
We have to own that power and stop existing from a place of neediness.
Find mentors. Surround yourself with people who are playing big games
and join in – follow their lead. As long as we are willing to learn, to
take some chances and think outside of the box, we can all find ways to
significantly improve our finances.
Time Management – we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do:
management is also something many of us were never taught as we were
growing up. We tend to think of managing our finances like it is one
enormous job. “I don’t have time to deal with my finances.” We look at
all of the work involved in getting and keeping our finances in order
and we either say we’ll schedule the time in and never do or we just
decide that we can’t fit it into our lives. After all, we don’t want to
be distracted from our creative careers.
focusing so much on the big picture and start breaking down your
financial goals into small, manageable pieces. You don’t have to get
organized in one fell swoop. Sit down and make a list of what it is
going to take – then attack the list in 15-30 minute segments of time.
If you find yourself with a free afternoon to do financial work, great,
but it isn’t necessary. Pick a financial topic that interests you or
some aspect of your finances that you feel is a priority, take a book
out from the library, and read a chapter a day – even half a chapter!
Yes, you are going to have to decide that this is important enough to
add into your life, but it doesn’t have to take over your whole life.
Far from it! The truth is that handling your finances will actually
create more time and more energy in your life – you just have to begin.
is often said that awareness of a situation is half the battle. After
awareness follows acceptance, for only after we truly accept it within
ourselves will we do anything about it. Ask yourself this – Am I
willing to do whatever it takes to change my life? After all, you are
the only one who can change it, for the better – or the worse. Choose