As dancers, we must learn to create consistency and stability in a very inconsistent and unstable career path, in order to not only survive, but thrive financially. We’ve all made mistakes (Lord knows I have) along the way, like making a ton of money one year, and having nothing substantial to show for it the next year, when things are a little slower. But what matters is that you get smart, and start creating a financially prosperous life to match the wonderful career that you love so much.
Here Are The Dancer’s Top 7 Secrets To Financial Freedom:
1) Prepare For The Worst. I think one of the worst-case scenarios for most dancers is getting injured, and not being able to dance. Whether you’re a teacher, or a performer, an injury can really set you back. So how do you prepare for the worst-case scenario? Have an emergency fund. We’ve all heard this term at some point. An emergency fund is basically a savings account which holds 3-6 mos. worth of your monthly income, so that in the event that you are sick, injured, laid off, or out work for a period of time, you are still able to cover your monthly bills and expenses. It can also be very helpful to cover emergencies like physical therapy, surgery, or other unexpected healthcare-related expenses, if you don’t have health insurance. An emergency fund is a must for survival and financial freedom in this industry.
2) Separate Needs From Wants. Am I suggesting that those brand new sneakers, shoes, or bags that you want to buy are NOT necessities? Yup, that’s exactly what I’m saying. A need is something that is crucial to your daily survival i.e. food, clothing, shelter, transportation, personal hygiene items, etc. That Starbucks Frappuccino is a want. That new iPhone, iPad, or other gadget that you were planning on buying with your next paycheck, yeah, that’s a want too. Get serious with yourself, and respect your money. If you have debt and/or don’t have at least 6-mos. worth of your income in savings, then you need to say goodbye to wants, and focus solely on your needs (at least for the time being).
3) Remember That You Have Survived On Much Less Than What You’re Making Now. We’ve all had those times when we were broke, when the jobs weren’t there, or when things slowed down significantly for one reason or another. As hard as those times were, I imagine that, if you’re anything like me, you survived. It may not have been easy, but you got through it. You probably were forced to focus on your needs only, with such limited funds. Well, put yourself in that same mindset now, so that when the lean times come again (and they will), you have a cushion to survive those times in a comfortable manner.
4) Track Your Spending. Budget is not a four-letter word. Budgets are your friend. If you don’t have a budget, how can you possibly know where your money is going and why? It is crucial to create a monthly budget, and also set financial goals for paying down your debt, building up your savings account, setting aside money for investing, preparing for retirement, etc. You can’t do that if you don’t have a budget, and aren’t tracking your spending, which leads me to number five…
5) Pay With Cash. There’s something about handing someone your hard-earned cash, and seeing that money disappear from your wallet. It tends to make all of us a little more careful about how we spend our money. Well, this can be a great way of living when you’re trying to stick to a budget, and precisely track your spending. Take it back to the old-school way. Get cash once-a-week for your allotted spending, put the cash in labeled envelopes for food, transportation, utilities, rent, etc., and when the allotted money for a particular thing is gone, that’s it. No more spending.
6) Make Saving Money Automatic. Whether you have it automatically transferred out of your checking account at your bank, or you physically take 10 or 20 percent of cash from each check and deposit it yourself, make it automatic, a no-brainer, something that is a given, and non-negotiable. Then forget that it’s there. No tapping into your savings because Loehman’s or Macy’s is having a blowout sale, or because that thing you’ve been wanting to buy on ebay has been marked down.
7) Be Discerning. On the road to financial freedom, there are many challenges and distractions. Be discerning. If your friends are going out for drinks or out to eat, and you know that that does not fit into your budget that week, stay home. Don’t use your credit card, and don’t tap into money that’s supposed to be for something else. Another thing. Stay away from layaways. Certain stores, like Marshall’s, Burlington Coat Factory, and others, still offer layaway plans. Stay away from those because you tend to spend more than you should be spending because you’re not paying for it all at one time. Negotiate a better deal with your cell phone company, cable company, and insurance company. Be discerning.
All in all, remember that less is more. Don’t fill your life with unnecessary stuff, and put yourself in unstable financial situations, when you have the power to create the financially prosperous life that so many people believe that dancers can not have. We can all have financial freedom. We can all have financial stability. It’s all in how we use and spend the money that we have. Be smart. Be discerning, and respect your money.
Do you have any additional financial tips or advice to offer? Have ever learned a hard lesson in your dance career due to lack of finances or poor decisions? Did you find this post helpful?
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