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Managing your Finances….with Help

January 12, 2013

I have always had problems with money.  I grew up with two separated parents with complete opposite philosophies.  My mom would let me spend any, and my dad was an open wallet.  Talk about mixed messages. So when I entered the real world, I had no real experience with budgeting, especially since I was fortunate enough to not have to work through college.  Once I got my internship, my parents were still paying my rent, so I was able to use my stipend for whatever I wanted.  Then all of sudden, they weren’t anymore.  For the past two years, I’ve lived month to month, sometimes living off my credit card, and generally just scraping by.  The last four months were especially touch and go.

Then one of my gigs landed me with a sudden excess of cash.  Since I knew I was moving at the end of the summer, I knew I needed to figure out how to save money for the move and just learn how to budget in general.  

Enter Verhanika Wood.

Verhanika is my best friend, but over the last few years, she has also become a financial planner.  And her specialty is working with artists who have non-traditional and often inconsistent sources of income.  (Like me.  Very much like me.)  During her training and as she started to build her business, I benefited a lot from what she was learning as she would use me as a guinea pig.  But now that she has her own business set up, I decided to become an official client.

After two meetings, I have never felt more secure about my finances in my life.  Verhanika helped me figure out what my financial goals were for the year and together we defined them specifically and worked out a system where not only am I saving $400/month toward my plans to move to LA, but I still have a spending allowance of $50/week and a grocery budget of $50/week.  These are things I’ve never really had before.

Of course, I absolutely recommend getting financial advice from Verhanika (links to her website below), but the bigger lesson is that as artists, our revenue streams are incredibly unstable.  How many of us have lived or are living hand to mouth, month to month, with no sign of it stopping, with no possibility of a cushion for retirement?

Stop the madness.  Stop stressing about money.  There are so many resources, blogs, websites, classes, whatever about how to manage your money effectively.  I actually can’t believe I’ve waited this long to get help with my finances.  As an artist, IT IS ESSENTIAL.  So many times, I’ve lamented the fact that if I’d done certain things differently, I’d be living with no credit card debt and little to no financial stress.  Now, thanks to Verhanika Wood, I have that.

Know yourself.  If you are not good with money, find someone to help you figure it out.  You’ll be grateful you did.  And then you can spend less time worrying about money, and more time on your art.


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