Posts Tagged ‘bank accounts’

Own the “My Money” Company

Recently, I was reading about Elon Musk – the business magnate, engineer, and investor – involved in a number of amazing creations. GrowYourBusiness(Tesla, Space X, Hyperloop, SolarCity are just a few.) At first, I thought, “Goodness! He’s an incredibly creative guy!”

Then I realized that in a real sense, this entrepreneur is also an artist… He just creates his “art” in a way that emphasizes the business aspects.

That made me think that flipping the discussion might be fun. What would happen if as artists, we treated our financial lives like we were business owners?

How It Would Work

Examining your financial life as if it’s a business and you’re an entrepreneur, causes a noticeable attitude shift. Instead of thinking, “Maybe I’ll save a little money here or there down the line,” we ask “How do I start saving NOW?” If the answer is “It’s impossible,” then looking at your money like a business leads you to the next logical question: “How do I speed up the process?”

You are reframing financial planning in a way that makes it fresh, exciting, and empowering. (more…)

How to Find Solid Interest Rates for Savings

Been to a bank lately? If you’re a saver, there’s not much for you to smile about.RocketSavings

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You work hard to save money, and then there’s nothing to do with it. While interest rates have been supposedly on a rising path, a quick look at comparison sites shows that there’s not much out there paying more than one percent.

Let’s look at some potential ways to earn better rates on your money and examine the pros and cons of the various options, so you can approach your choices with a critical eye.

Money Markets:

What worries me: you aren’t beating inflation. I’ve heard arguments that inflation may be nonexistent but look at how much you’re spending on your craft…supplies…classes… Have those prices risen? I’ll bet they have.

Why I like it: Currently, money markets pay between a tenth of a percent and just over one percent. That’s certainly better than a savings account! (more…)

Top 5 Features To Look For In A GOOD Checking Account

We want to spend lots of time on our craft… not on banking, so it’s important to have a checking account that gives us the ability to do everything we want, whenever we want.

The problem is, most of us have had the same bank account for a long time and have no idea what’s widely available.

Banking has changed significantly in the last five years. Banks are worried less about branches and now focus on online services… Well, at least the progressive bank is worried about online banking. Yours may not be yet, which is why I wanted to write this piece! The average millennial, according to a recent report, would rather NEVER set foot in a bank, and thinks that a bank is actually better if they can provide all services online. Banks are following… some kicking and screaming, but others are leading the charge.

Piggy Bank Shopping BasketSo how do you know if you have a good bank account? Here are five features that great bank accounts share:

1) No fee checking. This feature has been around for a long time, so if you don’t have a fee-free checking account, it’s probably time to make the switch. These types of accounts are common for personal use, but uncommon for businesses. If you’re looking for a fee-free checking account for your craft or business, you’ll need to visit one of the many comparison sites online, like MagnifyMoney or NerdWallet to see which banks offer this option. They’re out there… you just need to look.

2) Robust online banking. Online banking should now be easy and fluid. I should be able to move money between accounts, pay bills and check balances from any device… instantly. Initially, because of security precautions, signing up for online banking features can be a real pain (even if it’s a great bank), but the payoff is worth every bit of the trouble when you’re far from your bank and computer and need to transfer funds using your phone. (more…)

From the Mailbag

Abundance Bound,

 

I’m single and have no real possessions.  Do I need a will?

Although you may not need a will, you should be thinking about your estate plan. Here are some areas you’ll want to consider.

  • Investments and cash accounts. Add a TOD (sometimes called POD….”transfer/payable on death”) to your checking, money market and investment accounts. This gives someone your money when you pass away without it being hung up in court. IRA plans and 401k’s allow you to name specific beneficiaries on the account. Check these during open enrollment times to ensure you’ve picked the right people.
  • Health care patient advocate. Let’s pretend you have an accident and can’t talk to the doctors. Who will you allow to speak with medical professionals on your behalf? In most states, this person is called your “patient advocate.” Although it’s possible for a court to assign someone later, it’s a better idea to have this prepared in advance by an attorney.
  • Workplace life insurance. Even if you don’t have insurance outside of work, most companies give employees free insurance. Pick beneficiaries so this “free money” doesn’t go to waste.

While I’d say a will might be overkill, an estate plan covers all of these areas.

5 Lessons from 2011

This time of year I like to look back over the last twelve months and reflect. For me, life is about making mistakes–mentors have told me that if you don’t make any mistakes, you aren’t moving fast enough. This year has been a whirlwind, so I must have made some real doozies!

While it certainly can be difficult, I try not to dwell on my missteps as long as I learn from them. At this time of year, I also like to learn from events and the mistakes of others. There are five that I think are well worth reflecting on before we march into 2012:

1) Don’t Wait on Government…In Fact, Don’t Wait.

Politics seemed to enter our life more than ever this year, with Republicans and Democrats waiting to the last minute before passing legislation in several key areas, including funding to keep the government open!

I’ve met people who’ve said that they can’t do any long-range planning because they’re unsure what measures the government is about to pass, or they aren’t sure if the tax structure is going to change, or they want to wait and see who the next president is.

Most artisans work on a 1099 income basis, so some important areas such as health care and small business taxes can have a big impact on your bottom line.

….but does this mean you should wait?

Waiting on the government doesn’t make any sense to me. Is it better to have a plan in place that you may need to adjust or to have no plan at all? I’d always prefer to revisit my plan when the government finally decides their actions, than be held hostage to whatever political problems crop up.

The Bottom line: Plan now and adjust as events occur. (more…)

5 Steps to a Better Business in 2012

I have to admit, I’m a perfectionist about planning my business. While making dinner, my mind races through lists of ways to perfect my craft. When folding laundry, I’m usually strategizing about my next potential project. My mind seems to always be at work on the next “better” idea, even when daily mundane tasks rule the moment.

I was reading management guru Tom Peters recently, who stated that balance is baloney. Top people in any field don’t have balance. They obsess. They strategize non-stop. They’re always looking for the better idea, the perfect “new thing.”

As a bit of an obsessor myself, I mostly agreed with his statement, except in one area. You shouldn’t obsess about your money.

It’s actually easier to obsess about business if you’ve done a good job of setting up a sound financial structure. By taking care of some small details today, you’ll be able to focus all of your energy on your craft. (more…)

Using Online Bank Accounts

So you’ve finally checked your bank statement to discover that you’re getting nearly no interest from your savings account. Should you check out online bank accounts or are those risky?

Internet banking isn’t for everyone. I could never tell my mother to open an online account because she wouldn’t know how to withdraw funds and would worry that she couldn’t run down to the corner to take it out. That said, usually your best interest rates are going to be found with large, reliable banks online.

There are two considerations –

  • Are you internet savvy and comfortable saving online? If so, explore away! Websites such as www.bankrate.com will help you compare interest rates when deciding where to invest. You should also check out bankrate’s list of star rankings when determining which firm to trust with your money. All banks aren’t created equal.

If you aren’t internet savvy, it’s better to stay close to home. Check to see if you’re eligible for a credit union. You may be surprised to find very competitive interest rates, which are often better than those at the bank.

  • How quickly can you remove the funds? Remember that a savings account pays a low interest rate because it offers quick liquidity. If you’re saving online but don’t have an easy method to access funds, you may defeat the purpose.

You may also want to check other account types at your bank. Often, banks offer higher interest money market accounts with higher rates as long as you promise not to touch them often.

From the Mailbag

Hi Miata,

Should I set up a separate business account for the small amount I earn from my craft? It seems like overkill because I make so little.

– Jasmine

Dear Jasmine,

Absolutely.

Keeping craft money separate from household funds is important for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Separate funds create a scorecard. Many artists want to track how they’re performing financially from their art. By keeping it separate, you’ll have a gauge of how far you’ve come. You’ll also know how far you need to go, which can be an important motivator.
  • Supplies for your craft should come from craft income whenever possible. This helps you become a better business person and make decisions based on profits and losses. By keeping purchases in line with income you’ll avoid investing hard-won money into a “hobby” and remember to make sound decisions whenever possible.

If the dollars you earn are very small, and you’re also not spending much money on your craft, you can start by setting up a personal savings account with your current bank. You won’t need a business account until you have a steady stream of income and/or expenses.

Check out Artist’s Prosperity 101 for clear and simple instruction on the financial separation of your business life from your personal life. AND, don’t forget to register for  The Power of Prosperity – a completely FREE teleseminar/webcast coming up on Thursday, July 21st. I’ll address your question in more detail and share lots of tips to help you powerfully manage your money as a Creative Soul!