Posts Tagged ‘financial planning’

2014 Year End Tax Planning: Good Holiday Fun

2014 Year End Tax Planning: Good Holiday Fun
2014 Sunset

Ready for some good times?

I love the holidays. Lights. Friends gathering. Tax planning.

I know what you’re thinking: one of those three doesn’t belong… but tax planning CAN be a whole festival of fun, even for creative people, because it can save you lots (and I mean lots) of money. Just like holiday shopping, though, there’s a clear deadline to tax planning. If you don’t want to miss out on the best tax “deals” you have to move on many of these tasks by December 31st – before the sun sets on 2014! (Okay so maybe I wanted a reason to use this beautiful photo…)

Like anything involving the government or numbers, many of my clients freeze whenever we begin talking about taxes. The first step in this game is to relax! Tax planning, believe it or not, can be easy to understand. Plus, the lessons you’ll learn will last your lifetime. As the government makes changes I’ve found I only have to adjust my thinking slightly.

Here are five tips to help you save some money on taxes: (more…)

Lowering the Cost of “The American Dream” Part I

AmericanDreamA recent USA Today article caught my eye. They said that the “American Dream” now costs $130,000 a year. Wow! Even as someone who works with people on their money, I was astounded. For those wanting to focus on creative endeavors that can feel like an impossible amount.

….then I began reading.

Let’s take a look at their list of expenses and consider how we might be able to make the dream more affordable (for a complete list of expenses and how they arrived at each portion, here’s a link to the actual USA Today story). Today we’ll tackle just the essential expenses, and then in my next blog post I’ll break down the rest of the budget.

These expenses assume a family of four living in a $275,000 home.

Housing: $17,062

Groceries: 12,659

Car Expenses: $11,039

Medical Expenses: $9,144

Education Expenses: $4,000

Apparel: $2,631

Utilities: $1,956

Essentials Total: $58,491

Before I tear into these numbers, it’s important to note that most people don’t know what they spend, so all of these numbers look high. When I work with people on their budget they nearly always find that they’re spending more in each of these areas than they thought. Those little one-time expenses really begin adding up. (more…)

Hiring Pros? 5 Guidelines To Save You From Delegating to A Scammer

moneyHiring Pros? 5 Guidelines To Save You From Delegating to A Scammer

When I read about young Nickelodeon star Drake Bell declaring bankruptcy, I thought immediately about how vulnerable we are as artists.

If we want to succeed we have to be able to focus on our work. That focus means that we need to become good delegators, and often it’s the financial parts of our lives that are at least partially handed off to other people.

Why do we hand off something as important as money? That one is easy. Finance can feel cold and calculating, or boring to someone just learning. Certain aspects of our financial lives might require the ability to decipher contracts, understand interest rates and follow obscure metrics. That can be overwhelming…and underwhelming at the same time! (more…)

Fighting Past “I Can’t Afford It”

How often have you caught yourself saying: “I Can’t Afford It”?  That’s one of the most disempowering phrases we can use in our creative lives. “I can’t afford it” is the financial equivalent of “I don’t deserve it” or “I’m not ready for it.” Of course you deserve it, and of course, you’re ready.

You just have to tell yourself that you are ready, you deserve it, and all you need is a plan.

Now perhaps there truly are some things you may not be able to afford. Like this yacht…

However, more often than not, you could (and should) be breaking down life into two columns:

–       I don’t want it.

Or

–       I am creating a plan to have it.

Let’s explore these two options: (more…)

Why You Need to Start Saving for Retirement NOW! …A Success Story

I recently received this email from an actor who just finished working through the Artist’s Prosperity Home Study System:

Miata,

I just have to write and tell you how excited I am to have found you! I’ve been an actor for five years, struggling along with everyone else, and I finally decided that enough is enough: I need to put together a plan so I can really focus.

All of this time, I thought I had already been focusing on my art, when in reality, I was part-timing everything: my job, my family and my craft. Now, you’ve put me on a path that I don’t think I could have accomplished myself. I have an emergency fund, a separate checking account for my business, and for the first time, real hope for the future. While I have yet to score that elusive “great part,” my auditions are much better. I believe this is because I come in focused and without worrying about “how broke I am.” Sure, I still worry about money, but not in the “OMG, I need this role” desperate way that I have in the past.

Thank you again for what you do. I just wanted to let you know there are people out there who appreciate you very much.

Jessica

It is rewarding when we hear from folks who have started to take control of their financial futures, because the unfortunate truth is that many people simply never will.

I was just reading some statistics from a group called the Employee Benefit Research Institute. While most Abundance Bound readers are self-employed (and not employees of others), we frequently fall into these same traps and the results of their recent retirement survey weren’t encouraging: (more…)

Investing and Creativity

A talking head on television the other day said, “It takes deep creativity to find quality investment opportunities.”

Is this true?

If investing is about creativity, how come so many members of our community cover their ears the second an investing discussion begins? Why aren’t we the best investors of all?

In fact, when I think of investing, I don’t think about artists. I think about button down suits and Wall Street types. Maybe we’ve been wrong all along.

I think the talking head is right. We should be the world’s best investors. Legendary mutual fund manager Sir John Templeton built a reputation on always looking left automatically if the crowd was gazing to the right. That sounds like our community, doesn’t it? We see the unexpected, feel what others miss, and bring life to what others pass over as the mundane pieces of the world.

Imagine how rich we’d be if we applied our natural abilities to good financial management!

We can apply our abilities to financial planning. We can be great investors. All it requires is for us to overlay the areas where we already excel onto a new palate of good financial habits. (more…)

I Do! I Like Them, Sam-I-Am!

I was busy with my semi-annual deep clean of my children’s rooms the other day and came across an old Dr. Seuss favorite: Green Eggs & Ham. Although I think you all know the story, I’ll give you the quick executive summary:

Grumpy furry guy says he doesn’t like green eggs and ham.

Sam asks him to try them before passing judgment.

Grumpy furry guy decides to try them.

He falls in love with green eggs and ham.

The end.

 

In my experience, most people seem to be like the grumpy furry guy. A good friend of mine disliked classical music until I dragged him to a concert. Fast forward five years and he’s calling us to ask if we want to accompany him to the symphony.

It’s fine to dislike music, because although I’d argue that it’s good for your soul, neither your health nor pocketbook are at stake. But when you decide you don’t like investing money, or prefer not to use certain tools to save, it could cost you financially. (more…)

Overwhelmed With Financial Planning? Here’s Where to Start

A friend recently said, “I don’t know how you keep all of this straight…what the Dow Jones is doing, what’s a good rate on a credit card, how a will works, the right type of life insurance. Ouch! It makes my head hurt.”

You may feel the same way about your financial picture. Between your craft, family, friends and obligations, it seems like a huge hassle to remember everything you need to know.

But there’s good news: it’s not that difficult.

I imagine you might be thinking, “Ha! Easy for you to say. You do this every day.”

I understand that it’s a whole new world for many of our readers, but I’m serious: it’s not that difficult.

Sure, you might not understand every point about finalizing a mortgage or how to tell a good mutual fund from a bad one, but like any task, if you organize it correctly, it’s easy to see what you really need to know now and what can wait for later. (more…)

Becoming Your Own Simon Cowell

Okay – tell the truth. Even though it can sting a little…don’t you find you appreciate honest, good quality feedback? There are very few people who give us straight advice about anything…especially finances. How am I doing? Could I do better? What needs improvement?

In short, many of us need a Simon Cowell.

I find it kind of painful to watch many of the auditions for shows like American Idol. If you think about it, doesn’t this kind of sum up the average American – Dancing – With – The Voice – Talent contestant’s thought pattern:

  • Decide that it’s easier to work your way through a competition than to pay your dues and learn your craft.
  • Fail miserably (and publicly) because you weren’t ready for prime time.
  • Blame the judges for not seeing the unique talent that is you.

That might sound harsh…but notice the contestants who make it through the audition process and even go on to win. Hear their story. Usually, they’re the ones who came to the show most prepared.

Imagine you’re going to perform for Simon Cowell:

Shouldn’t you make sure you’re absolutely polished before the show? What will you do to make sure you’re ready?

You’re going to hone your craft until you know every inflection, every note of the performance. By the time you’re finished, you’ll even know what the writer was thinking when they wrote the song. You won’t just sing it…if you’re ready, you’ll feel it.

When it comes to financial planning, it’s the same. (more…)