Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

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…)

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…)

It Isn’t Enough to Care (a Guide to REALLY Perfecting Your Craft)

BrainFullA friend emailed me asking for help.

“I care so much about (my craft). Why does it always end up coming last?”

There’s a short answer to this question.

It isn’t enough to care.

I’d submit it isn’t even just about hard work.

It’s about systems.

Setting up systems to win is the key to your success. Financially, having systems for the right tasks is equally important.

The Sherlock Holmes Story

In one of the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, someone asks Sherlock about a piece of current events. Holmes replies that he has no idea what the person is talking about. The questioner is shocked. The great Sherlock Holmes doesn’t know something? Holmes replies that the mind is only so large. If you fill it with trivia, there won’t be room for the information you really need to be successful.

Practice The Sherlock Holmes Method of Systems

Your goal should be to fill your brain with your craft and the things that really matter to you. Therefore, everything that isn’t important shouldn’t take up very much space. (more…)

How to Save Money for Retirement Tax Free

RothIRAIn our last newsletter, I shared some tips on picking the right investment for your goals. But for many of us, another big question is this: “Where do I actually hold my investments?”

Much like artists generally have themes that run through their work, a prevailing theme you’ll find in financial planning is, “take advantage of tax shelters whenever possible.”

What’s a Tax Shelter?

Right now, the concept of a tax shelter might be as foreign to you as someone speaking an unfamiliar language. Honestly, for years I didn’t know the difference between a 401k and an IRA… However, once you’re able to work through this mumbo-jumbo of alphabet tax shelter soup, you’ll find that it isn’t as hard as it seems.

For most of us, the place to start is a Roth IRA.

(more…)

Volunteering is the Secret

Need to be reinvigorated? Try this secret formula          

You know the feeling. You have determination, drive, and the skills to achieve your dreams. You’ve worked long, hard hours to reach your goal and it still seems miles out of site. You’re not letting go, but it’s starting to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.

I learned a not-so-obvious solution for this common struggle, when I began studying productivity experts. I found it hard to believe at first, but they stressed that you’ll accomplish more by doing less at a time. If you plan regular breaks, you’ll work faster than if you maintain long, stressed-out hours. Because life (and your art) is a marathon, it’s better to work ten hour days and keep moving than it is to work a single 12 hour grind that leaves you fried for the next three days. That last two hours can put you in an early grave!

I found it difficult

Taking breaks didn’t make sense to me at first. I didn’t feel like I deserved them. When you’re on the road to success, you need to be at the wheel, don’t you? …and every pit stop slows you down.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that you don’t take breaks because you “deserve” them. You take them because you must have them to continue moving.

Ultra long distance runners—those crazy people who run 50 or 100 miles (or more) at a time–break regularly for food, drinks, or to chat. They know that the body is a collection of organs that all need rest. Even the winners of these super long races will break for ten to twenty minutes at a time, even though that’s putting them further behind the clock at that particular moment.

They’ve learned that by slowing down, they actually speed up in the long run!

Almost there…just needed a tweak

So, I began taking breaks while working on a new monologue, or developing course materials for Abundance Bound. They were good for me. I’d walk in the neighborhood, visit with friends, surf online, and let my mind wander. Still, the residue of my business and art continued to seep into these times. After a few breaks, I discovered that I wasn’t really taking a full “break.” I was using the walk for creative time to think about the work I was doing! While that was helpful over the short run, I was missing out on the key component of the break that makes it successful: I wasn’t completely away.

Then I discovered how I could escape AND rejuvenate. (more…)

5 Great Uses for a Tax Refund

In the 1986 classic movie Wall Street, Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) is a young up-and-coming stockbroker who’s trying to make his mark in the world of finance. As he’s adjusting his tie before a big meeting with the titan Gordon Gekko, he says, “Life is made up of a few big moments. This is one of them.”

Well believe it or not, if you expect to receive a tax refund check, you’re coming up on one of your “big moments.”

Every year, many people blow this chance to get ahead. They spend their refund on a big, frivolous purchase or take a vacation. While these might feel like fine short term uses of a refund check, there are several that could change your life, remove your debt, or help you build your business or security.

Here are my five favorite uses for a refund check:

1)    Wallop some debt. Here’s your big opportunity to focus on your art more. If you’re drowning in debt, you may find that your attention is focused more on side-jobs and instant income opportunities than the big picture. Clear your mind by getting rid of some debt payments.

For best results, tackle smaller debts first. Wiping these payments out creates  breathing room for your budget. If possible, use the money you save on these payments to tackle bigger debts next. Soon you’ll be on your way to being “debt-free” and focused on your income opportunities instead of the mountain of bills on the counter. (more…)

Avoiding Tax Time Stress

Don’t taxes stink?

While I love the promise of a new year, the threat of an upcoming tax season is absolutely exhausting! I think we creatives have it doubly bad; we work from the energy of bending rules and pushing boundaries. There are no bendable boundaries or rules with the IRS. Instead, it’s a simple game: do it right, the first time, on time, and you win. Everything else is unacceptable.

I tensed up writing that!

So, my goal at tax time is to control the amount of time and energy I have to spend on this task. If I can get my taxes filed and paid quickly and accurately, that’s about the biggest win I can imagine.

How do I do it? I’ll share with you some secrets that hopefully will make your tax season a little less stressful so you can focus on your art and not on April 15th. (more…)

5 Tales of Financial Horror

I know Halloween was last week, but let’s keep the fun alive with some financial horror stories. Didn’t you love horror stories as a kid? I liked them…until I tried to sleep. Then, more often then not, I spent the night staring at the ceiling, sure that at any minute some disconfigured arm would grab me from under the bed.

 

The bad news is that we all have friends who have real life financial horror stories. Their money problems make it difficult to sleep. Maybe you have those issues. There’s good news: many of these horrible stories we can fix simply by turning on the lights: if we know they’re out there, we can avoid them or find ways for them to vanish:

Horrible Story #1) There once was a man who paid an annual fee on his credit card! There’s no reason to pay annual fees for cards unless you’re a high-powered user. Too many cards are available with no fees that still give you a low interest rate and reward points. Only pay fees if you find a card which you are certain will be justified by the rewards that are unavailable from a non-fee card.

Tip: Use online comparison sites to determine which card best meets your needs without paying a fee. (more…)

How I Raised My Income $120 Per Month Without Working Harder

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

I realize I talk a lot in Abundance Bound workshops and this blog about avoiding “too good to be true”.

But there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to easily implement THE SAME strategy I used to pocket more money NOW.

How did I do it? Easy. I paid attention to taxes.

TAXES? UGHHH.

How can five little letters (t.a.x.e.s.) put people to sleep so easily? It’s the same for me. I can’t stand tax discussions. However, I love talking about how to get more money in our pockets. (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…)