Singers often gravitate toward the humanities because they like words rather than numbers. They would much rather count and mark their measures than budget and balance their checkbooks. Furthermore, I have met very few opera singers that have day jobs as financial planners which is regrettable. The business of opera is a legitimate business and singers will need to be fiscally prepared for the challenges ahead. This week during 29 Days to Diva we will focus on financial aspects of the journey. Which means that the
Day 13 challenge is to be a financial watchdog!
Have you ever found yourself wondering whether or not you still have that gift account from Grandma collecting dust somewhere? What about that college fund that your parents tried to set up for you? Perhaps you have a “mad money” account sitting around that hasn’t been reviewed in quite some time. Today is the day to put on your green eye-shades and fold that money into your portfolio. Step one: start thinking of your finances as your “portfolio.” Approach your money like a financial professional and you will start to see the advantages of a serious approach to growing your wealth.
Here are some tips from Good¹ and others to help you figure out where your money is hidden:
- First things first: track down ALL of your accounts, how much is in them, and the phone number for customer service. Keep all of this information is a centralized location that is also secure.
- “Collect warranties from the kitchen drawer, bills from the front hall table, and receipts from your wallet, and pile them in a central location in your house.”²
- Systematically go through your old financial documents and purge when necessary. Make sure you know how long to keep different types of financial documents.
- Ladies, check your purses. Gentlemen, empty your pockets. Everyone, be cognizant of the little places where money can collect. Although it’s a nice occurrence to find a wet $5 bill in your pocket, it probably shouldn’t happen. Keeping track of the small change won’t make you rich, but it’s a good habit to get into.
- Day jobs are great for subsidizing your health benefits. If you have these benefits, know where you stand with your health care deductible: both how much it is, and how much you’ve already used up.
- On a related note, if you had a Flexible Spending Account (money taken out pre-tax that is used for a variety of health care expenses) with your employer for 2011, contact your HR department and find out how much you have remaining in that account. Any FSA money you didn’t use by the of the year (or your employer’s grace period) is forfeited. Furthermore, the list of FSA-eligible expenses has just decreased considerably, most notably with the elimination of over-the-counter drugs. So if you’re still able to elect an FSA amount for 2012, plan accordingly.
- Sign up for Mint now. Mint automatically pulls all of your financial information into one place: savings, checking, investments, auto, and mortgage. If you need a little help getting your adult self into action, this is a good first step.
- Keep track of all fees your paying on your own money.
- Look out for ways that your cash could be earning more.
- Try to combine accounts and/or determine any credit cards that you are able close. Plus, take time to compare interest rates, annual fees, and billing cycles to see if there are better options.
- I am also a huge fan of Daily Worth for women. DailyWorth is a community of women who talk money. They deliver practical tips, empowering ideas, and the occasional kick in the pants daily to your inbox. They are all about working hard for the money and making your money work hard for you.
- Know where your negative money is as well. Debt can be elusive, and convenient to ignore, but knowing what you owe is equally as important as knowing what is already yours. Knowing both can help you match assets to liabilities, bring you to zero and start you on your way.
- Debt is a huge issue for most singers. Paying off those expensive undergrad and graduate school loans has stopped many musicians from realizing their potential. Do not fret, dears, we will cover this in more depth this week.
Financial prowess is a difficult step along our 29 Days to Diva (#29daystodiva) way but it is a very necessary challenge. You are possibly the best singer in the world with the most electrifying stage presence but if you cannot figure out how to pay the audition fees or keep your internet bill paid – you will not make it to the Met. Take the first step today by watching your finances. Be aware. Be proactive. Be less stressed about your money by monitoring your accounts.
What tips do you have for being a financial watchdog? What are your main concerns regarding singing and finance? Confess to us in the comments below! We promise to bring you more daily information to aid you in your diva ways.