The only way you continue to get paid in Monopoly is to keep going around the board. I’m not talking about just “pass go and collect $200.” Once you snag some properties, you cannot simply abstain from rolling the dice and pray that your fellow game players happen to land on your holdings. If you want to enhance those assets, you have to keep moving to add the structures that make you more money.
Money is a shallow motivator, however. We do not keep moving around the board to obtain more Monopoly money. We do it so that we can fund our strategies and ultimately win the game. Having money makes the game more fun and less stressful. Wouldn’t you agree?
Your 29 Days to Diva Challenge for Day 16 is to Create Your Own Wealth Plan.
If you are already treating your singing career like a small business, then you are completely capable of treating your wealth building with the same care and intention.
I am going to fervently jump on my soapbox here for a moment but stick with me. I think it would have a profound impact on the “classical music is dying” conversation if there were more agents of classical music actually making a sustainable life in the arts — and not just in academia.
It is an easy excuse to fall back on to say, “I wanted to be an opera singer, but it was too expensive so I couldn’t follow my dreams.” I also find that singers are pushed into accepting that they will be low-income earners almost for life. “You should find a dull, monotonous job so it doesn’t interfere with your singing career.” Haven’t you heard this one? I have.
Or, even worse, we are often the students/alumni with the most out-of-whack ratio when it comes to student loan debt versus job prospects. Yet, musicians are highly skilled in areas that traditional workers lack. There we are, however, working for annual salaries of $12K, trying to pay rent for apartments in NYC, scraping together money for application/audition fees, and kept in an outrageous debt cycle.
Some singers truly believe that they shouldn’t make money until later (is this like a ‘method’ La Bohème thing?) rather than realizing they have the ability to create wealth which ultimately means freedom. Doesn’t freedom sound really good right now?
Habits of Wealth Building
Your wealth is determined by your habits, divas. There are four habits at which musicians are already skilled that will help drive your wealth creation. These are habits you have already applied in your lives, now it is time to turn that power to your financial well-being.
We talk a lot about goal setting for our career during #29DaystoDiva. Well, we also need to set wealth goals for ourselves. That is as simple as looking at last year’s tax returns and saying, “I want to make a 2% increase next year.”
Or, look at a program you want to do next summer and say, “the opportunity cost will be X number of dollars to do this program. I am going to save twice that to make sure I can fully commit to that program and not have to worry about the finances.”
Once we know where the mark is, it is much easier to know what sacrifices you can and should make. Everyday you make a choice between consumption for today and wealth for tomorrow. Do not be suckered into spending money, especially for singing, that is not right for you right now. Honesty, self-evaluation, and sacrifice all go together here.
Building wealth comes down to three steps: spend less than you make, earn more, and invest well so that you can reap the returns. Are they easy steps? I will grant you they are not always easy when you primarily work in a field that fights over whether or not to work for free…
The patience part often comes veiled. For example, working for someone else is part of the diligence and perseverance habit. Let patience meet you at the trailhead for your path to wealth creation. It is a long walk.
Todd Tresidder of Financial Mentor has a wonderful little equation to remember that is perfect for this step:
[(Small, Smart Choices) * (Consistency) * (Time)] = Wealth
We constantly invest in our future success as musicians by going to school, taking lessons, paying for training programs, meeting with coaches, and gosh, the list could go on. Have you considered doing the same for your wealth? If your goal is to work for yourself as a freelance singer, you will want to have a Library of Alexandria in your head revolving around managing your money.
There will be no magic moment where the money starts to pour in. You will simply accumulate more as you increase your skills and your network wealth. If it is too difficult to think about planning for your retirement now, think about where you want to be financially in three or five years. Sketch out the plan and identify the knowledge gaps.
I know you know how to do this part, divas. However, I don’t want you to just work hard to work hard. Don’t take on another job that is simply exchanging dollars for the time you spend there. That is exhausting and takes us even farther away from the freedom we so desire. I want you to find your top-level skills and monetize them. Give value. The world needs all of your skills and is willing to compensate you for them.
Wealth building requires incredible discipline. Isn’t it wonderful that skill is already baked into who we are as people? We are precisely the kinds of people who have what it takes to build wealth, invest it, and share it to form the world in which we want to live. Growing up in a solidly middle class family taught me one, among many, true fact: money is a tool and should be used as such. Without a plan for access to, employment of, and care for the tool, you will never enjoy its true benefits.
Oh what fun it is to ride with my divas who also slay…
Subscribe to the Sybaritic Singer email list so you can get your FREE Diva Audit now. It’s the perfect sexy little document to get you started on this #29DaystoDiva journey. Let’s slay this thing together, divas.