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I can't count to four; how am I supposed to money?

  • Writer's pictureCaroline Olsen

Don't listen to me.

It is what I yell at my boyfriend when he calls out, "you sound great!" while I practice. But mostly, it's advice to you regarding this blog. Maybe someday I'll graduate from fumbling finance idiot to someone with authority on the matter. But for now, if you want a friend in fumbling, stick around and we'll have a good cry together.

I want to open up my journey slog through personal finance to my community of singers. It's something I've started researching recently, for reasons I'll get into in another post. Many of us have tenuous-to-dire finances due to low earnings, high student loan debt, and lack of equity. Our retirement accounts are near-empty, with no employer contributions and low contribution limits. We get slammed with self-employment tax, not to mention all the various headaches surrounding 1099 life. And as singers, we often have the pleasure of getting onstage with union instrumentalists while enjoying much lower pay and no benefits.

We don't do it for the money. We do it because it feels as natural as breathing, and we pay a great price (emotionally and literally) for the great spiritual privileges of making music. We know this already. But considering the price we pay, why not learn how to reduce it, just a little?

This blog is not just for starving artists. The first area of study will be retirement, and it will include the question, "I have some wealth; what do I do with it?" I really want to delve into all sorts of retirement accounts and other saving options and their associated numbers. There's sort of a staggering variety, and even some that are pretty hush-hush and commonly only used as tax shelters by the very wealthy. Hey, wait a minute, I want in!

So come back for retirement, taxes, budgeting and saving, debt, investing, home economics, passive income, side hustles, correlating careers, gig fees, and whatever else we can manage to talk about. I promise it'll be an existentially dreadful hoot.

Disclaimer: Do I need to reiterate, don't listen to me? Like, I can't begin to stress how much I'm not an expert, and you shouldn't take anything I say as actual financial advice. I just want to get singers talking about this, and I've decided I'm going to be the first to run my mouth. I am a singer, after all.

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