Is it realistic for artists to think "One day, I'll retire"? Christina Empedocles knows about the financial concerns of artists. A working artist represented by several San Francisco-based galleries, Christina also runs Insight Personal Finance, a company that aims to improve the financial health of creative entrepreneurs. In this episode, Christina acknowledges the financial hurdles that artists face--fluctuating income, being responsible for your own raise, lack of benefits---and provides specific strategies that artists have successfully employed to overcome them.
Overcome Mental Hurdles About Money
"There’s a lot of baggage around art and money, so a lot of people have a hard time looking at what they make, and think 'I should be making more.'"
"What first established your relationship with money? It can be really be powerful to think about, and help eliminate engrained money behavior that isn’t working for us."
"When you’re doing this yourself, you have to pull all the levers and it can feel like a burden. But the best time to get started is now; the sooner you start building this structure, it lowers the risk of your creative practice."
"I started teaching myself finance. I started to realize we [artists] were doing it wrong: a lot of people in the community wanted to avoid dealing with their money."
Financial Planning for Artists
"Artists are great at having the long view. We have big visions, and the vision of what we want to accomplish carries us through the fluctuations of our career."
"Your art practice will change; it’s absolutely necessary to plan for it. I don’t want to hustle to find rent money when I’m 80!"
"Artists and entrepreneurs tend to invest everything back into the business, not in the future. I see that as taking on more risk."
"Don’t just reinvest in the art practice. If you want to have agency over the work, you have to become immaculate with money."
"If we don’t think about inflation and just working without increasing our prices, after a few years, the impact of inflation is immediate and painful."
Strategies for Financial Health
"Look at ways to increase income every year; look at all of your skills and think 'How am I using them?'"
"Align your spending with your values, and reroute the money that you save toward your goals."
"There are so many money leaks we may not know are there until we start paying attention. Bad habits can be huge drains on our ability to save; we look at the opportunity costs to see what that money can do."
"The worst that can happen from preparing is having a chunk of money for your future self!"