Friday, April 30, 2010

Good Money Habits That Work: Living Below Your Means

As any seasoned entrepreneur can tell you: There is no single formula or recipe to become rich. Most successful musicians will tell you the same story: It takes a lot of hard work to arrive at a point where you are financially on a sound footing. There is however one way to increase your financial net worth over time by simply living below your means. Spend less than you earn and you will increase your wealth over time.

To meet some role models for the notion of living well within your means, please consider this insightful article: Five Billionaires Who Live Below Their Means.

Topping the list is Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest self-made billionaires and also one of the most successful investors of our time.  Mr. Buffett is the most un-assuming, low profile person you could ever meet.  As legend goes, he still lives in the same house he bought decades ago for only $31,500.  How is that for an example of dealing with real-estate bubbles. 

Mr. Buffet may be the epitome of the "living below your means" school of thought and he may have taken things to an extreme.  But the lesson is clear: Spending less than you earn could be the single most important habit ensuring a sound financial future.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Credit Card Rules & The Time Value Of Money

Every now and then, governments implement useful new regulations.  It was the case when Tobacco companies were required to put health risk warnings on all their products and advertisements and here is another one which has been long overdue IMHO. The Federal Reserve's new rules for credit card companies mean greater protections for consumers.  On their Website, the Federal Reserve lists some key changes you should expect from your credit card company beginning on February 22, 2010.

There are various new rules which all make sense in terms of limiting the shark-like behavior of some of the more notorious credit card companies.  Perhaps the most relevant changes that could affect you positively are the new rules for late payments and minimum payments.

Have you looked at your credit card statement recently? The first page should now look something like this:


The prominent displays of late payment and minimum payment warnings should provide some deterrent for all of us credit hungry musicians. 

As an exercise, hopefully creating some form of an “aha” effect, use the 2 examples above to truly understand the difference of paying something today versus delaying payment. This is a perfect illustration of the time value of money, a concept we will be spending a lot of time with in the future. Meanwhile, take out your calculators and run through some calculations. 

You can also see a great cartoon on the subject at our previous post Funny Money.

As we concluded then, it’s always best to pay off your credit card balance in full!

For questions, comments and suggestions, please feel free to use the commentary section or email:

Please help us spread the word and promote financial literacy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Funny Money, the fun site to learn about money

This is an excellent concept I just came across: Funny Money is a website based in Canada using cartoons and interactive tools to teach kids and  about basic concepts of money.  As they put it: North America's #1 fun-ancial seminar.

Please check out this excellent cartoon: Get it on Credit

The cartoon teaches you some basics about credit cards. While being entertained they also learning about credit cards, payment terms, compound interest and credit scores.

Enjoy the cartoon and remember to pay off your credit card balance in full!


Click here to watch the video

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why Teach Basic Finance Skills To Musicians?

A recent national survey by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the largest independent regulator for US securities firms, reveals a disturbing lack of competence when it comes to basic financial literacy among US individuals. 

The study also suggests, among many other alarming trends, that younger individuals display a much lower financial literacy than older individuals.

Source: Financial Capability in the United States. FINRA Investor Education Foundation, December 2009

Many musicians, particularly the younger and upcoming talents, are somewhat clueless when it comes to handling their own personal finances. This needs to change - now more so than ever that tougher economic times are looming upon us all.

Financial literacy is not an art form nor is it an innate ability or talent.  Most of the concepts of understanding finance are based on simple math skills (Middle School level) and a bit of common sense, all of which can be taught at any age.  These fundamental skills need to be taught and practiced just as a musician would need to practice many years before embarking on a career in music.

A musician needs to build up the motor skills as well as the musical understanding and likewise do students need to learn, understand, and practice basic financial skills to better manage their personal finances.  Here's a simple rule:  It's not how much you make but how much you keep that defines your financial future!

Most importantly, by teaching musicians (and artists in general) to understand their own personal financial situation and enabling them to live within their financial means, we can elevate a much larger group of musicians to the ranks of “working musicians” and “working artist”.  All those musicians who would otherwise be forced to wait tables or work odd jobs could devote much more time towards developing their craft.  Music and art in general might experience a whole new renaissance.

Please help us spread the word and promote financial literacy!

For questions, comments and suggestions, please feel free to use the commentary section or email: