4 Ways to Finding Financial Independence

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C4 Atlanta wishes you and yours the happiest 4th of July celebrations!

Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, or your cat freedom is on the brain. For this Independence Day C4 Atlanta wants to provide you with some ways to begin your journey towards Financial Independence.

As an artist you may cringe at the words “Financial Independence”. More often than not Financial Independence is considered a synonym for Independently Wealthy… hence the bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The good news is you don’t need a large trust fund, inheritance, or six-figure salary to find the kind of financial independence needed live a life not reliant upon others. This may seem like a far fetched dream for many artists and creatives who work freelance and don’t maintain a full-time job. It doesn’t have to be. Financial Independence is a reality that is more achievable than many realize.

Here are some steps and suggestions for building a more financially sustainable future:

1. Have a plan.

bucketlistBefore you can begin working towards financial independence you have to know what that looks like for you. Everyone has their own dreams and desires. This means no one can identify the financial freedom need to to achieve your goals other than you. Ask yourself what financial independence personally means? Is it owning your own home, retiring at 50, or simply having the freedom to travel across the country? No matter what your answer(s) know that you have to have a goal. All finances, budgeting, and savings is tied deeply into goal setting. You have to know what path to take before you can begin walking it. If you don’t currently have long-term and short-term goals for your future this is the time to start.

2. Pay attention.

This seems like a no brainer, but ask yourself how frequently you actually sit down and balance your budget to acknowledge your spending. Once a month? Once a week? NineSpendingandSavingTipsAwareness is power when it comes to finances, and you can’t be aware if you never spend time actually looking at how you spend your money. This is more than just collecting receipts in your jean pockets. You should take a simple 5 to 10 minutes out of every day to acknowledge how you spent the day before. This is a process. One that may be difficult for many, but there are easy and simple ways to achieve it. Many large banks have options such as a daily text messages to let you know how much money you have in the bank or when your account drops below $25. There are fantastic applications for your phone like MINT Bills, PocketGuard, Home Budget, and Level Money which provide a user-friendly money management interface that can help you gain a better picture of how you are spending your money. This kind of awareness is key in staying within the goals and budgeting you laid out for yourself in Step One so you can continue to work towards reaching those goals.

3. Protect yourself.

consumer_financial_protectionThis is one of the hardest things that freelance artists and creative will deal with when trying to build financial freedom. The simplest and most effective way to protect yourself is to pay yourself. This might sound selfish, but to reach your vision of financial independence you HAVE to put yourself first. This means prioritizing saving money ahead of EVERYTHING else. Put money into savings before you pay all utilities, buy groceries, and even handle rent. By doing this first you encourage yourself to live on a smaller budget for the monthly expenses you normally incur. If you do work for an employer, have them deduct a specific amount from your paycheck every month. If you never see that money… there’s no way you can spend it. If you are a freelance artist that works on commission or contract make it a point to put a percentage of each job into savings. This kind of dedicated contribution will ensure that you are living on what’s left after paying yourself which is a fantastic way to begin building wealth and security measures in case of emergencies.

Another way to protect yourself includes maintaining a separate business and personal account. This is paramount in making sure that small business owners keep separate financial records from their personal spending, and is highly recommended by the Small Business Administration.

4. Think smart & frugal.

By simply reading this post you’ve already taken a vested interest in thinking smarter about your finances and spending. YAY! Of course, the action of doing so is the harder part of the cycle.

Artists are some of the most frugal people I’ve ever met. They know how to stretch a dollar for all it’s worth, so the suggestion of spending much less than you earn shouldn’t come as a surprise. Unfortunately, this is often very difficult for some. If you struggle with your spending consider ways of cutting cost such as coupons, the Freecycle Network, and buying supplies in bulk or from the “oops paint” section of Home Depot. To be able to truly think smart about finances you have focus on widening the gap between spending and income.

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First you have to track your expenses as previously mentioned in Step Three, so you will have a clearer view of what things you can cut to keep lifestyle inflation to a minimum. Next you have to begin tackling high interest rates to minimize you debt. There are many ways that you an approach this including the Snowball Method, but realize that everyone’s debt is different and therefore everyone’s approach will be different. This is where a professional CPA can be beneficial. The key here is recognizing that ignoring your debt isn’t an option, and accumulating more consumer debt is also not an option. Equally as important is researching insurance policies that will protect your assets. These assets can include ANYTHING that you own from your computer to art work to your car. 

Lastly, to be smart you have to be flexible. Some days and months are bound to be more difficult than others, but you need to be in a place to deal with the unexpected. If you have a savings plan in place then you’ll have a safety net when it’s needed. If you’re laid off or in a dead month… CUT EXPENSES! Don’t wait to deplete your savings before you cut back on your spending.

You don’t need millions of dollars to achieve financial independence for yourself and loved ones. Anyone can take the following 4 steps and implement them in ways that are most applicable to their current lifestyle. The most important thing is that you’re working towards smart spending and saving so that you can reach your personal goals in the future. 


Interested in learning more about financial management?

Join C4 Atlanta this summer for a series of courses specifically focused on gaining and managing money.

 FinLit Image - FacebookJuly 8, 2016 from 10:30am to 1:30pm @ the Fuse Arts Center

$25 for Members; $35 for Non-Members

Enroll Here.

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July 16, 2016 from 10:30am to 1:30pm @ Binders Art Supply – Ponce City Market

$25 for Members; $35 for Non-Members

Enroll Here.

Finding Dinero: The Art of Grant Writing

August 20, 2016 from 10:30am to 1:30pm @ the Fuse Arts Center

$25 for Members; $35 for Non-Members

Enroll Here.

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