Category: Finances

COVID-19 Concerned: Personal Finance During Crisis

C4 Atlanta has recently shared some Pop-Up Classes for COVID-19 related issues. In an effort to make the content of these programs more accessible, we have recorded them so that artists may share the content with others or refer back to it.

On April 24, 2020, C4 Atlanta welcomed Rebecca Selkowe,  as facilitators for COVID-19 Concerned: Insurance Edition. 

This post contains the recording of this session. All information was current as of April 24, 2020 to the best of knowledge of our facilitators.

Please note: Content in this workshop is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an alternative to working with a social worker, health insurance navigator, or other insurance professional.

This program will not cover how to apply for relief programs like SBA loans or Unemployment Insurance but will cover information about what kinds of information is needed to apply and how to decide whether UI or SBA loans are right for you.

This workshop will focus on options available to artists affected by COVID-19 for personal finance help during COVID-19. This workshop is intended to help answer questions artists have about what options are available to them, how to navigate making decisions about what programs to apply for, and tips to manage or decrease current financial burdens.

Rebecca focused her workshop on a process of Intention, Attention, and Action. The process doesn’t change for artists because of the crisis, but the process may happen faster. This can help artists to take some of the fear of financial burden by focusing on what their needs are, fact-gathering, and planning a specific time to take action.

Rebecca shared some basic information about different financial relief programs available to artists during COVID-19. Some, such as state Unemployment Insurance for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, still had information coming out about the application process when this workshop aired.  Also, much of the information available is state-specific. The information shared here is based on our location of Atlanta, GA. Rebecca focused on the documentation and information folks may need to apply. Artist relief fund efforts were shared that could be stop-gap measures to help artists find ways to meet financial gaps, especially while waiting for other relief mechanisms to be awarded (such as UI or SBA Loans).

The different types of SBA relief available to freelance artists and sole proprietors were broken down so that artists could understand the differences between the programs offered. On the day of this workshop, additional funding for these resources was allotted by the Federal Government.

Lastly, Rebecca shares some basic money management expertise for how to handle money, investments, and budgeting during a time of crisis. She shared some tips for artists around debt reductions, best practices for handling your budgeting during times of uncertainty, and what to do about funds invested in the market, such as IRAs and 401ks.

Links Shared by Facilitators During this Session:

The Actors Fund: (917)281-5975 actorsfund.org

C4 Atlanta: 1-800-WOW-ARTS c4atlanta.org

Actors Fund Emergency Fund for (crisis fund for artists in any area of entertainment – also handling crisis funds for entertainment unions): actorsfund.org/am-i-eligible-help

Actors Fund Full Training Schedule (includes other online programs with Rebecca offered through Actors Fund): actorsfund.org/workshops

C4 Atlanta Full Training Calendar (all programs offered online during COVID-19 social distancing): c4atlanta.org/training

C4 Atlanta Lost Gig Fund: c4atlanta.org/covid19apply

C4 Atlanta COVID-19 Resources Blog (lists MANY relief funds and other artist resources for COVID-19): c4atlanta.org/2020/04/resourcefulness-is-the-bedrock-of-artistry/

TILA Studios Relief Fund (For Black Women Artists): tilastudios.com

National Black Arts Festival Artist Relief Fund (for Black Artists): nbaf.org (initial deadline has now passed)

Atlanta Artist Relief Fund: atlartsrelief.org

Kickstarter LIst of Artist Resources (shared courtesy of National Black Arts Festival Instagram site): kickstarter.com/articles/covid-19-coronavirus-artist-resources

Artist Relief Fund (MANY funders – up to $5000 for eligible artists, rolling applications): artistrelief.org

Georgia Department of Labor Unemployment Information for Folks Affected by COVID-19: dol.georgia.gov/gdol-covid-19-information

Georgia Department of Labor Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information (for folks SPECIFICALLY able to receive unemployment because of the expansion of eligibility from the CARES Act): https://dol.georgia.gov/pua

IRS.Gov information about eligibility requirements and disbursement for Economic Stimulus: irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center

Get My Payment Economic Stimulus Tool AND Non-Filers Enter Your Information (for getting your economic stimulus check if you have not filed or what to know when you might receive your payment): irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

SBA Loan Information from SBA.gov: sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

Open Path Collective (for sliding scale psychotherapy for uninsured folks): openpathcollective.org

Not mentioned in session but also helpful:

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources: covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com/

Smartpath Money Moves Quiz (fill out and it will help you identify sources of financial support that you may be eligible for based on your personal situation): moneymovesquiz.com

Lend Your Voice: Financial Planning Education for Artists

How I Feel After Paying Rent & BillsFor many artists, a little extra education about finance is always appreciated. Though I teach artists in our Ignite course how to distill their personal hopes and dreams into the words and plans that will help them get there, words and messaging will only get you so far. Without a sound financial strategy for yourself and your arts career that accurately reflects your hopes and dreams, the mission and the message has the potential to stagnate due to lack of funding.

To that affect, we’d like to know what you want to know about financial planning as it relates to YOUR future hopes and dreams. We are currently working with financial planner Mark DiGiovanni, CFP, to consider topics that would be most relevant to professional arts workers in an educational, vendor neutral workshop. This financial planning class would potentially be offered in Spring 2017 if there is interest.

Take the two question survey below, and let us know what’s most important to you! Survey will close on December 31, 2016.

 

Create your own user feedback survey

 

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.