Little Mantras & Ideas to Make Your Musician’s Life Easier
Following info I distilled from my notes I made while reading “Financial Aerobics” (by Richard M. Krawczyk) many years ago.
A really great book I highly recommend.
You can check out or buy the book on the left by clicking on the title.
While this is a book on getting your finances in shape, many of the things he discusses are applicable to musician’s life.
Moreover: even the financial advice is useful, because we all know we all suffer our occasional bouts of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). 🙂
The more ways we know off to spend less or earn more, the more money we have left to buy music toys.
I wanted to share this with you here because all these insights which I need to keep reminding myself off every once in a while, have proven helpful through the years and probably might make your life easier too.
- It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep!!!
- The process of becoming wealthy is more fulfilling and more fun than the actual being wealthy
- First; you learn how to lower your current expenses.
Second: you learn how to invest safely to increase investment income
- I can achieve ANYTHING I want in life. The only thing that matters is my desire and willingness to succeed.
- A dream and a plan… A dream is something you hope to achieve someday in the future. A plan is something you are going to achieve.
- Wealth is in your head, not in your pocket.
- Money is a thought form, it is a symbol of energy and as such it has no real, intrinsic value.
- Great exercise: carry $5000 cash on you at all times. It makes you walk taller, it gives you more confidence, it causes you to psychologically react different.
Trick your mind into believing that you are really really rich and wealthy
- The mentality of wealth is a trained response. Program your brain to think that you are a millionaire right now. The money is already in your account, you just can not access the funds yet. You choose to buy your Porsche and your new house when the funds clear.
- Find a wealthy person you admire and do exactly the same thing: this is the quickest way to get wealthy.
- Several times a year, I should drop the dead weight from my life: never surround yourself with people who are negative, or with negativity. Don’t have people around you who say something can not be done.
- If you have very ambitious goals and desires: you just need to be more aggressive in your approach.
- You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want.
- ALWAYS PAY YOURSELF FIRST.
- Train with Kurt Rexford to get my six pack. (contact Richard M Krawczyk to find Kurt’s contact info)
- Have a “slush fund”: up to 6 months of montly earnings in an account where you have instant access to these funds.
- The quickest and easiest way to become financially fit is to let compound interest do the work for you.
- DO NOT throw money into a CD account (the 4% is barely gonna help you break even with inflation): instead, go for a 10-15% return on your investment.
- To become financially fit, you can NOT simply save… you have to invest.
- Do not invest in money market accounts: low return.
- Put your money in a government guaranteed investment where you can earn 18%, 25% or even 50%, backed 100% by the government. (where do you think the banks invest their money???)
- OR into mutual funds that earn well over 20% per year, some over 60%.
- Pay your bills with an Asset Management Account (AMA). Think of an AMA like a high-interest bearing checking account. They are not available at your local bank. Some brokerages may also call this a Cash Management Account. It is nothing more than a Money Market Mutual Fund that has check writing features. Some even have debit cards. (it may take as long as 2 weeks for these checks to clear, meanwhile, your interest compounds daily)
- Get an AMA (Asset Management Account). Call the 5 banks from page 62
- Maximize investment profit by minimizing investment expenses.
- The world’s safest investments: tax lien certificates.
- When you buy stocks or invest, choose wisely, like you would buy a house: don’t just make decisions based solely on what a salesman or broker claims to be good for you.
- Understand both leveraged and non-leveraged investments.
Buying a house with a mortgage is using leverage (someone else’s money) (is a leveraged investment) to purchase a major investment.
- So is borrowing against the equity in your home to invest in a business or some other profit-making venture.
- Smart thing to do: when you have a house, take a substantial sum from the home equity loan and invest it into a mutual fund account or a government guaranteed tax lien certificate that could earn 20%, 25% or even 50%.
- There’s 2 ways to invest:
a. Using cash on hand (= non leveraged): easier, more straightforward, but you are restricted in how much profit you can make.
b. Using someone else’s cash (= leveraged): you can create much more profit and there’s far great tax benefits. (being able to deduct interest paid on the loan from your taxes).
- Leveraged investment will free up my cash and pump up my financial muscles.
- It is not what you earn… it is what you save… that makes you rich and wealthy.
- Money you don’t waste is money that makes you financially fit.
- Spend less than you earn, and invest the difference.
- Only 2 things you need to do to become financially fit:
a. When you spend, don’t waste (i.e. save)
b. Use the money you have to make more money (i.e. invest)
- 10 tricks to save:
a. Join Sam’s Club or Costco or another consumer warehouse club. Always buy in large quantities at a substantial discount. Pay for perishables in cash or debit card. (NOT with credit cards).
b. Use coupons, especially when a product or service is not on sale. (check the coupons on Val-Pak). Check out websites like www.mightyshopper.com for massive savings.
c. Never buy clothing on impulse. Don’t buy clothing at status department stores if you can help it.
d. Learn to cook: eat more from home. Less restaurant costs is a huge money saver.
e. Never pay full service for an airlines ticket, car rental, etc… DO NOT WASTE FREQUENT FLYER BENEFITS.
f. If you are spending more than $15 per month on bank fees, consider changing banks.
- Find a bank that won’t hold your check deposits
a. Banks are not required to hold your money
b. Some banks will waive the holding period if you ask them to.
i. When the holding period is suspended (which might require you to do some other business with the band: savings acct, personal loan, etc…): confirm it in writing with a request that you be notified of any change in that policy in advance.
- Find a bank that will give you automatic overdraft protection. (make sure to get NSF policies in writing).
- Do NOT get a money market account, it is barely better than a savings or checking account at your bank
- DO look into a “money market mutual fund account”. The interest gets automatically reinvested in shares. Basically everything that has the word “fund” in it, is good.
- NEVER KEEP MONEY IN A BUSINESS CHECKING ACCOUNT. Keep large cash balances like tax payments into a money market fund account. You can then write a check to deposit into your business account whenever you wish, or you can arrange for wire transfers if you need access to funds immediately.
- Get rid of savings account and put your money in a no-load mutual fund.
- Open an Asset Management Account (AMA) instead of a checking account.
- IRA = Individual Retirement Account. Save on taxes while you’re stashing money away. You can have your IRA purchase tax lien certificates. Look into getting a Keogh Plan (HR10) instead.
- Keogh Plans work much much better than IRA’s. They are for the self-employed.
a. Contribute to the maximum. And go for maximum tax savings impact. There’s 2 kinds: defined benefit and defined contribution. (check with the IRS rules to determine which one gives you the best tax savings.)
b. You need an independent trustee if you want to invest in tax liens, real estate or discount mortgages, law requires it.
c. DO NOT KEEP YOUR KEOGH OR IRA IN A BANK. Just make sure you roll over the funds directly into similar fund, plan or from one trustee to another.
- Don’t pay for insurance policy that “pays off the loan when the borrower dies”
- IF for whatever reason you decide you want life insurance: DO NOT get Whole Life Insurance or Universal Life Insurance. These are RIP OFFS. Instead; go for Term Life Insurance. (Life insurance was initially designed to replace the loss of income of a particular family member when they die)
- RAISE your automobile insurance deductible. (it lowers your premium)
- Health insurance:
a. You don’t want: Higher individual rates… you DO want lower group rates
b. You don’t want: deductible $250… you do want deductible $1000
c. You don’t want: stop loss 80/20 to $1000, you DO want 80/20 to $5000
d. You don’t want: Claim Payments reasonable and customary… you do want Regular
e. You don’t want claim time 6 weeks, you do want 14 days
f. You don’t want: company sell in 1 or 2 states, you DO want a cie that sells in 40 or more states
g. You don’t want cie rating Below A… you DO want A or above.
h. You DO NOT want coverage for: maternity, dental, supplemental accident or prescription card.
- VIDEO TAPE the inside and outside of your home and keep the tape safe in a safe deposit box with all of your valuable papers.
- Make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers any computer equipment or jewelry. Make sure you purchase “replacement value coverage” and not “market value coverage”.
- PMI (Private mortgage insurance). Lenders require this if your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. This is an insurance policy that lenders require that you purchase in the event that you should default on your loan. If you refinance your home, you can except to receive a refund of any unused premiums that your mortgage company required you to purchase. If you have lived in your property for quite some time of you reside in an area that has significantly increased in value since you last appraisal, you can simply ask the insurance to cancel this policy.
- IMPORTANT: Control all future car purchases by paying only for what you want. Use high value leverage, or CASH to buy a car. (don’t loan money if you can help it.)
- Detach your emotions from your car purchase.
- Perfect credit: you need a FICO score of 730 or above.
- Do NEVER give your keys to a car sales person!!!!!!! (they do not need to drive your car to know what the value of it is.)
- Car sales people will never show you the real blue book. Do your research BEFORE going to buy a car.
- CAR INTEREST IS NOT DEDUCTIBLE ON YOUR TAXES.
- Buy a car when it is 2-3 years old… don’t buy cars new… that is a HUGE waste.
- Don’t try to get a car for cost: no dealer will sell you a car without some profit.
- If you sell your car: NEVER accept personal checks or a promise. Only accept cash or a certified check.
You probably might feel that many of the above things are common sense or not something that needs to be pointed out.
Yet, I find that oftentimes, it does not hurt to be reminded every once in a while to apply the simple things that are so common sense that we start taking them for granted.
It happens all too often that we forget to apply the things we take for granted.
This list is really only the tip of the iceberg.
There are literally hundreds more tips and tons of advice in the book. Strongly recommended!
Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.
Meanwhile: give this blog a rating and give me your feedback in the comments section below. I believe everything can always be improved, and I gladly would implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.