Career Advice

Are You Making One of These 6 Common Financial Mistakes?

Rawpixel

Many dancers would rather do just about anything than spend time on their finances. They procrastinate when it comes to recording their income and expenses, and put off investing for another day. As artists, we would rather be in the studio. But looking after your financial health can actually lead to more artistic freedom.


Here are six common traps to avoid:

1. Relying on credit cards

One of the worst traps an artist can fall into is living off of credit cards. Some performers do this between shows to make ends meet. But credit card and interest charges build quickly.

2. Shunning non-dance work

Adding part time work can make the difference between having extra money, and being unable to pay your bills. There is no shame in finding ways to support your art. When I was a dancer, I sold produce at a local farm each morning. In the afternoons and evenings, I taught ballet and yoga.

"A lack of career security is inherent to the path of an artist," says Miata Edoga, national financial wellness consultant for The Actors Fund. "Many performers believe that if they do anything outside of their creative career, they are less of an artist. Trust that you are a full person with many, many gifts. You can explore these talents to generate additional streams of income. Then, if the outside world isn't seeking the part of you that's a dancer, you'll have options."

3. Not writing a budget

Suze Orman once reported on "Oprah" that most people underestimate the amount they spend by about $500 per month, regardless of how much money they make. Take the time to go through your past expenses to get clarity on how you've been spending. Then try a free online program budgeting program like Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar where you can plan for all your expense categories. Edoga points out that many dancers often forget the big, but sporadic costs, like car repair.

4. Not saving enough

As a fledging professional dancer, I was advised by a Broadway dance captain to always save 10 percent of what I earned, including unemployment. If you don't earn enough to save from each check, bank your windfalls, like tax refunds, inheritances and gifts. If you aren't financially prepared, every trip to the dentist or unexpected vet bill will put you in the red. This takes focus away from your dance career.

If you are fortunate enough to land a high paying job, invest that money. "The Simple Path to Wealth" by J L Collins, provides a clear and easily executed roadmap to successful long-term investing.

5. Never buying a place to live

In New York and Los Angeles, most dancers rent rather than own property due to the extremely high cost of real estate. However, what seems like a terrific deal can later become a nightmare as your rent continues to increase.

If you'd like to purchase a home, but prices in your current market are too high, Edoga suggests considering outlying markets where you might later retire. Finding a modest, rentable fixer-upper can pay off handsomely when you're older. Keep an eye out for things like access to public transportation, inexpensive grocery stores, and a living space that is energy efficient.

6. Not planning for retirement

According to Dave Ramsey, planning for retirement is what makes the difference between being happy or miserable. Even while you pursue your performing career, you need to set goals for the last part of your life. Write down how much it will cost you to live when you are a senior, and make a plan for how to make it happen. Little changes, done over time, will make life comfortable in your later years.

The Conversation
News
Courtesy Ritzel

Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.

At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.

Keep reading... Show less
Trending
Jayme Thornton

When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.

"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Robbie Fairchild in a still from In This Life, directed by Bat-Sheva Guez. Photo courtesy Michelle Tabnick PR

Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.

While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.

Keep reading... Show less
The Creative Process
Terry Notary in a movement capture suit during the filming of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Photo by Sigtor Kildal, Courtesy Notary

When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.

The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.

Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox