3 min read

How Financial Wellness Helps You Do your Most Creative Work

I am not one to espouse the benefits of having a sound financial life as I've irresponsibly squandered many a good dollar in the music store in my short time here, but I do want to call out that working towards financial health (or increasingly called Financial Wellness), really does contribute to a creative life.

The essence of this theory is that a person comes to grips with their financial situation and does not hide from the common challenges such as paying bills on time or keeping debt to manageable levels. I would imagine that 80% of people reading this have some sort of persistent challenges with money and that's ok.

The issue is that most people don't admit they are having these issues because money is off-limits in most conversations. Many families have money trauma that gets passed down from generation to generation, and you might not even be aware that the effects of The Great Depression are still lingering in many households to this day.

What does any of this have to do with your creative work?  The first is creating culture in your mind where you are realistic about problems you face, in the same way that if you were having a relationship or employment problem you wouldn't want to go about things and pretend that they're absolutely normal. Being realistic frees up a bit of space in your mind. It also creates what Maria Nemeth, author of The Energy of Money, describes as "breathing room".

A growth mindset is critical when dealing with finances because every day, week and month a new deck of cards presents itself. You might have been bad at handling money in the past, but if you adopt the point of view that everything is a work in progress and you are working to an ideal state, you will be better off than if you sit ruminating over past financial blunders and create an identity of someone who is simply bad with money and doomed to a life of financial ruin.

But more importantly, as you work towards sorting out various financial issues, you start to free up capacity to do creative work. Because some of your most creative work will likely not be the work that pays all your bills. Imagine being able to finance the ability to work on any type of music or art that you like? And I mean really finance it, like hire musicians or actors and a good publicist to promote it to all the news media.

Financial wellness is tied to creative habits also because it helps train the artist to start to think about ways to make their work sustainable. We need to be realistic that building a music or art studio costs money and maintanence fees over time. Starting to work through issues that you have around money will help you ask for a fair price when it comes time to sell access to your work.

Some tips at becoming more financially healthy:

  1. Be aware of what your bills add up to every month. This is more important than ever as we deal with inflation and that number has been going up. You may be reluctant to write it down but this is the first step to sorting your situation out.
  2. Only after step one is achieved can you be clear on how much money you need to survive, and additionally, how much money you need to thrive. The way you want to live is a personal choice. Wealth has been misconstrued to symbolize flying around in private jets, but it really just represents the amount of money you need to be comfortable. No one can define wealth for you.
  3. Be grateful when money comes in and when money goes out. This is a lesson from Ken Honda, the author of Happy Money. We can often become complacent over time and we take it for granted when money comes in from a source such as a job that's a daily grind or a gig that didn't go well. We then might be reluctant to spend money on things that we need. In both cases we should treat our intersections with money with a sense of gratitude.
  4. Check your bank account as often as you can. When we're financially squeezed this can be a difficult place to look, but it's better than living in denial about how much money is sitting in there. If you look at it and you're unhappy by what you see, you can then take the necessary action to improve the situation.
  5. Say the mantra, "I created this", and take responsibility for your financial wellness journey. People who feel that their situation is someone else's fault don't have the ability to take action to improve because it was never their responsibility in the first place. Get out of the habit of blaming other people for your misfortunes and put yourself in the driver seat instead.

Thanks for reading this creative habit, I hope you found it useful and don't be afraid to talk about money issues with your friends and family if you can.