I had an interesting question posed to me recently. How do creatives engage with financial planners? Is it hard for creatives to embrace financial planning? Is the analytical side of planning a challenge for the creative minded? To define a creative, I propose the following. It’s a person with a never-ending, intense desire to produce based on originality of thought, expression that impacts nearly every aspect of their life, both in negative and positive ways.
Some would think that most creatives would prefer having a root canal over making an appointment with a financial planner. The dread of talking about money can lead to avoidance, denial, anger or utter confusion.
How do you as a creative know that you need financial advisement? And if so, how do you find and receive financial advice that helps you develop competence and use creativity to build healthy strategies and investment savvy?
First, you know you need financial planning or advice when:
- You want to figure out how to optimize what you earn to make more time to create;
- You know you know nothing about money so would just assume not talk about it;
- You just learned that you will be receiving a big bonus or a book advance and fear you’ll blow it;
- You yearn to shift out of a soul-numbing job and don’t have a clue how to do the financial side of following your creative passion;
- Money is a source of tension, resentment, disagreement or anger in your primary relationship; or
- When younger you deliberately avoided the “retirement” mentality but now that the fact of mortality has settled in, you’d like a clue about how to build a nest egg.
Let’s assume “yes” to one of the above.
The next step is to find the right person to work with. The creative soul and the world of financial planning often mismatch. Yet, some advisors not only will understand your situation but some of them also know how to leverage your strengths to create a plan that makes sense to you.
First, seek someone who shares your values. Such a person is more likely to speak your language. Ask friends whom they work with and what they like about the person. Pay attention to how they describe the adviser and whether it resonates with you.
Then arrange to interview them. Ask questions like these:
- What do you love about being a financial planner?
- What did you do prior to this career?
- How do you help creative types build financial muscle and competence?
- What other areas of your life do you draw on when working with your clients?
- How do you address the emotional side of money in your practice?
That last question is essential. The challenge of learning how to be in relationship with your money has little to do with intelligence and everything to do with being taught in a manner and language that you understand. The missing link often is emotion. It needs to be welcomed, vetted, and given permission to be present in the room. Otherwise overwhelm takes over, hearing diminishes, and voices from the past rear up their ugly heads.
Then, understand how the financial planner is compensated and address this right away in the conversation. Working with someone on an hourly basis is a great way to start since the adviser is focused on advising rather than selling you a “solution” to your problem. Commission-based advisers can be helpful but typically only work with you if you invest your money with them.
Consider your background. If you are seeking financial advice for the first time, you’ll want someone willing to grow with you. If you have a significant portfolio already, you’ll want to know the adviser has adequate skills to help you make solid investment choices, while also developing easy to follow strategies for building wealth, reducing taxes and protecting your nest egg with proper insurance and estate planning.
It sounds daunting, but take it one step at a time. With guidance and accountability from an adviser, you will be surprised at how much calmer and more organized you feel.
The next question you may have is, “What exactly can I expect to get from this experience?”
Most importantly, you should receive a careful evaluation of your current financial situation, along with an opportunity to define goals you want to work towards, like getting your will written or building up a savings account. An adviser will take your goals and help you to prioritize them while also pointing out any blind spots or potential pitfalls.
If you need accountability, then work that into your relationship by scheduling a follow-up appointment. Most likely you already know yourself well enough to know how your resistance might show up. Talk about it openly so that the adviser can help you through that obstacle.
With encouragement, understanding, and action you can engage your creative self in the pursuit of financial health, and often a gifted adviser or planner by your side makes the journey more comfortable and successful. I like to think that we embrace the creative mind set. Personally, I am a photographer and a painter and an analytic. This creates a unique combination that allows us to work with a lot of creative professionals. It resonates with Northern River’s branding. After all, the company was named after a famous painting. Our uniqueness is one way be are Keeping Life Current.