Managing your money as a freelancer is rather tricky, but my career as an award-winning Welsh operatic tenor has lead me to learn how to manage my money most efficiently with a variable income. After discovering the F.I.R.E community (Financial Independence Retire Early), my passion for personal finance solidified. My financial goals became very clear, and I understood what actionable tips I needed to implement to start moving towards financial freedom.
Helping musicians manage their money.
There is no university course or schooling that prepares you for the freelance life, and I found myself learning purely through trial and error. I began to realize that musicians are struggling with the same core issues: - How do I manage a variable income? - Do I separate my personal income and professional income? - How do I get a mortgage as a freelancer? Budgeting, self-employment, negotiating fees, international income, invoicing, and planning for the future are just a handful of tasks that I deal with on a daily basis.
The problem & solution.
Money is taboo, and there is a fear around the topic of finances. Instagram is rife with influencers posting about their brand new car or fancy holiday, but there is very little financial transparency. If we don’t talk about money, how are we to know when someone is funding their lifestyle on a credit card? There are a limited amount of resources available online for musicians wanting to improve their financial situation, and therefore I created The Art of Money Saving. Speaking about topical financial issues, I aim to educate those wanting to learn more about managing their money.
What is F.I.R.E (Financial Independence Retire Early)?
Financial independence is unique and tailored differently for every different individual. Simply put: it’s having the freedom to do what you want to do with your life, without having to worry about the financial implications. As musicians, this is something that I’m sure resonates with us all. Ever taken on a gig that has destroyed your soul, but you’ve said yes because you know it’s going to pay the bills? If you’re financially independent, you have the choice to turn down such work if you don’t feel it aligns with your values. Perhaps retiring early doesn’t appeal to you at all. You already love what you do, so why would you be thinking about retiring from a job that you love? Financial independence all comes down to choice. If you make informed financial decisions for the long-term, this will give you more freedom and flexibility later on in life. Want to continue to work until you’re in your 60’s, then that’s no problem. But at least you have a choice to choose how you spend your time, rather than being forced to work a job that you’ve fallen out of love with.
How do I achieve F.I.R.E?
So how do you achieve financial independence? This is how it looks for me: - No consumer debt at all (excluding student loans in the UK). - Living below your means. E:g: making more than you spend. - Investing a proportion (normally a high proportion) of your income into a low-cost ETF investment. - Letting the investment grow for the long-term, and not touching the money. There are countless ways to achieve FI, but the above is a well-trodden path and one that seems to be most common. Once you’ve paid off your debt, are living below your means, and have started your investing journey, you’ll want to have a think about your ‘FI Number’. Your FI number can be calculated by 25 X your annual expenses. Annual expenses are what you SPEND, not what you EARN. So, for example …. If you spend £25,000 per year …. your FI number would be £625,000. This is of course a very simplistic calculation and doesn’t take into account any of the variables such as inflation, starting a family or losing your job etc. If you calculate your FI number, you can then start to calculate how you’re going to reach that £625,000 number. Now, much of this might sound quite overwhelming if the concept is new to you. But don’t worry! The resources on this website will start to help clarify things, but it may take some time for you to understand the financial jargon. I’ll be here to help in the meantime 🙂
Who are you?
My name is Joshua. I was born in South Wales, and have always had an interest in finances from a young age. During my school days, I started my own business selling sweets in the schoolyard. I loved the buzz of dealing with customers, managing money, and making profits! My entrepreneurial spirit weakened as I got older. I focused on my studies and completed my master's degree in opera studies. The coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt, and I found myself wanting to try out new ideas. As well as starting a number of side hustles, I created The Art of Money Saving. Running a YouTube channel, Podcast, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page keeps me on my toes.
Why just musicians?
I’ve spent over ten years working as a professional musician, and classical music is, therefore, my area of expertise. There are only a handful of musicians speaking about how they manage their money. Whilst my content is created to help self-employed musicians, that does not mean it is not applicable for folks in other sectors. I interview folks from a variety of sectors in my Podcast (The Art of Money Saving Podcast), and believe that there is a lot to be learned from folks working outside of the arts world.
How did you come up with the name?
The Art of Money Saving combines my two favourite passions. Art & saving money. Being creative is in every fiber of my being. I wake up in the morning and I want to create. It’s just the way I am! My second passion is saving money. So why not combine art and money saving, and let these two worlds collide? What you can do! Starting this venture is no simple task. Creating content takes hours upon hours, and there are also associated costs when starting up a website, podcast, and YouTube channel. The most simple thing you can do is support the channel by engaging with the content. Writing a comment or leaving a podcast review can make all the difference!