Today we are talking about debt.
I have been wanting to write about this for some time as it is something I have personally battled and defeated. My goal with this post is for those of your reading this to be encouraged and motivated to not only take hold of your debt but to sweat it off.
I want to start by talking from the perspective of a musician/artist and say that the list of things for artists to splurge money on is increasing with every letter I type. More press kits, more booking fees, more CD's to make, more advertising, more merchandise, more repairs, more gear, more more more. All in the name of growing your business and creating buzz. These places selling you on advertising and press kits and pro accounts are smart. They know you are likely desperate to "make it" and are willing to keep shelling out $$$ trying to do so. Am I against pro accounts, and sonicbids and merch? No way, but I do believe we bite off more than we can chew 99% of the time.
Getting into debt as a musician has never been easier. I recently spent $300 on a repair for my acoustic guitar, then another $110 for set up fees and then oops, tax season, and unlike some, we paid $2,899. Why am I telling you this? Because I get it. Being an artist is not a cheap thing. However, you have a choice.
3 years ago my wife and I decided that debt was not for us. Ever again. We had over 15k in car loans and 15k in credit card debt. Fed up doesn't describe the feeling. We decided that we had to do something radical. We knew we couldn't accomplish what we always wanted by constantly being dragged behind the bus. We wanted to drive our own bus, with comfy seats and AC. People asked questions, people still don't agree with me and that's fine. You don't have to, but here are a few reasons you should.
1. You will have money to spend on gear.
When you are living on a budget, how much do you want to spend on gear? You decide. Everything is not wide open anymore but everything you buy forces you to do it with more care and enjoy the process. Part of becoming debt free, you learn to live on a budget. On a budget, you learn to pay the bills, keep food in your belly and also have money for those pesky repairs. One of the biggest illusions is that you will never get to enjoy restaurants and movies and new guitars ever again if you were try to become debt free. Totally not true. If you are a married musician and you have struggled to find support from your spouse on some of the "necessary expenses". Seeing them coming months in advance makes it a lot easier to take down.
2. You will feel the freedom.
Getting rid of your financial stress gives you freedom in places you never thought it would. Our marriage has continued to constantly blossom over the past 3 years. We love our life. We feel free. Free to travel, free to afford some of those pro accounts and designers/photographers that we wouldn't have before.
3. You will have less distractions, more focus.
I cannot speak highly enough for the focus part. We thought we were focused on music before we started our journey, but learning to work hard together for what we love has caused us to take advantage of our downtime and turn it into something productive. Not having to worry about bills is definitely part of that.
4. You will make a difference.
Your family, your friends, your coworkers will take notice. Prepare to be ridiculed and laughed at for months. People are so caught up in questioning the possibility, the difficulty level and the reason. "What about your credit score?" "You can't spend cash for everything" "People don't buy cars with cash anymore". "You can't buy a house without a loan". Everything I just said has been said us at one point and we are going to defy every single odd. Yes we can. Will it take long hours and hard work? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? Absolutely,
5. You can build wealth.
When your time is not spent worrying about everything you owe, you suddenly have extra money free'd up that you didn't before. With this money you have the opportunity to invest, to save, to spend, to give. Kristy & I are working towards buying a house with cash. We believe that we can live out our dream of doing music without debt.
Don't believe the things you have heard through the grapevine. Do the research yourself. See the people living without debt and check their quality of life. You don't need a credit score unless you are planning to stay in debt. You don't HAVE to take a loan out to buy a house. And yes, cash and the power of green still work!
Image Cred: rgbstock.com
About the author// Zach Ford is a recording/performing artist with his wife Kristy in their band Young Ford and a writer for AmericaXL.
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