Advertising
Advertising

3 Things Music Can Teach You About Money

3 Things Music Can Teach You About Money

While you may not think of turning to a musician for financial advice, music can teach us some interesting lessons about managing our finances.

As a life-long guitar player, I also play the financial calculator as a financial advisor/planner.  Though anyone would agree that being a musician and being a financial adviser are completely different career paths, I have come to the realization that the two are not that different after all.

Advertising

In fact, the habits that I have developed over the years as a guitarist have helped me enormously as a financial adviser, especially when interacting with my clients. There are three parallels I have found between learning to play an instrument and learning to successfully manage your finances:

Organization is a key factor in music and money

Think about a child banging on some kitchen pots or a jackhammer in the street. The erratic sounds can hardly be classified as music, because what distinguishes music from any other sound is organization. When someone decides to learn an instrument, they start by learning different scales, arpeggios, and chords. This system of organization enables them to transform haphazard noise into a unique and coherent piece of rhythm and melody.

Advertising

In the same way, successfully managing our finances must start with organization. Otherwise, without a good system in place, our financial life may look like haphazard decisions made based on fickle emotions rather than thoughtful planning. There are many various choices to be made when organizing your financial life, just as a musician has literally billions of patterns and combinations he could use to organize sound into music.

Tip to start organizing your finances: A simple way to start is to group your finances into smaller and more manageable units in the same way music is organized into scales, chords and arpeggios. For example, a group called Cash may consist of your cash flow, designed to track monthly cash surplus or cash deficit numbers. Giving could include your monthly charitable gifts. Time may include time based goals which may need funding such as a child going to college, or replacing your kitchen.

Advertising

Your music taste will dictate how you play, just as your personal values will dictate how you use your money

The musical preference of the musician will dictate the decisions that she makes while playing. For example, a flamenco guitarist and a rock guitarist use the same instrument to play, but their different musical tastes will determine which notes they use and which notes they leave out, their strumming technique, and the movement of their fingers along the fingerboard.

Similarly, a person’s financial decisions should reflect their personal values. A healthy financial life emerges when all of our financial decisions are in harmony with our personal values. For example, if you prioritize giving, you will be certain that your resources are set up in a way to share your wealth with family and perhaps get involved in philanthropic projects. While someone who prioritizes Risk above all may wish to maximize insurance coverage.

Advertising

Tip to start aligning your money with your values: Start by making a list of the things that you value most. Kind of like a “gratitude” list. Now take a good look at your financial life. Are your spending, saving, investing and making choices based on what matters most to you? Are there past decisions that you regret? Are there decisions that you keep putting off? What are the consequences if you take no action?

You can’t eliminate the financial aspect of risk, but it can be transferred to ease the blow

The best part of learning to play an instrument is getting to share the music with others. Yet there are inherent risks that come with playing for an audience. For example, during a guitar performance a string might pop, the guitar may go out of tune, or in a moment of panic the musician may forget the right chord to play. All these things are unplanned situations that will negatively impact the performance, but they shouldn’t make the musician fearful of playing. The musician cannot eliminate the risks, but they can mitigate them by placing an extra guitar on the stage, getting a digital tuner, or making sure they have a copy of the music handy.

Featured photo credit: Strum/Lucas Boesche via unsplash.com

More by this author

3 Things Music Can Teach You About Money

Trending in Money

1 The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind 2 How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements? 3 How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money 4 The Definitive Guide to Get Out of Debt Fast (And Forever) 5 35 Real Ways to Actually Make Money Online

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

Advertising

How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

Advertising

Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

Advertising

Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

Advertising

Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next