As I do when I’ve found a topic I’m interested in, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole that involves reading and/or listening to personal finance books and scouring the internet in search of financial resources for creatives. I tell everyone what I’m researching in the hopes of mining their book lists and podcast libraries for recommendations. Then, amidst writing my daily blog, coaching, and working on my first online course, I try to take it all in.
This shift in the focus of my coaching practice began at the beginning of the year after a series of events made me realize the urgent need that creatives have for support around how to access financial wellbeing. After years of untangling my complicated relationship with money, I thought that I could finally move onto paying off my student debt and building out my career as a professional writer.
Despite my best efforts, however, I kept being reminded of how much time, energy, and money I had put into accessing financial wellbeing. How I had spent over two years doing everything from working with multiple coaches on my emotional relationship to money to learning how to budget to creating payment systems for the freelance work that I do. While I had been willing—and privileged enough—to go deep into the topic of creating financial wellbeing as a creative, I couldn’t ignore the reality that this isn’t the case for everyone.
What’s more, most of the personal finance resources I picked up in the past two-ish years were incomplete. Some of them framed financial wellbeing as making a certain amount of money without speaking to ways of understanding human value separate from capitalist ideals. Others provided how-to plans that didn’t address the very real ways that creatives struggle with “doing” when financial doom feels imminent. A lot of them talked about changing your mindset around money but their suggestions where mostly one-size-fits-all.
Then I was introduced to a community of writers and artists in Detroit who changed everything for me. Not only did the folks I connected to there help me get back into my creative writing practice, they also reminded me that money is an uncomfortable, loaded, and sometimes scary topic for most creative folks. The artists and writers I am getting to know need the conversations we are having about money to be about so much more than just money. We need to talk about money and art’s intersection with race, class, economic justice, and access.
We need to explore, together, what it means to do creative work—and sustain ourselves financially—as capitalism spins out of control around us. We need to figure out how to support each other so that we all get to eat and so that the POC voices that have been systematically silenced become the loudest in the room. We need to experiment with how we can each contribute to the collective so that our individual resources become shared assets that are able to sustain us well into the future.
My contribution will be around supporting my peers and collaborators and friends to access financial wellbeing in a deeply personal way. Which feels like a calling; like the work I am meant to be doing in my time on this earth. It feels like a big promise and it also feels like the most important promise. So it’s the one I’m choosing to make. I promise to listen to and support you in accessing the financial wellbeing that will allow you to do your best work.
So tell me, please, what does financial wellbeing mean to you right now?