Financial Advisors for Artists: Guides to Financial Well Being

A good financial advisor is like a doctor: they can diagnose your money issues, direct you to the cure and help you sustain day to day good financial decisions. Despite the unique challenges of creative business, financial advisors for artists can be the difference between success and burnout. 

A financial advisor is intimately aware of how finances impact us mentally and physically. They are sensitive to your relationship to money and how relationships influence money. They know that building wealth—whether you have it or don’t—impacts our health. As trained professionals, they are adept at reading personal and business financial documents and can align your balance sheet with you, and guide you to a healthier cash position. As guides, they can help you define where you want to go financially and show you the path to get there. A financial advisor is a critical member of a thriving creative business team.

(Attend our Pro-session with Financial Advisor Christina Snyder to learn whether a financial advisor should be your next step. Join our Coworking with Creatives invite list to not miss out on future Pro-sessions.)

What makes a good financial advisor for creative professionals?

Good relationships are built on good communication. 

You will know you have found a potential advisor when they welcome your “simple” questions about money and provide an understandable answer for you. Just as important, your financial advisor should be able to tell you things you don’t want to hear, and make you feel willing to listen.

Most financial advisors are adept at personal finances. 

If you are growing a business it can be equally important for your advisor to have a bit of familiarity with your primary source of revenue. Consider looking for someone who has experience with the arts sector and understands the unique challenges and opportunities of creative work. You might even find a collector willing to barter for services.

You are not the first person to seek out support on the complex topic of finances. Ask your peers who are helping them. Particularly, probe the folks whose circumstances seem similar to yours or whose circumstances are the ones you want to have in the future. 

How can you prepare to meet a financial advisor?

Like most relationships it is important to define where you are at and where you want to go together. A financial advisor will be interested in your current situation and what you want your future to look like. Good financial advisors for artists will also be prepared to help handle the ebb and flow of creative business. 

Share your current situation:

  • What is the general idea of your financial situation? You have a financial narrative of where your money comes from, where it usually goes and what it is doing for you, come aware of your journey.
  • What are the specific circumstances of your money? A balance sheet showing your assets and liability gives a snapshot view of your finances. A cash flow projection shows the opportunities to alter your balance sheet and invest in your future. Current financial statements will also suffice to explore the specifics of where you are at.
  • What is your relationship to money? It is important to share your knowledge as well as your comfort with finance. It is hard to know what you don’t know, but admit when the conversation exceeds your comprehension. Also be aware of how your emotions impact your actions with money.
  • What is your risk tolerance? Your ability to grow may require pain, know your limits and consider how you will react to a loss on paper and if you have time for the ups and downs of the fickle market.
  • What do you want to know from the advisor?

Share where you want to go:

  • What lifestyle do you want to live? To keep your household going and indulge in the experiences you desire you will spend a certain amount of money. Know your plan for regular expenses and what a spending plan might look like.
  • What major life milestones are on the horizon? College, marriage, children, home purchase, studio purchase, new revenue streams and retirement can all impact your financial situation. If you have ambitions, you can prepare to financially support those decisions.
  • What do you want life to be like in the future? You can prepare for anything, the key is to know where you want to go!

Consistency is Key

A good financial advisor will have the experience to see how small, incremental changes can have snowballing effects. They can help you create a plan that aligns with your values and then set rules to make sure you stay on track. This can help bring the big picture into focus for day-to-day decision-making. Ultimately it is up to you to meet your long-term goals with long-term commitments. 

Ideally these practices will help you not just to survive, but to thrive both creatively and financially. If you’re looking for tailored advice or need help getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out to a financial advisor—especially one who understands the unique nuances of the art world.