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One thing to consider once you get your first job in the arts: Do you need an emergency fund?

One thing to consider once you get your first job in the arts: Do you need an emergency fund?

Starting an emergency fund is a tip that you will find in any financial planner’s playbook.  The minute an artist finds a full-time or consistent job, he or she should think about this:

  • Save 3-6 months’ worth of expenses as soon as you can

One down side of the entertainment & arts industry continues to be that workers’ compensation benefits are few and far between. Let’s say you get hurt training or rehearsing on your own time.  If you are lucky enough to carry health insurance with a benefit for when you are unable to work, you are covered. But, for the majority of us…getting hurt means a rough couple of months ahead. You either 1) go to work and spend twice as long in pain, as it will take twice as long to recover if you are on your injury constantly; or, 2) you spend your whole recovery stressing out over how you are going to eat and pay rent!

If you have money set aside to cover your expenses should you get hurt, you won’t have to worry.  You have plenty of time to think about what your next step is. Think about how smooth your recovery will be if you don’t have to stress about anything else, except your injury!

Consider another scenario. What about the companies you are working for now?  I hear artists say, “Oh, they have insurance. I don’t need to worry.” Do you really know what type of insurance they have?  Regular event companies are only required to carry a “liability policy” during their events.  Liability policies only cover all the other people at the event.  Let’s say you are stilt walking and fall on someone.  Guess who is not covered?  That’s right, you are not.  The person you fell on is entitled to a portion of the $2 million liability policy, but not you!

In this situation, you are going to be forced to take some time off to recuperate.  What better idea than to have money set aside to aid you in your recovery?  It might even end up being like an extended vacation at that point!

So, what happens if I don’t have money saved? A couple of things normally happen.

  • As previously mentioned, artists go back to work and only make their injury worse OR take way more time to recover because they are too active on their injury.
  • If they do not have the option to go back to work, the credit card gets pulled out to cover this non-paid vacation.  Do you even want to imagine the debt you would accrue if you were out of work for 3 months? And…don’t even get me started on the interest you will pay on your credit card!
  • Here is a positive one. J You are very, very frugal and you must eat beans and rice and not turn the lights on for the time you are out of work. Does that sound pleasant?

Do you really want to take the risk?  Don’t make the mistake of saying “that will never happen to me.”  Let me just tell you it happens to everyone, including me.  Don’t find yourself injured without a financial back-up plan!


There’s one exception to not having workers’ compensation in our industry. If you happen to be lucky enough to be a part of a union contract, such as Actors Equity or SAG-AFTRA, or a big company like a theme park, you may have the ability to be covered by workers’ compensation.  Even then, remember that workers compensation normally only provides up to 66% of your regular pay, and sometimes you might not see the money for a couple of weeks.  Having a little extra saved up will help you to bridge the time between not getting paid and receiving workers’ comp.  The last thing you need in a healthy recovery is things out of the ordinary!

What do I do with this 3-6 months’ worth of expenses?

I am not a financial planner, so I am not going to give any specific financial advice. But, what I will say is a simple search on Google of “What do I do with my emergency fund?” returns lots of good advice.  The general idea is to keep the money in a safe place that is easy to reach within a couple of days.

Still need some help?

I recommend @DaveRamsey at www.DaveRamsey.com! His book Total Money Makeover is a great way to go and super easy to follow!

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Note: AuditionInside is not a workers compensation or financial expert.  Seek professional advice before making any decisions relating to workers compensation claims or banking.

By Zachary Miller

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This Blog was published on EzineArticles.com!


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