Financial Planning for Creatives

Happy Money by Deborah Carlson
Note: The following is a guest article by Luna Jaffe, Chief Executive Officer of Lunaria Financial, a firm that specializes in helping creatives cultivate a healthy, sustainable relationship with money. I love that. And I love Luna’s work. She makes the topic of money sound almost fun with a shade of wonder. -Jeffrey

Most creatives would prefer having a root canal over making an appointment with a financial planner.  The dread of talking about money can lead to avoidance, denial, anger or utter confusion.

How do you as a creative know that you need financial advisement?  And if so, how do you find and receive financial advice that helps you develop competence and use creativity to build healthy strategies and investment savvy?

First, you know you need financial planning or advice when:

  • You want to figure out how to optimize what you earn to make more time to create;
  • You know you know nothing about money so would just assume not talk about it;
  • You just learned that you will be receiving a big bonus or a book advance and fear you’ll blow it;
  • You yearn to shift out of a soul-numbing job and don’t have a clue how to do the financial side of following your creative passion;
  • Money is a source of tension, resentment, disagreement or anger in your primary relationship; or
  • When younger you deliberately avoided the “retirement” mentality but now that the fact of mortality has settled in, you’d like a clue about how to build a nest egg.

Let’s assume “yes” to one of the above.

The next step is to find the right person to work with.  The creative soul and the world of financial planning often mismatch. Yet, some advisors not only will understand your situation but some of them also know how to leverage your strengths to create a plan that makes sense to you.

First, seek someone who shares your values. Such a person is more likely to speak your language.  Ask friends whom they work with and what they like about the person.  Pay attention to how they describe the adviser and whether it resonates with you.

Then arrange to interview them.  Ask questions like these:

  • What do you love about being a financial planner?
  • What did you do prior to this career?
  • How do you help creative types build financial muscle and competence?
  • What other areas of your life do you draw on when working with your clients?
  • How do you address the emotional side of money in your practice?

That last question is essential. The challenge of learning how to be in relationship with your money has little to do with intelligence and everything to do with being taught in a manner and language that you understand.  The missing link often is emotion.  It needs to be welcomed, vetted, and given permission to be present in the room.  Otherwise overwhelm takes over, hearing diminishes, and voices from the past rear up their ugly heads.

Then, understand how the adviser/planner is compensated and address this right away in the conversation.  Working with someone on an hourly basis is a great way to start since the adviser is focused on advising rather than selling you a “solution” to your problem.  Commission-based advisers can be helpful but typically only work with you if you invest your money with them.

Consider your background. If you are seeking financial advice for the first time, you’ll want someone willing to grow with you.  If you have a significant portfolio already, you’ll want to know the adviser has adequate skills to help you make solid investment choices, while also developing easy to follow strategies for building wealth, reducing taxes and protecting your nest egg with proper insurance and estate planning.

It sounds daunting, but take it one step at a time. With guidance and accountability from an adviser, you will be surprised at how much calmer and more organized you feel.

The next question you may have is, “What exactly can I expect to get from this experience?”

Most importantly, you should receive a careful evaluation of your current financial situation, along with an opportunity to define goals you want to work towards, like getting your will written or building up a savings account.  An adviser will take your goals and help you to prioritize them while also pointing out any blind spots or potential pitfalls.

If you need accountability, then work that into your relationship by scheduling a follow-up appointment.  Most likely you already know yourself well enough to know how your resistance might show up.  Talk about it openly so that the adviser can help you through that obstacle.

With encouragement, understanding, and action you can engage your creative self in the pursuit of financial health, and often a gifted adviser or planner by your side makes the journey more comfortable and successful.

Additional resources:

Directions for Women

Creative Wealth International

Allyson Stanfield, ArtBizcoach

Shell Tain,

Bari Tessler Linden,

Lunaria Financial,

What are you hang ups with money? How do you “relate” to money in a way that helps you flourish as a creative?

Luna Jaffe, CFP, MA guides clients through the process of growing wealth along with wisdom. She believes that your values are more important than your valuables, and that developing a healthy, sustainable relationship with money is vital to feeling successful and happy.  Financial planning is an adventure, sometimes arduous and other times peaceful and steady.  Luna’s firm, Lunaria Financial, Ltd. is located in Portland, OR, and she works with clients nationally and internationally. Securities & Advisory Services Offered Through KMS Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC

You can attend Luna’s workshop WILD MONEY: Write Your Money Story on May 5-6 at Lunaria Financial in Portland, OR.







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  1. Jeffrey ~ what a pleasure to see the post here from Luna. First off – thank you for the introduction to her last summer.

    Until recently I wasn’t really “aware” of any money issues I had. That all changed this year when my accountant called to tell me I owed the IRS over $12K in taxes for 2011.

    Overwhelmed and horrified I realized that I had become somewhat “ostrich like” as a direct result of what had started with the economy back in 2007/2008. When my investments were taking a hit I had decided I wasn’t going to look at them for fear of wanting to yank them all. That “ostrich” behavior went into other areas of money.

    While overall I have good money habits I made a rookie mistake in my business by not setting aside money to pay the IRS. I have spent an enormous number of hours the past few weeks assessing EVERY penny and where it goes – both for my business and in my household.

    Part of my work involved a session with Luna. At first I was kind of embarrassed to talk to anyone (because I didn’t want to be perceived as “stupid”). I’m glad I worked past that fear and spoke to Luna. She gave me a road map…and while that road map still looks really daunting (it’s a long journey!) I feel better knowing where I’m going and somehow (not sure how quite yet) I know that 2012 will be better for me.

    Luna – if you see this comment….thank you, again, for your time with me. <3