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When Does An Actor Need a Financial Planner?

A financial planner should not be confused with a financial plan. Every actor needs a financial plan, a strategy toward reaching small, incremental goals to propel the actor out of the starving-artist mentality. Actors at every level of professionalism should conduct their art as a business, with separate personal and business accounts that allow them to maintain solid record-keeping, track spending, and determine whether their acting career is functioning at a profit or loss. You don't need a financial planner to get you started on this road; you just need the gumption to make a small bit of paperwork a priority.

After this foundational work is managed, the trap many actors fall into is the carrot-on-a-stick mentality: "When I have more money, then I'll learn to manage it, or pay someone else to do all of that work for me." This is commonly the time when most actors turn their money over to a financial planner and pray that it will grow. Such misconceptions lead many actors to not begin a deeper relationship with their money until it's far too late. It's true that a financial planner may be part of your team; we often encourage it. But just like your relationship with your agent or manager, where no one cares about your career and agenda like you do, no one cares about your money the way you do. You must learn to direct others toward the decisions that appear right to you and manage a team, not hand over your power.

My advice: If and when you reach a plateau by exhausting the resources and time available to you, and you discover you need additional members of your team to provide guidance or to bounce ideas off of, then it will be time to pick up the phone. By then, more than likely, you'll have the confidence to create a real dialogue with a financial planner. Then you can interview several until you find one who will work with you in the pursuit of your goals.

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