As we work here, at The Actors Fund, to help people begin their journey towards financial stability, one of the first areas that must be addressed is their mindset with regards to money. Many of us believe, consciously or subconsciously, that starving and struggling, is an automatic, even necessary, by-product of a career in the entertainment industry.
The truth is that it is very difficult, if not impossible to flourish, if you are coming from a place of financial stress and insecurity. Aren’t you tired of going into opportunities desperate to get the job, not so much for the love of the work, as for the paycheck? We bring that energy with us into the room – which often keeps the interview or audition from going our way.
The first step to creating significant positive changes in your finances, is honestly examining and shifting some of our deep seated, negative attitudes towards money. Our financial conditioning is something that we must begin to self-manage and is something we need to be aware of and correct the rest of our lives. We can’t check a box and say – “I'm done, I've arrived.” Our psychology will always be impacting our decision making process along our financial journey. Our conditioning is so much a part of who we are, at the cellular level, that we are able to rationalize our current financial position. . . even though we may know it's not where we want to be.
We have been conditioned about our money beliefs since we were young. During the early years of our lives, our financial conditioning was influenced to a great degree by those who provided care for us and were influential in our upbringing.
Relative to money and finances, what ideas did our grandparents have about money? How did that cause them to behave in relationship to their money - were they big savers, did they think they couldn't afford things, were they putting it away for a rainy day . . . or did they believe that money is the root of all evil? Probably for most, they lived through the Great Depression which created an entire generation who have a scarcity mindset rather than a prosperity mindset. And, unless your parents decided to think and behave differently toward money, you were probably conditioned with the same scarcity mindset that's passed down through the ages from one generation to the next.
Another way the generational scarcity mindset impacted our conditioning is that we were never taught to have conversations about money - out loud. It was as if there was some unspoken law that the topic of money was taboo! Given the fact that we're not taught to talk about money, it stands to reason that we would not be equipped with the proper mindset or tools to learn, acquire, manage and grow our financial profile.
Did any of those who conditioned you teach you the very basics of personal finance? Did they teach you how to balance your checkbook . . . the proper use of credit and credit cards . . . the basic use of cash management . . . how to budget and pay your bills . . . much less even think about teaching you how to invest or put money away so that it compounds for you. If you can answer yes to even one of these questions, you're in the minority.
This month, we encourage you to take the time to actually write down some of the beliefs you have about money. Honestly examine the list and ask yourself which beliefs continue to sabotage you. Now, make a second list of what you would like your thinking about money to be. Start carrying those lists with you. Stop yourself when you find your mind on a thought from the first list and make a conscious decision to shift that thought to one of your new, empowering beliefs.
Will you be the one who makes the commitment to take control of your financial education, taking the time to learn and develop the tools you need to get to the financial place you want to be? Will you be the one who accepts the responsibility for changing your negative attitudes about money and who stops the pattern of a generational scarcity mindset?
The only way you can do this is to start right now, right here! In so doing, you create the opportunity to raise your financial consciousness and in turn, have the ability to influence those around you.
The Actors Fund offers a complete financial wellness program, free for everyone in performing arts and entertainment. We invite you to learn more and participate in our series of seminars and workshops, designed to support you in the implementation of a personalized financial plan of action. Learn more about our Financial Wellness Program.