Boglehead Artists

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fourier
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2022 9:14 pm

Boglehead Artists

Post by fourier »

I am looking for advice from others in my situation. I am a Boglehead and an artist. I have a day job. I like my day job because I teach art. However, I prefer making art and the day job gets in the way of that for sure.

Most of the people on this forum talk about retirement in a way I cannot relate to. I want to retire from my day job, not to travel or play video games, but so I can do my other job, which is to be an artist.

I don't make nothing as an artist. I make about $15K-$30K per year. Not enough to live on, but about half of that, plus if I had more time to be an artist, I would have more time to get gigs, and would make more money. The money, however, is most certainly not predictable.

I also am a Boglehead, so I have a large deposit of $$ in low cost Index funds making a good chunk of change each year.

I wonder if anyone else is in this situation. My issue is, financially I feel I am in a different boat than most on this forum. I don't need to retire with 25-35X expenses because I will still make money after retirement. Furthermore, I often get to travel as part of being an artist and usually I get paid to do that. So I don't need to pay large sums on extravagant travel. I've done a lot of that on someone else's dime.

I don't mind being poor. I have been most of my adult life, and I haven't allowed lifestyle creep to sneak in unexpected now that I have a high paying job.

Anyone else in a similar boat? I'd love to hear your perspective.
runner3081
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by runner3081 »

You don't mention how old you are.

I think this is either 1) the situation everyone is in or 2) what everyone strives for.

The one thing I have learned from here is that you are better off retiring TO SOMETHING, rather than retiring to simply get away FROM SOMETHING.

Nice thing about making the money is that it decreases the need to tap your savings to find retirement.

I am in a similar situation, not an artist, but have a side hobby (a hustle, but I love it) that generates decent income, but I am not ready to quit my day job yet and jump all-in. I would probably be bored and anxious about running out of money at my age.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Just watching this thread with interest. I'm possibly moving into a continuing care retirement community (put down a refundable deposit; my goal is to move into it). I use to sell my abstracts at restaurants, yard sales, consignment stores, but stopped in part due to the confusion about taxes/hobby/business. I plan on starting up again when/if I move.
"History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living." Captain John Smith 1580-1631
JayB
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by JayB »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:58 am I am looking for advice from others in my situation. I am a Boglehead and an artist. I have a day job. I like my day job because I teach art. However, I prefer making art and the day job gets in the way of that for sure.

Most of the people on this forum talk about retirement in a way I cannot relate to. I want to retire from my day job, not to travel or play video games, but so I can do my other job, which is to be an artist.

I don't make nothing as an artist. I make about $15K-$30K per year. Not enough to live on, but about half of that, plus if I had more time to be an artist, I would have more time to get gigs, and would make more money. The money, however, is most certainly not predictable.

I also am a Boglehead, so I have a large deposit of $$ in low cost Index funds making a good chunk of change each year.

I wonder if anyone else is in this situation. My issue is, financially I feel I am in a different boat than most on this forum. I don't need to retire with 25-35X expenses because I will still make money after retirement. Furthermore, I often get to travel as part of being an artist and usually I get paid to do that. So I don't need to pay large sums on extravagant travel. I've done a lot of that on someone else's dime.

I don't mind being poor. I have been most of my adult life, and I haven't allowed lifestyle creep to sneak in unexpected now that I have a high paying job.

Anyone else in a similar boat? I'd love to hear your perspective.
It's great that you like your day job teaching art! If you left it, what might happen to your artistic inspiration over the long term? Would leaving the teaching provide a better sense of balance in your life? There is a good deal written (and available on the Internet) advising people to think twice before they quit their day job for a seemingly compelling artistic life. When I retired years ago, I envisioned being immersed almost daily in a creative lifestyle; what I didn't realize is that the less-creative activities of daily life all have a role in making the creative pursuits special and inspired. In my opinion, it's all about balance. If you like your teaching, then it is probably providing something important in your life that you might miss as a full-time artist.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Sandtrap »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:58 am I am looking for advice from others in my situation. I am a Boglehead and an artist. I have a day job. I like my day job because I teach art. However, I prefer making art and the day job gets in the way of that for sure.

Most of the people on this forum talk about retirement in a way I cannot relate to. I want to retire from my day job, not to travel or play video games, but so I can do my other job, which is to be an artist.

I don't make nothing as an artist. I make about $15K-$30K per year. Not enough to live on, but about half of that, plus if I had more time to be an artist, I would have more time to get gigs, and would make more money. The money, however, is most certainly not predictable.

I also am a Boglehead, so I have a large deposit of $$ in low cost Index funds making a good chunk of change each year.

I wonder if anyone else is in this situation. My issue is, financially I feel I am in a different boat than most on this forum. I don't need to retire with 25-35X expenses because I will still make money after retirement. Furthermore, I often get to travel as part of being an artist and usually I get paid to do that. So I don't need to pay large sums on extravagant travel. I've done a lot of that on someone else's dime.

I don't mind being poor. I have been most of my adult life, and I haven't allowed lifestyle creep to sneak in unexpected now that I have a high paying job.

Anyone else in a similar boat? I'd love to hear your perspective.
to op:
First:
"your lament has been and will be repeated and deeply felt by, artists and artists to be and wannabe artists, through history".
2
In life, there is one's "vocation" and "avocation" to pursue in balance, especially as life does not fit on a spreadsheet or "flight plan" or project management flow chart and projection towards a pension, et al.
3
Everyone is an "artist" and eventually finds a balance between "avocation" (one's passions/feeeelings) and "vocation" (what pays the rent and bills).
But, the cliche "starving artist" is real, whether writer, painter, street performer, et al. And, though "romanticized"......
4
Substantively.
"Artists", whether fashion (Versace), hair (Vidal Sasoon), actor (Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins), musician songwriter (Dolly Parton, etc), writer (Hemmingway, John Grisham, Danielle Steele), et al, can iindeed do well (eventually) financially.
So, the assumption that one must sacrifice financially, and in life, for one's "art" is a mythical romanticized idea. IE: many youtube artists, and creators, do very very well. The examples are many.
5
If you pursue your "art" as you pursue working to the pay the rent, consider using the financial rewards, compensation, for your "art" a measure of the success and desirability of your "art". The public and commerce, etc, can indeed monetize fruitfully, "excellent art" and if one is an "artists" then there's the soul to pursue perfection in it. Right?

To op:
Can you internalize this missive into something substantive and actionable (do it not think and talk about it) and use it as a financial foundation for yourself.
"Art" and the "business of art" is realistic and measure success and personal achievement recognized by others, and willing to pay for it.

Insert standard dis laimer for opinionizations and onions based on real life experiences or so forth.
j :D
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Topic Author
fourier
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by fourier »

In my opinion, it's all about balance. If you like your teaching, then it is probably providing something important in your life that you might miss as a full-time artist.
Totally correct. I don't actually like teaching, I love it. I love my students and get so much out of interacting with them. The problem is that teaching is not the only part of my job. This recent McSweeney's article sums it up perfectly.

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/cla ... -do-my-job

Academia has some built in catch-22s. While it would make sense to go from full time to part time, the change in pay would be exorbitant. The industry is designed to exploit part-time workers, and this gets worse every year. Teaching 1/3 my teaching load would not be 1/3 my salary. It would be far less. Minus excellent benefits as well. While I could always find work as a teacher - I am respected in my field - getting full time work again would be difficult as the market is continuously flooded with more PhDs. And even considering going on the academic job market again gives me hives.

To clarify - I am 45, my salary is $100K plus $15-30K artist income, my NW is $1.1M, my surviving parent gifts me $15K per year, yearly COL is about $48K, over the past 5 years I have been saving upwards of $60-70K per year as I still mostly live like a grad student
Topic Author
fourier
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Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2022 9:14 pm

Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by fourier »

to op:
First:
"your lament has been and will be repeated and deeply felt by, artists and artists to be and wannabe artists, through history".
2
In life, there is one's "vocation" and "avocation" to pursue in balance, especially as life does not fit on a spreadsheet or "flight plan" or project management flow chart and projection towards a pension, et al.
Believe me, I have to tell my students this almost every day. You need to make your art and you need to make money. They may or may not be the same thing.

An unspoken thing in the art world is that most people who "make their living" as artists have trust funds which pay their bills. So it seems like they are making money as an artist when they are not. Or they are, but that isn't that isn't the full story. And no one talks about this. So it is very confusing for people who actually need jobs. (To be clear, I have received an inheritance and I am gifted money every year. These are both recent things in my life.)

This stuff is not my question though. My question is how other artists view what might be thought of as their "FIRE Number". Since the idea of "retirement" is not about stopping working, but actually "now I finally have the time I want to pursue this other job that has always been on the back burner."
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tetractys
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by tetractys »

I’m a BFA graduate and this post brings back memories of many of my teachers there. Some of them were famous movers and shakers in the art world. The ones I most respected it seems were dedicated teachers for life. The teaching part was not separate from their artist part at all, and they were professors right up to the days they passed away.

Congruently the art I was being taught always seemed to apply directly to my life and inner being.

The work of these teacher artists was extraordinarily strong, focused and deep. They all carried a rich history of accomplishment. They didn’t have to go anywhere, the world came to them.
JayB
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by JayB »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:19 am
In my opinion, it's all about balance. If you like your teaching, then it is probably providing something important in your life that you might miss as a full-time artist.
Totally correct. I don't actually like teaching, I love it. I love my students and get so much out of interacting with them. The problem is that teaching is not the only part of my job. This recent McSweeney's article sums it up perfectly.

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/cla ... -do-my-job
To paraphrase the Pareto principle: It's normal to get 80% of your satisfaction from 20% of what you do at your job. I was in academia for decades plodding through ugly politics, publish-or-perish pressures, and dealing with many ungrateful students, but my not-so-secret creative inspirations were outside of academia. I left when I was able to receive a retiree benefit package. I suggest that you work through some financial projections re: staying full time vs. going part time. If you have a low-cost lifestyle, the latter may work out better than you imagine in terms of life satisfaction, even if the remuneration for part-time teaching stinks.

PS When you quote a fellow Boglehead, the authorship of that quote is not displaying. This can be fixed by starting a reply with the quote button at the upper right of a post and then deleting what's not wanted in the quote before adding your reply at the bottom.
Olemiss540
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Olemiss540 »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:19 am
In my opinion, it's all about balance. If you like your teaching, then it is probably providing something important in your life that you might miss as a full-time artist.
Totally correct. I don't actually like teaching, I love it. I love my students and get so much out of interacting with them. The problem is that teaching is not the only part of my job. This recent McSweeney's article sums it up perfectly.

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/cla ... -do-my-job

Academia has some built in catch-22s. While it would make sense to go from full time to part time, the change in pay would be exorbitant. The industry is designed to exploit part-time workers, and this gets worse every year. Teaching 1/3 my teaching load would not be 1/3 my salary. It would be far less. Minus excellent benefits as well. While I could always find work as a teacher - I am respected in my field - getting full time work again would be difficult as the market is continuously flooded with more PhDs. And even considering going on the academic job market again gives me hives.

To clarify - I am 45, my salary is $100K plus $15-30K artist income, my NW is $1.1M, my surviving parent gifts me $15K per year, yearly COL is about $48K, over the past 5 years I have been saving upwards of $60-70K per year as I still mostly live like a grad student
It sounds like if you factor in health benefits and put your COL around 60k, with art bringing in 22k/yr, you would need around 38k to cover your shortfall each year. At 1.1M, you are very close especially given your art income would go up as you focused more on that job. So I say give it till you are around 1.5M in portfolio value (given the long potential drawdown) and pull the cord in a year or two? Or you could pull the cord this year for 3-5 years and see how your art income goes, can always go back to teaching if your projections start to look tough after a market downturn.
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Sandtrap »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:39 am
to op:
First:
"your lament has been and will be repeated and deeply felt by, artists and artists to be and wannabe artists, through history".
2
In life, there is one's "vocation" and "avocation" to pursue in balance, especially as life does not fit on a spreadsheet or "flight plan" or project management flow chart and projection towards a pension, et al.
Believe me, I have to tell my students this almost every day. You need to make your art and you need to make money. They may or may not be the same thing.

An unspoken thing in the art world is that most people who "make their living" as artists have trust funds which pay their bills. So it seems like they are making money as an artist when they are not. Or they are, but that isn't that isn't the full story. And no one talks about this. So it is very confusing for people who actually need jobs. (To be clear, I have received an inheritance and I am gifted money every year. These are both recent things in my life.)

This stuff is not my question though. My question is how other artists view what might be thought of as their "FIRE Number". Since the idea of "retirement" is not about stopping working, but actually "now I finally have the time I want to pursue this other job that has always been on the back burner."
This is an untrue generalization.
Amongst cognitive bias and intrinsic perspectives.
You are getting great input from life experienced seasoned "bogleheads".

good luck in your efforts.
you are in a good place for substantive and actionable input based on experience and experiential knowledge.
j
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
humblecoder
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by humblecoder »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:58 am
...

Most of the people on this forum talk about retirement in a way I cannot relate to. I want to retire from my day job, not to travel or play video games, but so I can do my other job, which is to be an artist.

...

I wonder if anyone else is in this situation. My issue is, financially I feel I am in a different boat than most on this forum. I don't need to retire with 25-35X expenses because I will still make money after retirement. Furthermore, I often get to travel as part of being an artist and usually I get paid to do that. So I don't need to pay large sums on extravagant travel. I've done a lot of that on someone else's dime.

...
To be honest, I don't think you are that different from most people on here that the standard BH doesn't apply to you. Retirement is about financial independence, which means doing what you want to do because you know that your expenses are paid for. That could mean traveling. That could mean taking up a hobby. That could mean working or volunteering in an area that you are passionate about. It sounds like you would fall into the last category.

The standard BH advice would be to look at one's expenses and look at one's "retirement" income and see if your income > expenses. Your income would be a combination of a safe withdrawal rate from your nest egg PLUS income from art. But you could replace "art income" with a myriad of other recurring income streams that many BH's have. So the same principles would apply to you as they would to anyone else.
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Tejfyy
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Tejfyy »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:58 am I am looking for advice from others in my situation. I am a Boglehead and an artist. I have a day job. I like my day job because I teach art. However, I prefer making art and the day job gets in the way of that for sure.

Most of the people on this forum talk about retirement in a way I cannot relate to. I want to retire from my day job, not to travel or play video games, but so I can do my other job, which is to be an artist.

I don't make nothing as an artist. I make about $15K-$30K per year. Not enough to live on, but about half of that, plus if I had more time to be an artist, I would have more time to get gigs, and would make more money. The money, however, is most certainly not predictable.

I also am a Boglehead, so I have a large deposit of $$ in low cost Index funds making a good chunk of change each year.

I wonder if anyone else is in this situation. My issue is, financially I feel I am in a different boat than most on this forum. I don't need to retire with 25-35X expenses because I will still make money after retirement. Furthermore, I often get to travel as part of being an artist and usually I get paid to do that. So I don't need to pay large sums on extravagant travel. I've done a lot of that on someone else's dime.

I don't mind being poor. I have been most of my adult life, and I haven't allowed lifestyle creep to sneak in unexpected now that I have a high paying job.

Anyone else in a similar boat? I'd love to hear your perspective.
I hear you. I've done what you'd like to do: left the day job to focus on my art. Though my financial situation is different from yours I share your mindset and investment strategy. That I'm able to live in a high cost of living city on the "poverty level" income I draw is due in part to what I've learned here. It's also due to the fact that I've always lived the starving artist lifestyle even when I was earning (to me) a lot.

I need very little to be comfortable. And while I expect I'll need more comfort of some kind as I age, it won't be anything like what most people think they need.
It's a liberating and reassuring feeling when I think about getting older.
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

Agree with others that “art” is largely irrelevant, and to look at it as someone might look at any other self-employment where income is unpredictable. What might make your case unusual relates to your day job:

— Are you eligible for a pension?
— Do you have the option to take a sabbatical as a test run for leaving academia?
one_speed
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by one_speed »

Modeling "early retirement" in this sense is no different from modeling retirement with any other income cash flow. Some may be receiving rental income, small business income, dividends etc. Yours will be Self Employment income, yes?

Ok, one major difference, the Artist Income requires you to actually do the work and sell the art/performance to get the income. But you could run the calculator with medium and low estimates for annual or monthly income .

I have a couple family members who took this path. One self sustained purely on art for about a decade and a half, then added part time job to supplement. Downturn in demand during the Covid years put a hurt on their art income. The other has entrenched in academia and I believe is back to feeling as you do now, looking fwd to more pure art time.
torso2500
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by torso2500 »

fourier wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:39 am
to op:
First:
"your lament has been and will be repeated and deeply felt by, artists and artists to be and wannabe artists, through history".
2
In life, there is one's "vocation" and "avocation" to pursue in balance, especially as life does not fit on a spreadsheet or "flight plan" or project management flow chart and projection towards a pension, et al.
Believe me, I have to tell my students this almost every day. You need to make your art and you need to make money. They may or may not be the same thing.

An unspoken thing in the art world is that most people who "make their living" as artists have trust funds which pay their bills. So it seems like they are making money as an artist when they are not. Or they are, but that isn't that isn't the full story. And no one talks about this. So it is very confusing for people who actually need jobs. (To be clear, I have received an inheritance and I am gifted money every year. These are both recent things in my life.)

This stuff is not my question though. My question is how other artists view what might be thought of as their "FIRE Number". Since the idea of "retirement" is not about stopping working, but actually "now I finally have the time I want to pursue this other job that has always been on the back burner."
I want to acknowledge the trust fund/outside support phenomenon you describe, as I move in arts circles and I attest it is true. There can be a debate on the use of the word "most", but it is absolutely true that many people who are seen publicly as working artists have significant means of non-art-revenue financial support that is not so visible. If not most, then it is certainly to the point where students and other aspiring outsiders develop an overly optimistic estimation of supporting oneself on arts work.

At the same time, I think the trust fund concept can kind of apply to the artist FIRE number- you reach an asset level that essentially acts as your "trust fund", which will allow you to quit your day job to do art the way you'd like to at that point. There's an added benefit that your number may be lower than if you were planning to stop paid work altogether.
Topic Author
fourier
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by fourier »

torso2500 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:08 am I want to acknowledge the trust fund/outside support phenomenon you describe, as I move in arts circles and I attest it is true. There can be a debate on the use of the word "most", but it is absolutely true that many people who are seen publicly as working artists have significant means of non-art-revenue financial support that is not so visible. If not most, then it is certainly to the point where students and other aspiring outsiders develop an overly optimistic estimation of supporting oneself on arts work.

At the same time, I think the trust fund concept can kind of apply to the artist FIRE number- you reach an asset level that essentially acts as your "trust fund", which will allow you to quit your day job to do art the way you'd like to at that point. There's an added benefit that your number may be lower than if you were planning to stop paid work altogether.
Yes. I have 20 years experience as an artist and as an educator and a large number of my friends, colleagues, and former students who are able to be full-time artists are able to do so because of substantial family resources. This might have been a better way to put it. And to be clear, this is not to downplay their talents.

And this is exactly how I view my current situation. I aim to have a fully operational trust fund. It is good to see I am not the only one who views it this way.
Admiral
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Re: Boglehead Artists

Post by Admiral »

Your occupation/avocation is/are irrelevant. Lots of people "work" doing things they love (and make some money) after retiring from a 9-5.

If you're looking for financial advice on how to make the above situation work, I recommend you post some numbers.

I am also an artist (though not a visual artist, I'm a writer) and I'm sure I will continue to be one after I retire from my 9-5 job and no longer need to work for a paycheck.
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