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Why Musicians Fail To Save Money And Ruin Their Financial Lives

Guest Post:

By Ryan Freer (Financial Advisor)

Musicians have an especially difficult set of challenges when growing their businesses. There are few industries that require so much effort for so little payout. The image of the “hustling, starving musician” is a stereotype, but it also has some truth in it. So it only makes sense that when you do get your big break, your first big paycheck, or an A&R exec starts paying attention to you, that suddenly, talking about money feels other-worldly. You don't own it (sometimes literally), even if it really is yours (hint hint, that’s the Imposter Syndrome talking to you). So you don’t save it either. You don’t invest it back into yourself, or your businesses, and then you fade out.

And even if you did save money, it’s such a complex process:

1. Collect cash from your distributor, P.R.O., or last the gig you played

2. Deposit money in a business bank account (Whoo! Payday!)

3. Budget that money into various buckets

a. Taxes

b. Back into the business account

c. Buy more sound gear

4. Pay yourself (first!), then promoters, band members, producers, etc.

5. Transfer what’s leftover to long-term savings accounts (stocks, mutual funds, IRA, Bitcoin, etc. etc. etc.)

The goal of even earning enough money where you can afford to save consistently for the long-haul is a milestone in itself! Add in the friction of taking your money on tour through these different accounts, and it’s no wonder that musicians never get started in the first place!

An Easy Savings Strategy

Does the following sound like something you'd say to yourself?

“I'll start saving $400 a month when I'm able to save $400 a month." Yet, you never do, and the cycle goes on and on.

This is called "Someday Syndrome." But ironically, as John Cage once said, the conventional wisdom is to "begin anywhere." Maybe right now, you want your goal to be to save $400 a month, but you can't quite afford it. But could you afford $40 a month instead? Or $10 a month? Would that be too easy? The whole point in gaining momentum in your investment strategy is to make it easy on yourself — almost too easy.

This is where fractional shares come in. Let’s say your goal is to buy 1 share of Apple or Tesla stock. But you don’t realistically have $150 or even $700 to plunk down right now. What if you could buy even just a breadcrumb? Okay, let's keep this stupid simple: What if you could buy a piece of these top-shelf "blue chip" stocks for the price of a single song stream at $0.003 - $0.007. It's not much, just a fraction of a $150 or $700 stake in a multi-billion dollar company.

Congratulations! You’re now a shareholder!

Here’s the big takeaway from this: If you don't start with something, then you'll end with nothing.

When writing your music, 8 eighth notes equals 1 whole note. When playing your music, 100,000 streams of your new single equals 2 shares of Apple stock. Now the question is: how do you "sync" your song streams with your stock picks? MariNation builds that bridge for you.

Ryan Freer is a hip-hop artist and a licensed financial professional helping musicians build strong financial foundations for their careers and retirement goals using "safe money" strategies. He is based out of St. Louis, Missouri.

For more information, please visit, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook at @fiveringsfreer.


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