About Elaine Grogan Luttrull

Elaine Grogan Luttrull is the founder of Minerva Financial Arts, a company devoted to building financial literacy in artists and arts organizations through education, coaching, and counseling. She is also an assistant professor at the Columbus College of Art & Design, where she serves as the Department Head for Business & Entrepreneurship. Elaine previously served as the Director of Financial Analysis for The Juilliard School and in the Transaction Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young in New York. Her presentations have been featured nationally by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Americans for the Arts, the Arts & Business Council of New York, the College Art Association, Playwrights of New York, the Lark Play Development Center, Theatre Communications Group, the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Ohio Art League, the Ohio Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the City of Bloomington, and the Foundation Center. Elaine is the author of Arts & Numbers (Agate, B2 2013), and a regular contributor to Professional Artist magazine. She serves on the boards of SocialVentures, the Short North Alliance, and the Financial Therapy Association. Elaine is a CPA with a PFS designation, and she completed a graduate certificate in Financial Therapy.

October 2020 Tasks

The Market Is Crazy, But You Don’t Have to Be

Happy October! Fun fact: People think stocks really suffer during October. This phenomenon (while probably overstated statistically) is called the October Effect. And since it’s an election year, we can also probably count on at least one October surprise. (Please, please, please let there not be any more surprises.) All of which is to say that things are crazy. And if you are feeling unsettled from an investment perspective, you’re not alone. No one knows what is going on (although that doesn’t stop anyone from making predictions like these, these, or these.) But you know better than to chase crazy short-term strategies. You are a long-term, strategic, rational investor. And you are not crazy.

  1. You have thought through your time horizon. Are you investing for retirement—and how far away is that? Are you investing for something in the shorter-term? How do your investments change based on your time horizon?
  2. You have thought through your ability to invest. How much do you have set aside for your short-term needs, so you never have to sell an investment if you aren’t ready to? Hint: It’s probably enough to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses.
  3. You have assessed your overall tolerance for risk. What happens in your brain when you watch the value of your investments plummet? Is that something you are comfortable managing rationally? Or would you prefer to take a more hands-off approach?
  4. If you haven’t done any of those things, this month is a good time to do them. And if it has been a while since you checked in with your investments, let’s do that this month too.

For some clients, taking a peek at their investments is as simple as logging into a website and poking around a bit. (And yes, sometimes finding that long-lost password is the hardest part.)

Here are some things to notice once you are in: 

  1. What is the balance of your accounts? This is the total value at a moment in time. (Generally, the website will show you up-to-date information; if you are looking at a statement, it might show you the balance as of September 30.)
  2. How has the balance changed? You may also notice the balance over time, especially if you see a graph that has some crazy ups and downs in 2020. (That’s normal.) This is just giving you historical information about how your balance has moved. Your balance can move if you add more money to the account, or if the underlying value goes up or down. Sometimes the graphs will show another benchmark for you to use for comparison’s sake, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500. This could be interesting, but if your portfolio is substantially different than either of these indices, this isn’t a great comparison.
  3. What am I actually invested in? Within each investment, you may be holding direct investments in companies, or you may be holding funds, which are groups of investments in companies. No matter what you hold, take a peek to see what you are invested in. (And if you find a fund, click on it until you see something like “Top 10 holdings” or something like that.) This will tell you what you are invested in – knowing, of course, that your investment may be a (relatively) small piece of the total, both for you and for the company.

And after you notice those things, here are some things to think about:

  1. What is my goal? Do you know what total amount you are aiming for in this account? “More” is fine… But a slightly more informed strategy or target is better. Then you can plan to get there by adding more money or by increasing the amount of earnings from investments (although these are never completely guaranteed).
  2. Are my investments balanced? This is probably part of a larger conversation but maintaining balanced and diversified investments in a variety of industries, in a variety of jurisdictions, and in a variety of vehicles is probably a good idea. As a general rule, if you find yourself feeling like you have too much invested in any industry, company, geography, or vehicle, it might be time to reassess.
  3. Is this what I want to be invested in? When you noticed the holdings of various funds you may have, you may have been disappointed. There may be investments in companies you’d rather avoid, and there may be investments in industries or geographies you’d rather avoid. That’s okay. But changing your investments is something to do rationally and intentionally. You may find it hard to avoid every company or country you may find unsavory. And you may also find that funds that seem great on the surface aren’t really so great once you start digging in. So start digging. Find some alternatives that align with your values and pay attention to them for a few months. Then, if they still seem like a good move, and if your overall portfolio will still be balanced, and reasonably priced, and aligned with your overall financial goals, then make the switch. (And run these ideas by someone if you’d like some feedback first.)

These ideas are really just the beginning… There are so many extra things you could consider, like stocks that pay dividends, the tax implications of various investments (including those with gains or losses), and how your goals change over time.

But October is a great time to take a peek and see how things are going. Maybe you’ll even save a copy of what you find so you can compare it with what you find next year? Then you’ll feel even less crazy as you continue to build your financial wellness.

What We’re Doing

It’s a busy month! This month we’re hanging out with illustrators and graphic artists at CXC, Pew Center fellows, students from the Cleveland Institute of Art, artists across Indiana for the Homecoming celebration, and Harlem-based artists defining “new normal” in ways that work for them. We’re also answering your pandemic (and non-pandemic) money-related questions in the monthly money chat and planning a killer 2020 Halloween costume.

What We’re Talking About

Many of our conversations lately have been focused on building awareness around spending. Do you know where your money goes? It’s amazing what a little analysis can do for your confidence in answering that question.

Creative Coaching (1 hour, $110)

Got a few questions? Not sure what you need? Feeling stuck financially? Book a Creative Coaching session with Elaine to jumpstart your financial wellness.

 

The Market Is Crazy, But You Don’t Have to Be

We hope this month leads you to harness the power of your time. Until next month, all the best with your financial empowerment.

 

 

 

September 2020 Tasks

Time Management Rules to Break

September is a month of transition, especially for educators and learners, and especially this year. Transitional moments are always good moments to start new habits. (Who among us hasn’t bought fresh school supplies—or the adult equivalent—and optimistically planned to use them to become our best selves?) 

With that in mind, let’s talk about your time, specifically the time management “rules” it is okay to break. (Hint: It is all of them. You know you best.) 

First, you need to know where your time goes. Transitions can cause chaos, so maybe take a moment to track your time for a week. There are plenty of apps you can use (Harvest, Toggl, and Rescue Time are all good), or you can use a journal, or a calendar, or your best guess. But start with the data. Where does your time go? 

Then, you can decide where you actually want it to go. 

Creative Time

How much time do you want to spend creating each week? Be realistic here. The circumstances of your life aren’t going to magically change this month. You will still have the same responsibilities and the same human needs. 

So within those constraints, how much time do you want to spend creating each week? Write the number down (maybe in one of those brand-new planners) and check in with it to see how you’re doing. Forgive yourself if you fall short, and pay attention to when you create best (First thing in the morning? Later in the evening? On a dedicated day?). 

Business Time

How much time do you want to spend on the business side of your creativity each week? Again, be realistic. Your website won’t update itself and those grant applications you’ve been meaning to finish won’t complete themselves. 

Figuring out the details of a new stimulus plan (if there is a new stimulus plan) will take some time, and that time has to come from somewhere. Revising your pricing strategy involves some customer and competition research, and that takes time. Paying your quarterly taxes this month takes time. 

How much time are you willing to invest working on your creative business, rather than in your creative business? Write that number down too. 

Other Time

How much time you are spending on your other responsibilities? You have other responsibilities; I know you do. Each person’s responsibilities differ, so figure out the number for you. Maybe you are helping kiddos with homeschool assignments. Maybe you are caring for neighbors or elderly relatives. Maybe you are cleaning your home or shopping for groceries or walking your dog. Maybe you have another job. And another one after that. There is value in these hours. These hours remind us of the bigger world and our contributions to it. Count those hours. 

Self-Care Time

Lastly (and it’s always last, isn’t it?) how much time are you spending on yourself each week? Make sure you are taking care of yourself so you can create great work, run a sustainable business, and support those around you. You’ll need sleep, food, exercise, some time for reflection, and some time among friends. Don’t skimp on these hours, especially as your responsibilities add up. Caring for yourself puts you in a position to make your best work and run your best business.

Tracking Time

It’s okay if there is a disconnect between where your time actually goes and where you want it to go. The disconnect isn’t the problem. You get to decide what to do with the disconnect, and having a few targets (for example, planning to spend 12 hours a week in your studio and three hours a week on the business side of your business) is a great start to move in the direction you’d like to go.

 

Jot down your target hours in each category, then hang this up on your mirror, in your kitchen, or somewhere else where you’ll see it regularly. 

What We’re Doing   

It’s a busy month! Elaine will be joining the team from the Tamarack Foundation for a series of financial workshops beginning on September 16. She’ll also be spending time with fellows from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, providing one-on-one coaching for them as they continue to thrive. Then, on September 23, Elaine will join the team from Creative Capital for some financial updates. 

What We’re Talking About    

Lately we’ve been doing a lot of crisis management work, budgeting for various scenarios. If you need some support doing your own math right now, feel free to get in touch. 

Creative Coaching (1 hour, $110)

Got a few questions? Not sure what you need? Feeling stuck financially? Book a Creative Coaching session with Elaine to jumpstart your financial wellness. 

 

Other Resources

Still want more? Here are some other resources you may find helpful this month. 

 

For Artists

 

For Art Managers

Time Management Rules to Break

We hope this month leads you to harness the power of your time. Until next month, all the best with your financial empowerment.