October 4, 2015 • Newsletter
It is not often that I am totally surprised. But it happened last week while I was leading a workshop on Mindful Money Matters at Juilliard. One student gave an answer to a discussion question that was completely brilliant and completely creative. I was delighted.
Surprises keep us on our toes. They keep our brain sharp. They ensure we pay attention, and they fuel our creativity. And when we’re curious, surprises often follow.
So this month, we’ve suggested a few things you can do to better manage the business side of your art… by incorporating some surprise-infused curiosity into your life.
Stay Curious About Your Budget
How is your budget doing? Are you curious about how it’s going to end? Are you curious about what may happen next? October is a perfect month to forecast your end-of-year spending and earnings.
There may be very few surprises left during the year, which means it may be a good time to start honing in on what your financial picture will be at the end of 2015. What might you do with any excess for the year? Perhaps some of it should be put towards an emergency reserve fund (to cope with future surprises).
And speaking of future surprises now is a great time to start thinking about your goals for 2016 (and even laying the preliminary groundwork for your 2016 budget). What surprises might come in 2016? Let’s start planning for them now. Your October Budgeting To-Do: Project your end-of-year spending levels and prepare to budget for 2016.
Stay Curious About Your Peers
Pop Quiz: Can you name a recent professional accomplishment for three of your peers? Bonus Question: Are you finding out about these accomplishments passively through social media or actively through real, live conversation?
If you can’t name others’ accomplishments, or if you can only describe the sanitized public version of them, this might be a nice month to check in with a few people around you. What are your peers working on? What are they excited about? What is fueling their creativity? Staying curious about those around us—especially those we value—is a delightful way to build our human connections. And when are human connections are strong, we thrive. Your October Assistance To-Do: Inquire about someone else’s creative pursuits and listen to the answers.
Stay Curious About Your Investments
If you have invested funds during 2015, October is probably a good month to check in with your portfolio. Is it still invested in funds that meet your needs and investment parameters? Is the risk level still appropriate for your financial situation and your tolerance? How has your investment portfolio performed so far this year? Your October Investment To-Do: Check in with your investment portfolio, and rebalance if necessary.
Stay Curious About Your Growth
What new things have you learned recently? Do any of them have to do with finance? If not, you may want to explore a few new resources this month for your own personal growth. (And your business may benefit as well.)
Daily Worth, Nerd Wallet, and Planet Money are three of our favorites. Plus we found this list of Seven Financial Podcasts for Millennials that seems solid (and includes at least a few of our favorite podcasts). Start-Up from Gimlet Media isn’t on the list of seven, but it is a great one for anyone (of any age) starting a new business. (Start at the beginning if this is a new one for you.)
Your October Growth To-Do: Stay curious. Seek to learn something new.
To recap, there are a few things you can do this month to increase your financial mindfulness and empowerment. And they all involve staying curious and seeking surprises.
- Budgeting: Stay curious about your budget by incorporating mindful and deliberate spending.
- Assistance: Reach out to a peer to inquire about his or her creative pursuits. Listen. Really listen to the answers.
- Investments: How are your investments doing? Stay curious about investment options this month, including rebalancing your portfolio if necessary.
- Growth: Stay curious about something. Visit some of our favorite financial sources for news and learn something money-related this month.
Curiosity—and the resulting surprises—keep us healthy, nimble, and interesting. And those three adjectives, coincidentally or not, also describe some of the best creative entrepreneurs.