Saving money.
It's no laughing matter.

Saving or investing as a comic may sound impossible, but doesn't have to be.

Published in February 2019 | Free Standup NYC

Article by: Andrew I. Bayroff

Let me state emphatically at the topic of this article that I am in no way a financial advisor or expert. Nor have I earned a degree in finance, economics, or statistics. I still use my fingers to count and a calculator for simple math a child can do in their head. My intention is to pass along my own experiences with saving and investing, and hopefully, you’ll take something away that will help.

 

"Saving and Investment accounts allow automatic fund transfers.
If you deposit just $100 a month, by the end of the year you've
got $1,200 + interest. Saved. Not bad."

 

I’m sure the first thing you think when you hear stand up comedy and saving money is, “Hey, that’s a great premise, what’s the joke?” While stand up comedy can be a very lucrative profession, most comics don’t reach the two comma level of financial stability. And while a six-figure income is nothing to scoff at, either, it’s always a good idea to start saving and investing, as early as you can, no matter what level you currently find yourself.

 

The uncertainty of stand up comedy, the entire entertainment world for that matter, makes it difficult to save or invest cash. But even if you put a little away each set, each paycheck from that day job, or even a flat monthly percentage, the account will start to grow. There are many savings options you can open yourself, supplied at work, or have a financial professional assist you.

 

This is an incomplete list of some of the more popular saving plans:

 

401 (k)

A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren't paid until the money is withdrawn from the account. 
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Traditional IRA

Traditional IRA contributions are tax-deductible on both state and federal tax returns for the year you make the contribution; withdrawals in retirement are taxed at ordinary income tax rates. Roth IRAs provide no tax break for contributions, but earnings and withdrawals are generally tax-free. 
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Roth IRA

Because that money has already been taxed, you can withdraw your contributions at any time without owing tax on them. Earnings are what those contributions make from your Roth IRA investments. These tax-free withdrawals are one of the biggest benefits of a Roth IRA compared to a 401(k) retirement plan. 
Read More

 

Managed Accounts

A managed account is an investment account that is owned by an individual investor and overseen by a hired professional money manager. In contrast to mutual funds, which are professionally managed on behalf of many mutual-fund holders, managed accounts are personalized investment portfolios tailored to the specific needs of the account holder. With a mutual fund, the fund company hires a money manager who looks after investments in the fund's portfolio and may alter the fund's holdings in accordance with its objectives.

 

There are a number of components that enter into saving, or at least, the possibility. I live in NYC which has some of the highest rents and costs of living in the United States, so, in turn, it's difficult to put money aside. Other areas of the country may have a lower cost of living, yet, salaries are usually in proportion.

 

That said, let’s do the math as see what a very simple saving scenario look like. The amount saved can either be placed an interest-bearing saving account or one of the accounts I list below.

 

Sample Monthly Income: $2000
$200 saved each month x 12 months = $2,400 + a 6% return on investments = $2,544/yr

 

I know there is a great deal of you bringing in more than $2K a month with comedy + day job, or just comedy alone (kudos by the way) but this is simply to show the potential, and a possibility, if you stick to a savings program. When I was performing in Los Angeles I was paying rent with credit card checks and had $3-4K to my name. As soon as income started coming in, I began saving, as much as I could. Sometimes it was as little as $20 a month, others, a few hundred. Suffice to say am I more financially stable at this stage of the game, but I had to start somewhere.

 

Let’s discuss two different types of active savings:
 

  1. Placing money in an interest-bearing account, the market, or in that Altoids tin in your cabinet

  2. Removing or cutting down on costs from your daily activity. This can include:

  • Coffee

  • Cigarettes

  • Drinks

  • Take out/Seamless

  • Ubers/Taxis

  • And dare I say it, weed

 

I am not a smoker nor a heavy drinker, and I know these can be extremely tough to reduce in use and spending. But even if you change a habit even by one degree, it can make a difference. I had a friend years ago that would spend $300+ on Starbucks coffee a week. That’s $1,200 a month! Imagine if he saved half of that? The base price of a pack of cigarettes in NYC is $13. Some smokers go through multiple packs a day. When I was struggling with cash and to save, I reduced or cut going out and drinking, take out food, restaurants, even going so far as not getting chips, fries, or desserts. It was a fun time! But, it helped.

 

Pack breakdown
3 packs a day x $13/pack x 7 days = $273 a week = $1092/month
Buy cutting down by just one pack a day you can save: $364/month

 

Drinky drinks

10 drinks a week x $8/each = $80/week = $320/month

Buy cutting down by just two drinks a week, you can save: $64/month

 

That's $428 a month that can be saved and earn interest or dividends 

 

 

There are various financial institutions in which where you may invest, I’ve offered a few links if you are interested in learning more, or, ready to open an account.

 

Vanguard

https://investor.vanguard.com/ira/how-to-open-an-ira

 

Fidelity

https://www.fidelity.com/retirement-ira/overview

 

Merrill Lynch

https://www.merrilledge.com/retirement/ira

 

More savings options

https://www.wisebread.com/the-types-of-savings-accounts-which-is-right-for-you

 

 

I hope some of this information was helpful and gave you a bit more clarity on saving and investing.

 

- Free Standup NYC

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"...even if you change a habit a little bit, it can make a difference."

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