Chris Enns is a unique financial advisor: he also has experience on the stage as an opera singer. Unlike other advisors, he has personal experience with the cyclical highs and lows of working in the entertainment industry. That’s why we asked him for his advice on how many of our members can cope financially through this challenging time.

What financial advice would you give to a client who is earning less this year compared to last?

The more you can know about what you need, the clearer you’re going to be able to make decisions. Take some time to go through all your expenses, the monthly ones and the ones that only happen a few times a year. Once you know that number, you’re going to be able to better understand how long any savings will last, how much you need to try to earn from other sources, or what the impact on your debt source may be. Austerity budgets are really hard the longer you stick to them. Remember to keep looking at your numbers and being as honest as possible about what you need. Lying to yourself doesn’t help. In times where making a decision seems impossible, sometimes the only answer is to wait for more information. Understanding how long you can afford to be patient will help give you the permission to wait. This is where a clear sense of what you need will help.

Once the strike ends and work resumes, what habits should people adopt in order to be more financially resilient in the future?

A crisis is not a great time to beat yourself up for not having things like an emergency fund. But once things have cleared and you’re able to process a little better, take some time to think about what might have helped during the last year. For some of you, that might be a larger cash buffer or emergency fund. For some, it might be a clearer structure around how you spend. One of the key habits to adopt that is helpful for those of us that make variable income is learning to put aside money made in high earning months for months when we make less. It can help smooth out the year, gets you through periods between productions, and gives you the foundation to get through prolonged periods without work. How much? That all depends on your personal needs and what will make you feel secure.

If you are looking for additional help, Chris offers a once-a-month 30-minute office hour session. To learn more about his services, visit www.ragstoreasonble.com.

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