August 03, 2014

Are you talking to me? Are YOU talking to ME?

No, ‘money dude’ is not talking to me, or you, if you’re a self-employed actor, singer, dancer, artist working in Canada.

Since I (self-employed artist/mortgage agent) bought my house with my husband (self-employed artist/contractor guy) the conversation of, 


...comes up often. 

I have a very strong opinion on this topic. It may not be a popular one with economists or finance bloggers but, until the articles feature the ebb and flow of a self-employed artist’s income, more specifically me and my singer friends, I’m going to stand my ground.

I say, if you can, BUY.


Well, yes, for a salaried employee with benefits, sick leave, an income that increases by 2-3% every year, and provides you with a juicy, built in pension, sure, go ahead, rent til’ the cows come home; very often, it is cheaper. 

BUT! For the self-employed artist whose income changes every year with the fickleness, health, and demand of:

• the artistic industry
• your age
• your look (let's be real)
• your talent (with singers - the evolution of the voice is unpredictable)

...buying (in my opinion) might be the smartest thing you do. 

Paying off a mortgage has its downfall - all that pesky interest and property taxes - but so does working in an industry where, as you age, the demand fluctuates, along with your income. 

Paying off a mortgage while in your earning prime, to me, is a no-brainer. 

I am aiming to be mortgage free by the time I am 54ish... a 54ish female, classical singer, working in Canada....think about that... do you think I will regret NOT having to pay rent (because salaried economists said it would be cheaper) at age 54-ish? I’m no psychic but I’m betting the answer will be no.

I’ve had more than one conversation with working artists (GIGGING. ALL. THE. TIME. cha’ching!) who are now in panic mode because they will be closer to 70 by the time they are done paying down a mortgage and, unless you’re Betty White (God bless her gigging til’ age 91 year old self) or marry a salaried employee with benefits (hallelujah!) they will be paying their $1200 Toronto rent until the day they die on an artist’s income....


Let me be clear: I am NOT saying that you should buy if you really don’t want to, or go into massive debt on a property that you can’t afford; you have to be realistic.

• pay off your debt
• pay off your taxes
• save for retirement
• save for a downpayment
• take your time, be smart

I AM saying: if you have cleverly saved and put yourself into a positive position to start paying off a mortgage sooner than later, buying, even if it’s a teeny tiny condo, will get you on the road to being rent free faster than, well, RENTING. 

Too pushy? Probably. I’m not known for treading lightly into a conversation that I am passionate about and, aside from the stage, helping artists is at the top of my passion list. But don’t believe me, hear what other stage artists have to say about losing their property virginity:

• We bought our home 2 years ago with a basement suite. Having that income has been a bit of a life saver. It has allowed me to not work (actress) while I raise our daughter. It’s a lot of work though: we’ve recently spent a lot of cash to do minor renos in the basement, but it is certainly worth the investment. 

• We (singer + director) own two properties now. Somehow. It’s our retirement. Best decision ever.

• Best choice I made (stage management). I had no intention of a moving home base...gave me a solid, established address and ‘roots’.

I’d love to hear your (constructive) thoughts on this particular topic and, for those who are new to the blog and wonder why I started this conversation in the first place, see here.

Thanks for reading!

*note: all opinions expressed 
on this blog 
are my own in their entirety.

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