Author Topic: Love or Money?  (Read 3978 times)

friendlycanuck

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Love or Money?
« on: May 11, 2012, 06:49:41 AM »
Hi Mustachians. This is my first post here, so a complete rundown of my life & financial situation might be apt. I'm currently living in the UK at ~20 years old. I had taken some time away from school after high school to travel and dream and all that jazz, before returning to my parents house last year. I worked a minimum wage job for a few months and saved up a few thousand dollars.

After that, I met a girl and moved in with her in Toronto and started going to school there on a bank-backed student line of credit combined with OSAP (Government student loans). The savings dwindled and the Student LOC and Government loans grew to a ridiculous amount due largely to silly student decisions  & expensive city living. I'm thankful I didn't buy the Macbook I was looking at.. That was probably the most financially sound decision I made during this time.

The dilemma comes in with my position right now.  I'm working a job that I absolutely want to be doing, but it isn't earning me enough money at the moment. It's commission-only, and it's for a music magazine. Music is the passion in my life, and I want to stick with this because of the opportunities it will open up for me. I still live with my girlfriend and she's happy to stick with it through the rough times until the summer is past and the money flows a little more freely.

Do I stick to the job that isn't very lucrative whatsoever (I'm not even earning minimum wage for the time I'm putting in) with the assumption that it will lead me somewhere better? The owner of the magazine runs a summer publication that is much more lucrative for advertising sales, but I won't be getting paid from this until sometime in August when the clients pay up.

I've got a bit of a home studio going (with money that should probably have been used to pay off debts) and it's the most exciting thing in my life. Ideally, I want to be making money by DJing, but I want to be in a sound financial position as well. I'm just wary that any time I take away from working on music is time I'm taking away from pursuing my dreams.

Accounts:

Checking: About $200 (I keep this here to pay minimums on my loans)
Savings: $0. Has been emptied out since moving here and I'm digging myself deeper in the hole.
Stock market: I have about $300 in Scotiabank shares that I bought when I was 18 and eager to get into investing. I haven't touched them since, and the dividends are re-investing. Should I sell these and slug them against the debt?
Retirement account with ING: Something like 50 bucks. Haven't looked at my ING accounts in a while but they're empty other than this.
Debt:

Student LOC: 12, 500 @ 5%
OSAP: 4, 000 @ 6%
Credit Card: 0 @ 19.5% ($2000 limit)

Income:
Me: Very rocky. I made 100 last month. I could make 600 this month, I could make 0.
Her: Min. wage @ approximately 800/month.

Monthly payments:
Rent: Will be 250 next month, split between the girlfriend and I. This month it's 180 due to reductions from trouble with the property.
Bills: No idea what they'll be next month, moving to a new place - I'll get into that below.
Entertainment: 10/month on Spotify Premium. This is one of the things that keeps me sane as the libraries around here are horrible and having access to music is essential.
Internet: 10/month split with roommate. Don't know what it will cost after moving.
Groceries are currently very cheap, probably spending 100 or so a month for two people. Maybe less.


I have worked out with my grandfather for him to buy a fixer-upper house and have our "rent payments" be going towards equity in the house. Once we have built up a few thousand in equity from him & a down payment, we will go for a small bank mortgage. This property is intended as a future rental property.

So what's the verdict? Do I get another full-time job and ditch the music mag, keeping the same amount of free time to hone my musical skills but working a job that isn't where I want to be? Do I get a part-time job & stick to the magazine in the hopes that I'll get some money from it soon and be able to quit the part-time? In the meantime I'd have very little time for music, and reduce my chances of making any money from it (which I am determined to do). Do I just grit my teeth and go through with things as they are, trying to make as much money as possible from the magazine & spending all free time on frugality & working on music?

I'm really stressed about all this, and as you can see it's a pretty multi-faceted situation. Apologies if anything was unclear.

EDIT: Another thing: Should I buy a bike now (used, under 75) or rely on the bus until I have a chunk of money to really afford the bike without borrowing for it? When I move (June 15), I will be taking the bus every day if not biking. A monthly pass is 60, adult single 2. My work is biking distance from where I will be living, but walking distance right now. I could also work from home, but I get far less done that way.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 06:51:58 AM by friendlycanuck »

Bakari

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 10:42:03 AM »
Aug is only in 3 months.  I wouldn't give up a job you love for such a small time period.

For the next few months spend zero dollars on anything besides the monthly payments listed, work as much as you can (maybe look for side one-time jobs/gigs, even do some daylabor on the weekends).

If you cash out the ING or Scotia, don't use them to pay down debt just yet, keep them as emergency fund in savings so that if something happens you aren't stuck using the 20% interest credit card.

Try to borrow a bike from someone for a couple months.  Lots of people have bikes they don't use.  Surely you know one of them.  3 or 4 months of bus passes would pay for a decent used bike.

Best of luck

keith

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 01:46:52 PM »
Ideally, I want to be making money by DJing, but I want to be in a sound financial position as well.

Fellow DJ / producer here (currently on hiatus).

Whats your plan here? Just DJ'ing? Or producing/writing? Genre?

I have some advice but want to be more clear on what your music goals are first.

smedleyb

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2012, 02:50:38 PM »
I think the OP needs to get a steady paying part-time job as he works the music mag. thing.  There's just no income here to do anything.  The fixer-upper is an interesting side gig but when your income is so small and your career in flux, the last thing you want to do is get chained to a piece of real estate, IMO.

Keep riding that bus and definitely increase your income, by any means necessary.   

 

James

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 03:27:10 PM »
I think the OP needs to get a steady paying part-time job as he works the music mag. thing.  There's just no income here to do anything.  The fixer-upper is an interesting side gig but when your income is so small and your career in flux, the last thing you want to do is get chained to a piece of real estate, IMO.

Keep riding that bus and definitely increase your income, by any means necessary.


I agree, time to make the decision between the magazine deal and the home gig.  Sounds to me like the magazine job has the most known potential at this point, you can always start up the home gig later.  Get a part time job and make the cash you need doing whatever job you can find, and then over the next 6 months figure out where the magazine job is going.  Have a good solid talk with your boss now, and again every month or so to find out what their thoughts are and where they see you going.  If at any point it becomes clear that job isn't going anywhere, cut bait and try to find a solid job doing anything to pay the bills.  Then throw all your spare time into the home gig.


Keep that credit card empty.  Buy/borrow a cheap but well functioning bike.  Follow every lead in making the magazine job work out the way you want it.

Gerard

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 06:58:47 PM »
Ex-musician here. I agree with previous comments, but I'd be harsher about it: it's very hard to have both your "day job" and your ideal long-term job be fun rewarding follow-your-dreams things, as neither of them is providing any money. Get a shitty job that pays the bills and ideally lets you save, and use the other many many hours in the week to grow the magazine gig, or the DJ gig, or both. If you're selling advertising for (say) Exclaim! it's not like potential clients are only available exactly the same hours as you work at the car wash or whatever. Eventually you may be able to make a career out of one of your love-jobs and/or what you're studying in school, and living the mustachian lifestyle will help to make that possible.

Good luck!

friendlycanuck

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2012, 08:32:57 AM »
Thanks for the replies. I had combed Gumtree (English Craigslist) for sidejobs before reading these replies - am heading off to do some extra work for a small filmmaker for a bit of cash today, and hopefully I'll keep finding things like this. We'll see how the sales go at the magazine over the next week or two and go from there. I've contacted a friend about borrowing a bike instead of buying one just yet.

I think I might end up taking a different job in order to fund that house & paying off debts. That'll allow me to focus on MAKING the music, which is more important than magazine work to me.

The interesting thing about the house is that my grandfather is helping out with it. I'll be paying "mortgage payments" to him toward equity in the house, then when I've got 5000 of equity or so I'll get a real mortgage to cover the remaining 30-40,000.  But if I decide I don't wanna be in on it any more, he'd just keep it as a rental property for himself and I'd walk away without any equity - but without any money lost either. I won't be working on the home full-time, but I imagine it will eat up a lot of my spare time. If I want to be focusing on my own music as well as fixing/buying the house, I should likely get a steady hourly gig for a little bit. At least until I have a buffer of savings built up. Any thoughts?

Thanks for the help.

Keith: I'm producing electronic music, House-ish stuff at the moment. I've been playing music since I was about 12 or so, but I'm just starting to put together some real material and I'm excited about it. I want to be DJing while I'm honing the craft of producing, because I know some promoters in the city through the magazine. I'm eager to find a way to earn money from the music business, but I know there are people like Beck who just worked odd jobs until things worked out.

keith

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Re: Love or Money?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2012, 11:34:17 PM »
Keith: I'm producing electronic music, House-ish stuff at the moment. I've been playing music since I was about 12 or so, but I'm just starting to put together some real material and I'm excited about it. I want to be DJing while I'm honing the craft of producing, because I know some promoters in the city through the magazine. I'm eager to find a way to earn money from the music business, but I know there are people like Beck who just worked odd jobs until things worked out.

OK, with regards to producing electronic music... there is one super important lesson/realization:

You aren't going to make money selling your written/produced music. The exception is if you are constantly chart topping places like Juno/Beatport. The key to making money in this industry is getting paid gigs (DJ sets).

Electronic music as a whole sells in really low volume compared to the traditional music industry. You aren't going to see a dime from a release until the label has reached a certain threshold. I personally know lots of great producers who even sold decent units, but got screwed out by labels who never paid out. This happens a lot. Even happens occasionally to famous producers. The volume/money involved is so low, that nobody wastes their time in court because legal fees are too expensive and not worth it... so you are pretty much out of luck.

However, this doesn't mean producing isn't important. Its actually the biggest most important part. They key to getting gigs? Being a top notch producer, with tunes that get played around the world. You simply aren't going to get gigs outside of your hometown without being a recognized producer. You have to be a great musician/producer to get recognized, but just realize that in itself won't pay the bills.

But keep plugging away at it. If this is really your passion - then you have to first get a job that pays the bills... then spend every ounce of free time you have to developing your craft. If you really are good at what you do... the gigs will start flowing your direction.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 11:36:53 PM by keith »