"Now that I make a living as a comedian, I like to show other comics what I’m earning. It feels useful ... I want them to have an idea of what it all looks like—it’s really important not to be ignorant about this stuff. It’s empowerment."
Comedian Maria Bamford has an interesting Wealthsimple interview where she talks about making money as a comedian.
Some commenters on Jezebel broke down her numbers and it looks like she earn ~$312K / yr (after taxes and assuming she performs every week). If she is only performing 3/4ths of a year, she earns ~$234K / yr. And that's just from stand-up shows. This doesn't include all her other income streams (voiceover work, TV shows, etc). Not bad for a comedian.
Contrast Maria Bamford to the entertainers struggling to make a living detailed in Gaby Dunn's very well-written article "Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame." Having thousands of social media followers or subscribers doesn't necessarily translate to big bucks. Unless you have a trust fund or some other source of income, "being popular" doesn't really pay the bills. And if you can't pay the bills, forget about saving or investing.
As I mentioned, I worked in startups before business school and see a lot of similarities between the two industries. There are a few people who really hit it big and cash out. (And Maria Bamford isn't necessarily "cashing out"; she's just doing quite well for an entertainer). The majority don't. I thankfully realized this early on and realized the "slow and steady" approach was much more suited to my temperament.
The only advice I can offer to people who want to make it as entertainers is to keep your day job. Having a stable day job is great! You get a steady salary, health insurance, 401k benefits, and more! Save and invest your money. Think carefully about how you want to live your life so that you can achieve financial independence early and THEN possibly pursue becoming an entertainer full-time.
I am a big fan of the reddit thread FIRE - Financial Independence, Retire Early. It is an incredibly positive thread with none of the negativity or craziness I see on other message boards.
Just to be clear, before anyone gets the wrong idea, the phrase "Retire Early" does not mean that we will quit our jobs, stay at home, and watch Judge Judy all day. It instead means that we will have enough money where we can do anything we want. Some people really love their jobs and will continue to work, some may move into a different industry, some may decide to travel, some may decide to take time off to figure out the next step they want to take in their life, etc.
I have been very aggressive about finding an industry I love and I hope I will be one of those people who likes my job so much I decide to stay in it even after reaching financial independence.
I read Reddit FIRE everyday and this particular thread stood out to me - "Who has been your biggest influence for FI?"
My answer is: From my work with startups before business school. While I learned a tremendous amount during my time in this space, the most important thing I learned was that working at a startup is not the best financial decision, and that you are MUCH better off working for a large, stable company that pays you a steady paycheck and won't go out of business in six months, offers you great benefits (401K matching, health insurance, etc), and looks good on your resume.
Although startups sound sexy and cool, the reality of the situation is that you will get paid far below market rate, your equity will most likely not be worth anything, and if you decide to move into the corporate world, you will have a much harder time doing so because recruiters won't have heard of the startup and will thus not take you seriously.
Thankfully, I had the financial safety net offered by my parents the entire time. I don't want to think about what might have happened if that hadn't been there.
That experience made me incredibly aggressive about saving and investing. I now prefer the "slow and steady" approach to money management. Everyone has their own approach and even though it took me a few years and several falls on my face to develop mine, I am very happy with it.
What is this?
An anthropological look at how people think about money. Created and edited by Star Li.