About 6 miles down the road from me is a real spaceship. Ok, well it’s an architectural piece of artwork, designed in Europe as a ski chalet, and somehow got placed on the side of a small Texas road. (Link to view) Every weekend, rain or shine I see people stopping on the side of the road to take pictures of this spaceship. It is out of the way for most people, and on no major driving routes, yet people still come by to explore this artwork. I always wonder, as I see it, what my pivotal piece of artwork will be one day when I end my career as an artist.
Let me first explain my view on artists and artwork. I think we are all geniuses at something in life, based on my observations, and we are all striving to both, find our genius, and use it to help the world. I also believe in this genius we are all artists in some way. For example, Lebron James is a kinetic artist with the way he is able to maneuver his body as he plays basketball, and in turn has created art in his movement. My wife is a genius at befriending all people, she effortlessly finds some connecting fabric in her life to any and everyone, and they instantly bond as if they were never strangers. As an introvert, I watch her at get togethers and parties as she works a room mingling with everyone, and being enjoyed by all without a thought about it. I call her a social butterfly as she moves from flower to flower drinking conversations. I have to awkwardly force conversations and forget everyone’s name. We are all artists and as I drove past the spaceship I thought of my geniuses and artist endeavors. I found I had a quite a few of them, as I pondered the 6 miles home, but I thought most about how I am an artist, at how I have always worked my finances.
I started working my first business at age 8 selling candy to kids at school and learned quickly about buying low and selling high. I learned about profit margins, and at what is the ideal pricing of my candy. I learned that dum dum suckers cost pennies and I could sell them to kids for 10 cents, and bigger candy such as Snickers could be bought for 75 cents. As I bought them in bulk from the local Sam’s Club, I always made at least double for each piece of candy. I was saving all the profits, and buying the same amount of candy with each visit to Sam’s with my mother. I learned what sold quickly and bought what was demanded. Again, I saved all my profits. Next, I baby sat some, sold people’s stuff off the curb at the neighborhood garage sales, traded and sold cards at card shows, and collected comics that I sold for profit at comic shops. In my teenage years I bused tables, lifeguarded, taught swim lessons, mowed lawns, and still saved all the profits. I had thousands saved up, and I also worked hard practicing basketball that paid for my schooling. I always had a job and saved all my money with a plan in mind for my future. I rarely splurged on stuff, and I always thought long term with my money from a very young age. I have been, since the age of 8, building a piece of financial artwork for my future and my future family. Because I was gifted with long term thinking and a natural ability to find ways to make money, I always had some money somewhere. I have made mistakes along the way, but I never stopped saving for more than a few months in any financial disaster.
So, the question comes down to you and how are you creating financial artwork. Are your accounts empty currently showing no artwork. Maybe you truly are a starving artist. Everyday when you walk out of the door you are creating art through your finances. You can decide to brew coffee at home or swing by Starbucks, you control whether you stick to your list at the grocery store or just wing it. You decide if you want to save $50 a month or $500 a month for your future. You are the artist of your life and in the end, you are the one that either created something that lasts, or you come up empty and have nothing to show for your work. Will future generations be looking at your spaceship as it helps them through college, or will there just be an empty field of empty accounts and debt. You get the option to control the level of artwork you create, and how much of it you create. You never know what your artwork could be worth in the future, and how it might help other loved ones either. Your decisions now dictate the art.
You get to teach the next generation of artists also. You can give a man art, or teach him to be an artist! But, first you have to find your genius, use it to make some money, and then become a financial artist. Through your knowledge and example you can successfully teach the next generation at this point. Budgets suck I know, but to be an artist you must mix the paint and do the hard work to make truly fascinating artwork. How are you an artist? What are some of your tips for creating financial artwork? How can we teach the next generation to be artists on their own? This is your finances and your legacy. Be the artist you were meant to be and see the beauty in finances.