John Scalzi offers up some tips on handling money when you’re working as a freelance writer.
Why am I offering this entirely unsolicited advice about money to new writers? Because it very often appears to me that regardless of how smart and clever and interesting and fun my fellow writers are on every other imaginable subject, when it comes to money — and specifically their own money — writers have as much sense as chimps on crack. It’s not just writers — all creative people seem to have the “incredibly stupid with money” gene set for maximum expression — but since most of creative people I know are writers, they’re the nexus of money stupidity I have the most experience with. It makes me sad and also embarrasses the crap out of me; people as smart as writers are ought to know better.
I’m lucky (*knocks on wood*) that in addition to fiction writing (which brings with it what I tend to think of as not-entirely-ironic Fictional Income), I have a ‘regular’ paying job that requires, at it’s core, good writing as a key talent (note: Scalzi’s rule #2, and my own realization, long ago, of rule #1). Thus, I continue to hone my use of those little word-thingies, and get paid like a regular joe (complete with all the behind the scenes tax-paying that I don’t have to deal with).
Still, it might be nice to one day work only on projects that interest me. If or when that day arrives, I hope I remember where I put this link.
For that matter, a number of his points are useful for anyone who — you know — uses money.
It makes absolutely no sense to save or invest money if the return rate for that investment is less than the annual percentage rate of your credit card debt. Net, you’ll lose money (especially if you’re investing from scratch). You need to buy down that credit card debt as quickly as you sensibly can. It is your number one debt priority. Once you’ve paid down your debt you can begin saving and investing. But pay that debt first.