Jessica gave me props a few days ago for actually doing what I said I was going to do and posting every day last week. I was pretty proud of that, myself, but the posts just came up naturally and easily and I had the time and energy to write. But the downside to such regularity? Some people think they can give you a hard time when you’ve been quiet for two days... I say: get back to work, already!
I hate to mention the reason for my lack of postage when another music blogger is struggling mightily with his new PC. Yes, I got a Mac. And last night I only slept about five hours because of it! So many things to learn! So many music files to transfer and try not to loose in the process! It’s kind of awesome, and all-consuming. (I’m sorry, Steve; I’m really not gloating. I feel your pain...)
This computer was my Sullivan award-funded gift to myself. I did a little clothes shopping, but my heart was really set on getting a smaller laptop that could actually stream media or run iTunes while I write or surf the web and not run slow as molasses. The overheating of was a problem, too; it was just time to upgrade. I got tired of having to skip over all the links my blog buddies posted for awesome YouTube videos or streaming concerts, and I couldn’t have even dreamed of exploring an online library of recordings. But at this moment I am listening to a lovely Herbie Hancock album on iTunes, a gift from JL (thank you!!), and yesterday I watched my first opera video on YouTube: my sweet friend LW singing Cendrillon! Awesome.
Lest you think I frittered away all my prize money, I thought I’d share (in general terms) how I used the bulk of the prize. Most singers at my stage of the game have two things in common, financially-speaking: lots of debt, both low-interest school loans and high-interest consumer debt; and no retirement savings (or savings of any kind, even). I am no exception. Add a move cross-country and a divorce in 2006, and I haven’t been in great financial shape until recently. This year I obtained both the means and the will to change that.
So, with some of the Sullivan money, I made a huge credit card payment. Because of my W2 status at the Met and Wolf Trap this year, I will likely get a large tax refund; that will also go to the credit card (minus a small shopping trip, of course). If things continue on apace, I will be consumer debt free by the end of 2008! Yay!!
After a conversation with another Sullivan awardee, I decided to put the rest of the money into a retirement account. I haven’t figured out whether to go Roth, SEP, 401(k), or what, but I will be making the maximum annual contribution to get things started. I’m 31, and I have no idea when I want to retire - or what retirement even means for a singer - but I need to start planning for the future. Whatever that may be.
I feel very, very lucky to be able to write this post. This fall I’ve been much more disciplined with my savings and spending, but I know that my newly found (more) stable financial footing is due is large part to the good fortune of having some great jobs this season. What will 08-09 hold in this regard? I have absolutely no idea. Right now, there are only two jobs on the calendar, and one of them is still “in pencil.”
So, best to plan ahead.