Welcome and hello! If you've made it this far, then you've probably figured out that I am a flute player and I talk about money. If you haven't figured that out...hello! My name is Anamarie and I am a professional flutist, teacher, arts administrator, entrepreneur, and a Certified Financial Counselor candidate. Basically, I'm a flute player and I talk about money. And if you've still reading, that means you haven't ran at the first mention of money. That's what this site and blog are all about...money and personal finance, and how to navigate the crazy would of being a musician or artist while still living a financially prosperous life.
Personal finance is something that I never thought would be of interest to me. So how did I get here? Well, it started a few months after I graduated with my masters in flute performance in 2019. Post graduation, I got a job working at the school of music that I had just attended in one of their administrative offices. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, but who could pass up a salary and full benefits? I was living with my boyfriend, Patrick (now fiancé), and we were figuring out what to do with the rest of our lives. We both had some credit card debt and I had about $32,000 in student loans. Money was not a thought at all. Not because I was making a lot of it ($31,000/year) but because I had a job that was paying me a salary, so I was set...right? Towards the end of 2019, I somehow got my hands on the audiobook version of Dave Ramey's Total Money Makeover. I honestly don't remember why I started listening to it, but I listened to the entire book in the span of a week. This was the first personal finance book I had ever listened to and the first time I had ever received any sort of guidance on money management. It got me motived and it cracked open a door into the finance world.
During this time, I was growing increasingly unhappy at my job and Patrick and I were both unhappy with where we were living at the time. When we met, Patrick and I were both living in Richmond, VA and moved for me to go to grad school. We desperately missed Richmond and after attending a wedding in Richmond in October of 2019, we set our sights on moving back the Summer of 2020. So getting my hands on Dave Ramsey's book helped with the motivation to get our finances in order to be able to make the move.
Now, unless you've been living under a rock for the past 3 years, things got a little more complicated March of 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic. As Patrick and I laid on the floor staring at the ceiling for the third night in a row that March, we talked about whether we should still move or not. Before the pandemic, our plan was to move back to Richmond and I would start a private flute studio and he would start his pottery business (he is a potter/ceramic artist). But with the pandemic, we weren't sure if moving was a viable option. He was on unemployment because the restaurant he worked at had shut down because of the pandemic and I was working remotely. After a little back and forth, we decided to continue with our plan. We saved up the money and in June of 2020, we moved back to our favorite city.
Now, I would love to say that once we moved everything was sunshine and roses (because that's honestly how I thought it was going to be), but it was far from that. Like so many private music teachers during the pandemic, keeping your studio running was hard, retaining students was hard, and recruiting students was hard. So my plan to start a private studio proved to be much more difficult than I thought. Over the last few months of that summer, I emailed every band director in a 20 mile radius and was getting crickets. Of course, to no fault of the band directors...they also had no idea how they were going to teach band remotely. But recruiting was, to say the least, slow and the money we had saved was running out.
That September was especially difficult. I remember it was the middle of the month on a Thursday and we were sitting on the couch talking about our financial situation. I told Patrick that I wasn't sure if I had enough money for rent that month. He looked at me apologetically and said he wouldn't be able to cover my half because he also wasn't sure if he had enough to cover his half. The reality was setting in, we didn't have enough money. And with that reality came the spiral down the rabbit hole...how were we ever going to be able to afford a wedding? What about having children? Buying a house? And retirement? This quickly turned into panic, I didn't want to live like this for the rest of my life. There were things that I wanted to do that seemed impossible to achieve unless we had more money. That panic then turned into anger. I just spent $32,000.00 on a degree that taught me how to play my instrument beyond proficiently but no where was I taught how to live as a musician. Did I miss that course? I was utterly lost on how to turn all of this education I just received into a viable, stable, and profitable music career.
Now before you says, "Oh Anamarie, you can't have a viable, stable, and profitable music career." Let me tell you, that is false and we will get more into that in later blog posts. But after that horrible Thursday of panic, fear, and anger, I decided that I have to make the change and figure out my career and my finances. So I dove head first into learning all about personal finance. I read a lot of books, I listening to a lot of podcasts, I followed a lot of personal finance individuals on Instagram and Tik Tok, and that following summer I decided to start the education to become a personal financial counselor. If we're being honest, most of this person finance education was done for selfish reasons only. I needed to get my shit together. But along the way, I realized that so many of my musician friends and colleagues had no clue about personal finance and money management. And from that The Financial Flutist was born.
So here we are. It is so frustrating that personal finance and money management is not taught in schools and rarely discussed in the realm of classical music. This career field is tough and the financial requirements and realities of it make it even tougher. My goal is to help musicians and artists financially navigate this crazy career path. I don't want anyone to have a "crying on the couch on a Thursday night" moment. So that is how we got here and I am so excited to dive in with you.