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Artists, Insurance and the Future

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Nest EggHardly a week goes by that I don't read about an artist passing away, coming down with a serious medical condition, major property damage, instruments stolen, long term care becomes necessary, etc. This is always sad news. What is even more sad is that many didn't have insurance of any kind to handle these situations. The benefits begin to help our favorite artists with their immediate needs financially, professionally and socially. The needs are real.

A question that I always have to ponder is: Why? Why don't they have insurance to help their loved ones, their homes and property and even their livelihood? Why don't artists set aside a percentage of every month's pay for those rainy days? What happens to their significant other or their family when the bills come due?

I worked for years and always set a percentage aside for the future -- my retirement. I managed through three stock market collapses, two years unemployment and came out on top. My wife's financial future is intact should anything happen to me.

Part of making us financially secure is that we carry zero debt. The house, car and major expenses are all paid for. Credit cards are paid in full each month. What I put aside for retirement is there and available. I planned ahead for the eventual future whatever it holds in store.

In the past year, there have even been cases where the artist didn't even have a will and their entire estate will now be handled by the government and the courts. This will surely drag out closing the estate for years. All of this could have been avoided with a simple will. Again, I do not understand why anybody exists without a will and a living will. It doesn't make sense.

Today, we hear of James King passing and, he had little or no life insurance. $5,000 isn't enough for much. So, another fundraiser is set up to take donations to help bury him respectfully. I don't understand why so many artists leave their family to take care of this situation.

Maybe a good topic for the IBMA sessions would be on financial planning for emergencies and catastrophic events in ones life. Actually, this is true for everybody but artists seem to think "it can never happen to me." Well, it can and frequently does. No spouse should be forced into a financial nightmare because one passes away. No family should be destroyed because of a serious illness or injury. Certainly, one should be forced to continue working beyond their will because they have nothing to live on.

There are many safe avenues one can use depending upon their situation and circumstances however, the one thing that they all have in common is starting today to plan for the future. And, if the future is happy, healthy and good, you'll always have that nest egg to enjoy -- it doesn't go away.

If artists put aside just 5% of their income every month into a zero risk investment for years, that could be both their own funded life insurance, long term care insurance and financial security blanket later in life. Having an emergency fund that protects the artist, their family and their home is essential today. If more did this, benefits could become more of a memorial service rather than a fundraising event. It would be easier on their families and eliminate a lot of questions and stress later on.

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