Winter 2021

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And, I believe in 2021, we have to really decide to strengthen this relationship." SAG-AFTRA member Sandra Karas, who is an actor and a licensed financial planner, attorney and tax accountant, always reminds members that they are the ones in control of their money — not the other way around. "Many entertainment professionals see themselves as financially helpless because of the precariousness of their work opportunities, but it doesn't have to be that way," said Karas, who is also the director of the New York Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. "Taking control of your spending and saving habits can be a great ego boost to people who have little control over their job security. It's the one place where a person can feel grounded, and that sense of control can spill over into other areas of life, such as nailing auditions, managing relationships, finding and succeeding with survival jobs, building an emergency fund and saving for retirement." Many performers see themselves as struggling, low-income "starving artists." They let their lack of financial security define them, but it doesn't have to be this way. Set specific and reasonable goals, check in with yourself on a weekly basis, resist the temptation to buy what you don't need, and restrain yourself from spending on those who don't care about you: your coffee purveyor, the local tapas bar and others who would love for you to part with your money and will give you little in return. Decide whom you really want to take care of financially. Once you make that determination, most of the rest of it will be within reach. And you'll find that taking care of yourself will provide you with not only a better financial footing, but a brighter outlook on most everything else. This article is not intended to imply an endorsement of any individual or company by SAG-AFTRA. The information provided is given for informational purposes and is not to be taken as financial advice. Please speak with a financial professional before making any financial decisions. You should always use good judgment in these matters and should not act or refrain from acting based solely on information provided here. Need Help? If you're struggling during the downturn, visit to find out about resources in your area. "You never wait to take an acting role until you have completely mastered the art of acting … because the doing of the acting informs you and helps to educate you to what other skills you have to make your acting even better. The same is true of your finances. We're growing a tree here, we're not carving a statue out of marble." — David Maurice Sharp

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