The minute you start dancing the clock is ticking. There are a
limited number of years in which to make as much money as you
can. Most dancers retire around 28. If you're starting when you're
18 that gives you ten years in which to make as much as you can
and then get out. Chances are you will never again be able to
make as much per day as you do while dancing. Make the most of
There are two kinds
of dancers, subsistence and capital dancers. A subsistence dancer
just works enough to get by. Maybe a few days a week, saves little
and is always in a financial crisis. I see these girls panicking
to get enough dances to pay rent the next day but by the next
week they are back to partying, doing drugs, buying expensive
clothes and generally pissing away every dime they earn. Their
plans for the future are vague at best and even though they claim
to realize they can't dance forever they seldom save and invest
their money or invest in an education. These girls get out of
the business no better then they started and spend the rest of
their lives getting their ass pinched in menial, low paying jobs.
A capital dancer dances
as an investment. In my opinion this is the only reason to dance.
Dancing is just too hard a way to earn a living to do it for just
enough to "get by". You can get by on a McDonalds salary. If you
are going to have guys staring at your naked ass all evening you
should at least be securing a decent future for yourself- not
just tomorrow's groceries. There are many excuses for not saving
your money but in my experience few of them are valid. Single
mother, health problems whatever- you can still afford to save.
If you work hard you can make a great deal of money dancing.
When you see that money
in your hand it just doesn't seem real, and when you keep seeing
it night after night it seems like the supply will be endless.
It's not; you need to put away the largest portion you can. Not
just a 10% or so but 30% or 40%. It is possible to do that and
still live a very comfortable life. Probably not as comfortable
as the other dancers but dancers tend to live beyond their means
and end up with nothing but memories of that nice sports car or
that fancy apartment. If you can just keep it under control for
a few years you can have that stuff for the rest of your life-
long after you're done dancing. Live within your means; base your
spending around not what you make dancing but what you would make
at a good entry-level job. Get a good, reliable car but you don't
need that giant SUV or zippy sports car. Make sure your lease
or car loan doesn't rely on a dancers level of income to pay it.
Same goes for the rent or mortgage. It's very easy to fall on
heels and break an ankle or tear up your knee- happens all the
time. You could be out of work for weeks or even months. You don't
want to be buried under a mountain of bills. I suggest buying
at least basic health insurance but if you don't you will need
at least enough savings to pay for emergencies.
So what to do with
the money you save? Well, set enough aside to pay for all of your
expenses- food, housing, tuition, utilities, car, whatever for
4 months. This is your emergency fund, put it in your saving account
and don't spend it. The rest you should invest. I have a few well
chosen mutual funds that I have been very happy with. As a dancer
you're looking to invest for the long term- at least 5 years and
probably 10. Mutual funds are low maintenance and are well suited
for this. I strongly advise agianst investing in individual stocks.
Despite all tales of buying low and selling high at the end of
the year very few people are able to make money off buying and
selling individual stocks. Stick with mutual funds, they are safer
and more reliable (at least for the novice investor).
Waiting for a record
company or modeling agency to discover you is NOT investing in
your future. If that's your thing- fine. Just go to school and
save your money just in case they don't discover you.
The best possible investment
you can make is an education. With a nice big nest egg and a good
degree you can do just about anything you want when you retire
from dancing. Without an education or any job skills that money
will eventually be gone. With an education you can make the most
of your savings, use it as capital for your own business or invest
it for a steady source of income. Too many dancers talk about
how they're planning on going back to school or they're just taking
a semester off. This is bullshit, if you want an education you
need to go to school and work hard. If you're not going to school
then you're pissing away your future.