RETIRING FROM CREATIVE SERVICES, jump off of Todd's "Getting Older" thread
Well…I didn’t want to hijack the great Getting Older, need less heavy gear thread, but turning 50 is a lot more than avoiding back pain by buying lighter toys. We need to start a new forum called:
Retiring from a Creative Services Career
because our field is akin to graphic arts, music, performance arts, etc. in that when you turn 50 not only is it harder to generate the revenue you once did but it takes a mental/stress toll on you that is harder (and less desirable) to keep pace with, the older clients who used to hire you have checked out, you have a very meaningful life OUTSIDE video production, PLUS you have to save more. At 50 you just entered the Last Phase of your Accumulation Stage, meaning stashing away the Benjamins for your retirement. Using the well established 4% Rule we need $2,000,000 just to withdraw $80K a year (Social Security is merely for groceries). We in Creative Services (CS) I have recently found out while planning my own retirement now that I am 59, have it a lot harder than people who have had “regular” jobs, staff gigs, professions, careers.
I have come to this astonishing revelation by watching the guys just a few years older than myself check out. Unless we have a going concern that someone would want to buy, like a major post house or production company with steady clients, we really have zilch to sell since our clients only wanted us, our creative mojo. The only exception I have seen is someone who bought a building to be their studio in a really bad neighborhood that became their city's hot spot. ALL this gear, no matter how we are amazed at how light and small, is meaningless when we go to sell, it’s not the days of the Arri SR or Betacams/Varicams which had a long value. They had a crank on their side to print money whereas the C300 doesn’t.
So when I turned 50 I really pressed on the gas in terms of savings, downsized pretty much everything, saved like a fiend, learned a lot about investing and am only buying gear that is offering fast, high returns. THAT’S what turning 50 in CS really means: Preparing. It’s a milestone, a wake up call to prep for what’s coming, so much more than how heavy a case we can lift. It means there's not all that much time left to save the Benjamins.
I am not all that Creative Cow savvy. Does anyone know how we can start a forum about Retiring from a Creative Services Career? Lots of professions have some forum/board/site regarding such. It would be for all of us over 50. We seem to have been freelance or had small production companies or are indie producing. No pensions. To educate myself my start up page for the last few years is:
I suggest all of you folks over 35 who don’t have a corporate pension coming (and you can't trust them anyway), or are from a super wealthy family or married rich, do the same. A lifelong freelance career means you have had to start saving from your first dollar. Done that? Remember the 4% Rule. It doesn’t factor in our love of toys…I guess the whole point here is that gear, something we all love because we're geeks and tinkerers, detracts from our ability to stash the nuts for our coming winter.
Remember the inviolate The Four Stages of a Creative Services Career:
1) Who is Steven Spielberg?
2) Get me Steven Spielberg?
3) Get me a young Steven Spielberg
4) Who is Steven Spielberg?
Guess which stage you're in at 50?
If you do respond please include your age and whether you're staff or freelance.
Hey Ned. I just turned 50 a couple weeks ago, own a video production company and the building it is housed in. I have a lot of gear that, as you said is depreciating madly fast.
I have been pondering the exact same things...what is the end game...what will the value of my company be without me? It's fascinating lying awake at night considering all the outcomes!
I, like you, am also feeling like this is the time to really save like I've never saved before. Leverage the gear we have for as long as we can (like the aging MacPro's we have in our daily arsenal).
Food for thought....I like the forum idea. Where the old codgers go to reminisce about the old days and curse the young lads.
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
I don't know of a forum anywhere on the COW, maybe anywhere on the web, where there are more geezers cursing kids and reminiscing about the good old days than this one. LOL
This is a great topic though, very much in keeping with the "lifestyle"aspect of this forum that was a huge part of why we started it: a place to talk about issues that transcended "fixes."
Let's keep taking about this, and see how it evolves. If the threads become too long or too many to manage in this forum, our magical elves will open a new forum and transplant all these conversations there.
Carry on, you geezer bastards. LOL I'm in my 50s too and am thinking about the specifics of what it will take to retire too.
Of course, Zelin will be doing this long after the rest of us are in the nursing home. Nothing keeps you young like kicking people's asses.
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Gosh, I didn't think about Bob Zelin. Is there software to block him?
I guess it all goes back to the old adage: "It's not what you make, it's what you keep". I think a lot of us in CS (Creative Services) are free spirits, never took a business course. Typical creative types. As small business owners we always kept pumping the profits back into the biz, but when you hit the big 5-0 you have to say: Wait a minute..." There is not as much time to save or come back from market crashes to our savings as we recently learned.
And happy birthday and kudos to Rich Rubash, I'm envious you own your building, I should have done that years ago. In terms of real estate for guys my age, I think we were sold a bill of goods from the residential real estate industry that "Your home is your biggest investment". Yeah, right... That's a couple extra hundred thousand I was counting on for retirement, evaporated.
And now that I look back I think I did not realize the difference, until lately, between Needs and Wants when it comes to buying gear. Like many of us here I was always fascinated by the "latest" doo-dads with blinking lights. But my savings are back on track. It's just the 4% Rule that has me up tight. I have two tips:
1) Do NOT go to your 40th high school reunion. Everyone looks scary old, many people you knew are now six feet under and everyone seems super rich.
2) Don't get any medical tests. Over 50 they will inevitably find something and that's when you start looking at your retirement funds more closely, so stay away from doctors! Trust me on this.
Hey you 50 year old kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!
Seriously, thanks Ned for providing some focus to a serious issue. I'd like to add some thoughts to this discussion, but that will have to wait for a time with fewer deadlines than today and this week.
The official video for the forum might be "bring out your dead!" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
/not dead yet/