Jul 19, 2022
How do you plan to avoid risk? BOSSES, we’re here to help! In this episode, Anne & Erikka dive into the essential planning every entrepreneur should be doing for balance in their business & life. From setting up your 401k to planning for retirement, they bring it all back to how balance is managing and planning for what the future holds. Set up your will, find a good life insurance plan, and know that your future self will be thanking you for all the hard work.
>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I'm your host Anne Ganguzza, and today I am back with my brand new series, Balance, with our special guest. Co-host Erikka J. Hey Erikka.
Erikka: Hey Anne. Hey BOSSes.
Anne: How are you?
Erikka: I'm pretty good. How about you?
Anne: Thankfully? I am good today. Not that I was really bad any other day, but I've had a few doctor's appointments recently. It got me to thinking, because I still visit my oncologist every few months and I had had some troubling blood results, which are fine, everybody. It's fine. And I'm very thankful about that, but it made me think about what if, God forbid, something should happen to me, and I was unable to work at my full time voiceover career for a certain amount of time or what if I was out for a couple months if I had to have surgery or, or whatnot? And I thought it would be a really good discussion to have. It may not be the most happy pleasant discussion to have, but I think it's an important one to have for BOSSes that run their own business.
Erikka: Absolutely. I'm a big proponent of balance in looking at it's easy to think about the present and all the things that you have to do to presently run your business. But to take a balanced approach is also to think about planning for the future. So --
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Erikka: -- things happen that we don't like, you know, either we get sick or no one wants to say it, but one day we're gonna die, all of us. We have that in common and hopefully one thing happy to talk about is one day we'll all retire and just be able to do the things that we love, even though we love this work. But you know, maybe just being able to go to the beach and make that be your job, you know, so planning for retirement.
Anne: Yeah. Such great points. And you know, I've made it fairly clear <laugh> to many people that know me, that I am planning for retirement. And I don't wanna have to be burdened with, oh my gosh, where's my money coming from? I wanna be able to enjoy my retirement. So let's talk about the things that maybe when you are a creative entrepreneur, we don't necessarily invest in that help us to plan for the future. I mean, number one, health insurance, of course.
And I'll tell you, my story is, well, my husband works. And so I'm taking advantage of that. And I take advantage of his healthcare plan, which thankfully has been a good one. And we make sure that we get the best that we can get just simply because I have had health challenges in the past. And it really is a lifesaver when it comes to money in terms of whatever we have to pay out when I go to see the doctor, right. It's kind of crazy. So I think health insurance is super important. And I know if you are union and you are in a certain level of earnings, you can take advantage of the healthcare that they offer.
Erikka: Yeah. Actually, everybody knows that currently I'm still have a full-time job. So I'm somewhat in the same position as you, Anne, in that I still have corporate insurance, but I am about, I think like $50 away from qualifying for SAG insurance.
Anne: It's there you go.
Erikka: It's like $49 and change. It's pretty funny actually. <laugh> but that's definitely something I'm looking at, even as if it's a possibility to have a secondary.
Anne: Well, that's what I was just gonna ask you. Like that's not something that you would replace your current corporate health insurance.
Erikka: No, no. No, not for now. I mean, obviously the whole corporate job, that's where I'm at today. Will I still be doing that 10 years from now, doing both? I doubt it. So kind of just having that plan for the future and making sure that me and my family have health insurance.
Anne: And it's not a guarantee anymore that when you go to work for a company that you're going to get health insurance these days. There has been a pandemic. And I think that there's probably no more important time to maybe think about health insurance as when there's a pandemic happening. And you wanna make sure that you keep yourselves healthy and can pay for any care that you might need. And especially now let's say you get long-term COVID and that affects you. You were a full-time voice talent. Even if you weren't a full-time voice talent, if you're part-time and you can't voice, what are you going to do? So what about health insurance that could be a secondary health insurance?
Erikka: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I think that's a great segue to number two is disability insurance. That's something that a lot of corporations offer as well, but if you're not working for a corporation or maybe it's just not as affordable, there are independent disability policies out there. And I do have one, even though I have the corporate job to supplement. So if you can't voice for a few weeks, you can still get some income.
Anne: Right. That's actually so smart of you. So what made you make that decision to purchase independent insurance?
Erikka: Yeah, I think it was probably -- God. How long ago? At least maybe like seven or eight years ago, I started talking to a financial planner, and we started talking about life insurance and sort of disability insurance comes up in that conversation because it's all about wealth protection. Right? So even though it's making you great money, it's like, again, something happens to you, and that is gone or a lot of corporations with the long term disability, it cuts you down to like 60%. My father had a really bad accident that almost killed him four years ago. And his disability insurance, you know, like, I think like the first week or two was like short term and it's 100%, but then it went down to 60%.
He had a mortgage, you know, a dog, like, you know, you don't plan for these kind of things to happen. So you have to have that contingency plan in place. So it really just made me think I had two kids. I was a single mom at the time. And it was like, you know, if something happens, I gotta make sure that we're okay. And I am risk averse. Like the definition, look at dictionary, Erikka J's picture is there. So <laugh> So I like to have a plan and plan ABC. So I needed to have life insurance and disability.
Anne: And you know, what's so interesting. Even health insurance, I'm just gonna backtrack. Just a touch, because it's not a secret. I had some expensive surgery, not so long ago. And in a year, if you have a decent insurance plan, a lot of times they'll say, well, we'll cover you up to... And then after so much money that you put into it out of pocket, we cover 100%. Well, what happens is when you reach that number where you shouldn't typically have to pay anymore out of pocket, guess what? They start determining the procedures that are actually qualify for that. I've got, see, I got so upset about it. I was, I couldn't even get it out.
So yeah, some procedures and some portions of your doctor visits or, or procedures, they are not covered under that. I was like, well, look, at least I made my goal. So now I shouldn't have to pay anything else for my next, you know, set of tests that come back. No, come to find out that a lot of that stuff, some of it isn't covered under the policy and the plan. And so you really have to read those plans carefully and the fine print, 'cause a lot of times they make it sound a whole lot better than it might be.
Erikka: And I'll backtrack with you, Anne, I'll run back to where you are. Not all health insurance plans are equal, right? So even the ones that are offered by corporations or by, you know, whatever, you know, full-time job you might have or part-time, it might be that if you qualify for SAG insurance, it might be that that plan is better. You have to look at the deductible, you have to look at what is and is not covered at what percentage who's in network that's close to where you are. You know, so just having a plan and not just kind of taking what's thrown at you and looking at your options is super important for health insurance and dental, dental. Oh my goodness, dental. We talk, please take care of your mouth.
Anne: Is there any dental plan that covers more than a $1000 worth of work. That's what I wanna know.
Erikka: Yeah. I don't think so.
Anne: Because I think everybody has the same plan, and it covers up to $1000, and yet some of those dental procedures are way more than that. Especially I know I went through implant surgery a couple years back, and I had to strategically time it so that I got maximum amount of coverage one year, and then I could get the rest of it the following year. And so --
Erikka: We did the same.
Anne: -- thankfully I could schedule things a little bit apart so that I could strategically get more money. And that's so important for us, right? I mean, in the middle of those surgeries, you know, my voice changed because I didn't have teeth maybe, or I had teeth or I was having a problem with my teeth, and I was in pain. So that's definitely something to think about.
Now, most people, and I'm gonna come back to the short term disability, most people don't even think about short-term disability these days because it's just one of those kind of, I don't know, rare things. But the problem with thinking about it in that way is that it only takes one thing to happen where you will need short term disability or in long term disability. And that's when it becomes uber important that you have protected yourself.
Erikka: Absolutely. And that's the balanced mindset, right? Is like none of us want to think about being hurt or not being able to do something for ourselves or being, you know, in a bad space. But the reality is that it is possible. A few years ago I was thinking that I was still a little younger than I was <laugh> and jumping on a trampoline with my kids and rolled my ankle pretty bad before at a gig when I was doing stage performances. So when I was jumping on the trampoline, it really made it bad. And I had a high ankle sprain and I was in a boot for like six weeks. So <laugh> thank God. I mean actually it's voice over, you know, that doesn't really affect us too much, but there may be some things that happen where you could be taken outta the game for six weeks or so.
Anne: You know, you could be in pain and just that simple fact, right, it affects because what we do is with our bodies and you know, not just our mouths, right? But our bodies and if our bodies are affected, it affects our mouths. It affects our performance. It affects our mental health. I will say, thank goodness that we do, at least when I went through my surgeries, I was back in the studio after two weeks, thankfully. But I also couldn't be in the booth for too long. Otherwise I got tired. I was still recovering. And so thankfully during that time, you know, my husband had a job, but if this were what was supplying the family with financial aid, it would really be something that I would've thought about.
Erikka: Yeah. And this is something I'll have to dig more into. So nobody take my word for this. I'm just kind of expressing a thought here. I do think that there are some plans that allow for like partial disability, because like you mentioned, like, you know, right now, like let's say you were back in the booth, but you weren't able to work at full capacity, and you can prove that your income has been affected by that dramatically. I do think that there are some policies that can help you with that too, because you can show that your income has been reduced by a medical condition. That's partially disabled. So just even thinking like that, that there's a variety of scenarios that can happen that none of us want to happen, but planning for the future is important so that you don't put yourself in a bad spot.
Anne: And I don't care how old you are. <laugh> actually the younger you are, the younger you are, I'm gonna say it's highly recommended to think about these things when you're young. Because let's say retirement, right, if you start putting away for retirement or you have a company that is -- do companies match?
Erikka: A lot of them do.
Anne: Do companies match anymore? Okay. That's good.
Erikka: Yeah, mine does. And it's fantastic.
Anne: Yeah. That was a big benefit, right, that your companies would match what you put into your retirement that was like, ooh, I have great benefits. And it's really all about that. And I, I have a feeling though that these benefits are slipping away from companies, but they're still very, very important. And I know back when I did work, I have a pension thankfully, which will be coming to me. And so does my husband. So we have that that we're accounting on, but we've also got other plans as well that we've invested in. Mutual funds and whatever it is. What about any other types of investments that you can recommend?
Erikka: Yeah. So number three, retirement. Definitely. If you are at a job, please, please, please, please, please get a 401k and do your matching. There are a lot of, I've read quite a few books on this subject that a lot of advice that say that don't go over whatever they're matching. And I could definitely see for me, that's what I do is just up to the match. So like my company matches 6% of my income, so I contribute 6%, and anything else that I can do I put in other places, 'cause you don't wanna have all your eggs in one basket.
Anne: Yes. Is that why the recommendation says not to go more than that and to put it elsewhere?
Erikka: Because the thing is that when you come of age and you take that money out from the 401k, now that money becomes taxable. And you don't wanna be in a position where now you're 70 and you're paying more taxes, right, than what you're pulling out, then you're making money. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So the thing is that you wanna spread it out, spread the love a bit. And the thing is that as entrepreneurs, we get to double dip. We get to have the 401k, if you're still working at a corporate job, and you can also get a SEP, a self-employed retirement plan or self-employed plan, something like that. I actually just opened one this year. Well, last year. So that way you can put that money aside, still can be pre-taxed. There are also after tax options, like Roths and whatnot.
Anne: Yep, yep. That's what I have. Yep.
Erikka: Yeah. And there are like different things. You can invest it in like real estate, you know, you can pick which mutual funds or whatever, or have somebody manage it for you. But you just have more than one option to fund your retirement.
Anne: By the way, this is a disclaimer for the podcast is that we are not wealth management experts.
Erikka: Not at all. This all from personal experience.
Anne: Just sharing, yes <laugh> Just sharing our personal experiences. Yes. And so I'm thankful that I have pensions set up, but that doesn't mean that I'm not investing now smartly in other areas. You know, I have a Roth IRA. I have a financial planner that I work with, and he's actually been taking care of me since my job actually. I just kind of stayed with him because he knows me well and I trust him. And I think that's an important thing, like what to look for in a financial planner. Did you have one recommended to you or?
Erikka: Yeah, that's a great question. You know, what's really funny is I don't remember how I met my financial planner. 'Cause originally it was one guy, and I think maybe somebody at work might have referred him, but that guy ended up leaving the company. And I got replaced with another guy and now we're like friends, Brandon, shout out to Brandon with Northwestern Mutual. He's a great guy.
I think somebody that just, first of all, listens, they're not just trying to sell and shove stuff down your throat, really listening to your needs and your concerns and what you're looking for, what you feel comfortable with from a budget perspective on spending. The thing that I loved about my financial planers too, is that they didn't jump into the sale of the plan. They obviously explained it to me, but from a total wealth health perspective. We looked at like my debt and like coming up with a plan to get that paid down or off, which yay, I've pretty much done other than the mortgage and student loans. But yeah. So just really somebody that's gonna listen and take your needs into account and make that first, before they get the sale. 'Cause obviously they are selling policies at the end of the day, but yeah, I think that's important.
Anne: That's true. And we always have to think about that. They are selling something at the end of the day, and they are profiting off of it. And so that's why it's so important that, yeah, you can find someone that you can connect with. And I think you're right. Looking at someone who's really looking at you and your financial future and at least seems like they have your best interests at heart before they try to sell you.
Erikka: For sure. For sure. <laugh>
Anne: Because I think a lot of us get a little bit, whoa. The eyes like, oh my God, I don't know. Talking about money and financial planning gets me nervous.
Erikka: Yeah. A lot, lot of people.
Anne: Because that's not necessarily my forte.
Erikka: <laugh> yeah. Then you start adding in things that are seen as like morose, which I think is number five we're on now is life insurance. It's like, nobody wants to think about dying.
Anne: Yeah. Right?
Erikka: It's like, I'll just be here until whatever happens. And I don't wanna think about what's gonna happen. But if you have a family, if you wanna have anything that you wanna leave behind. And honestly, even if you don't have kids, if you have things, like if you have built up some type of wealth, if you have a house, you don't want people fighting over that stuff in probate court and whatnot. And like people trying to figure out how to pay for your funeral. I hate what hurts my heart when I see GoFundMes to have to pay for someone's funeral. You know, families should be able to grieve without having to worry about the money to do it.
Anne: I agree.
Erikka: Get life insurance. There are so many different types of plans and some are, are more affordable than others. At least look into it and you know, put it in your plan.
Anne: Absolutely. Absolutely. And with that, I mean, again, wills, wills are important.
Erikka: Wills, power of attorney and trusts.
Erikka: Again, it's just my personal experience. But I have talked to a professional and bad girl Erikka, I haven't done it yet, but it is on my list for this year. Yeah. I was educated that a will is not enough. A will, can be contested in probate court. And I was shocked. I was like, really? Are you sure? Like for the lawyer --
Anne: That's actually news to me.
Erikka: Yeah. <laugh>
Anne: Wow. So what else is necessary then?
Erikka: So I've heard that like a trust is really kind of the most, I guess I could say foolproof --again, I'm not a lawyer, so this is what I've been told. And what I've heard is the easiest way to ensure that what you want to go down goes down. If you already have things set aside in a trust for your kids or for whoever, there's nothing to contest. It's already set aside, their name is on it. The ownership just passes on to them having a power of attorney, especially medical, someone to make those decisions for you. Knowing what the hierarchy is is that normally it will go to your spouse. If you're not married, it will go to the oldest child. If you don't have an oldest child, it'll go to the parent. I might have that mixed up. But knowing what that is, and if that person doesn't want that responsibility, you need to put it on paper of who it might be. <laugh>
Anne: Exactly, exactly.
Erikka: Like maybe your husband or wife doesn't want that choice because it's too hard for them. I don't know. Like you have to talk about that.
Anne: And not only do it just once, but you have to update it when things happen.
Erikka: God, yes.
Anne: Right? In the family, it needs to be updated. And I'm guilty of that right now because you know, a family member has unfortunately passed away. And so I need to think about, okay, who would be next in line for my possessions once I pass on? So it is important to kind of keep those things up to date.
Erikka: Yep. Yep. And guardianship agreements, which was something I had never heard about. But you have to think about that. If you do have kids, being able to have on paper or even if you're incapacitated for a little while. If God forbid you get COVID, you're intubated for, you know, a couple weeks, who's gonna take care of your kids in the meantime? You don't want that decision to be up in the air. So yeah. All these planning for the future sort of items are just important to think about, especially if you are really just doing voiceover or entrepreneur and don't sort of have, you know, another company that supplies these things for you, you wanna supply them for yourself.
Anne: Yeah. And again, bringing this back towards the idea of a balanced entrepreneurial, you know, career. And not just what's the income that I'm bringing in, but what am I expensing, that kind of a thought process? 'Cause we don't like to think about what we have to pay for, but we certainly love the money coming in. And so we don't always wanna think about the future and protecting ourselves or even investing in ourselves for the future, but it is absolutely a part of your life, right, And of course your business as well, to make sure that you have planned for these types of events that can happen. And especially if we can't work, I think it's so important for us. I think most of us don't even think about it because, number one, we're fortunate that a lot of us can work from home.
And we've got our studios in our house, so what could possibly happen that would stop me from being able to work in my house. Well, I can't talk maybe or yeah. Some sort of an illness that takes that away from me. And I'll tell you, I have a lot of people that inquire about voiceover that are disabled or want to be in the home because they can't go out for some reason into the workforce and that maybe they are on disability. And so it is a wonderful career for that. But I think if we're healthy and we're not thinking about that, <laugh>, we're not thinking about it. And I think we need to.
Erikka: Yeah. And it doesn't even have to be bad things like, as has recently, you know, everybody should know now that I am with child at 40.
Erikka: Jesus. Which, I mean, it's great, but it's a little different than when I was pregnant at 25. So, you know, like there are different complications. I've got thyroid issues now that I, you know, I have to take medication for and watch. I'm a little more at risk for things like preeclampsia that could put me out early or put me in the hospital or put me on bedrest. And if I can't work, even though this is a great occasion -- I'm having a new life and a new new family member, but I have to plan.
Anne: And you probably have to visit the doctor more.
Erikka: That's the other thing, yes.
Anne: Because of that, right?
Erikka: Well, and I've also been in the booth a little less. I just had to slow down. I have to go to the doctor very often. So there are times where I might have to push a session out or not be able to do something right away because I have a doctor's appointment. Or, I'm in the booth, my breath support is not the same <laugh>
Anne: So I can vouch for that after having surgery on my chest. Absolutely. I mean, yeah. And also, and this is a -- like I thought I'd be young forever, but I'll tell you what, as I'm becoming older, it is so much more important, your health, taking care of yourself because just, I can't do what I used to do. And it just, that impacts my business a little bit. I mean, it's not, it's not a horrible scenario, but I definitely am feeling age and how it's affected me to be able to perform and do what I do on a day to day basis.
Erikka: Right. And the whole point is just to have a plan for it. If you have contingencies in place and you know, things that prepare for the future, then you'll be fine. But we just can't just act like everything's gonna stay the way it is because just like technology, as Anne and I know <laugh> things get old <laugh>
Anne: We need backups.
Erikka: We need backups.
Anne: We need backups. That's right. We need backups. Oh man. I'll tell you for sure. And I think that, again, it gets to the point where I know there's a lot of people that try to enter into this industry. And it's one of those where I don't know if it's the concept of the dream of, oh, I can work from home, and it's gonna be easy, that a lot of people come to this business without thoughts of investing in the business. They're like, well, I don't have a lot of money, but I wanna be able to work and make thousands of dollars a month doing voiceover.
Erikka: Yeah. Gonna spend so many more thousands first.
Anne: <laugh> But yeah, that's this thing. I mean, I think the whole concept of investing in your business now here's a good balance, right? Not necessarily listening to the dream and simplifying things to the point where, oh, it's just so easy. I'll just be able to buy a microphone and do this. No, there's so many things that you have to think about in order to run your business. And then it's beyond that because I know it took me a long time before I really thought seriously about disability, life insurance now that I am doing this full time and really helping to support the family that I have and be able to contribute to it in a very helpful way versus, oh, I can only contribute this because I'm not a fully owned -- you know, my husband is gonna retire sooner than me.
And so I'll be the one that will be kind of taking on the, probably the income for a few years until I retire. I mean, I'd love to be able to retire at the same time. And I'll tell you, that's what I keep trying to do on a day to day basis. But in the meantime I found myself planning my business for extra income and extra streams of income so that I can afford to reinvest it in things that will protect us when I wanna be able to just enjoy my life when I retire and not have to worry about health expenses, not to worry about how am I gonna live, how am I gonna pay the rent, or I wanna travel, how am I gonna pay those bills? And so now is the time to think about those things. And any of you BOSSes out there that are thinking about getting into the industry, it is something that you should consider. Yeah, this industry is not necessarily as easy as a lot of people wanna think it is.
Erikka: And you have to think about it that even though yes, we're at home and yes, for the most part, we're either sitting or standing in our booths most of the day or sitting down editing, this is still a physical job. It still is labor. Like --
Anne: How could I break an ankle?
Erikka: You know what I mean? Like, yeah. You're probably at low risk to break things, but it is still something that requires your body in order to do the work. So as you get older or things happen where you might get sick, you wanna try to find, you know, passive forms of income that can support you such as policies or real estate investments or whatever other investments you're interested in. But also thinking about, you know, me having to work from home for the past two years before even being pregnant, I put on a couple pounds 'cause I wasn't moving around as much. And that affects health. You know? So making sure that you are thinking about that future and taking care of yourself and doing things to move around and get about that people that are working outside the home kind of get naturally that you may not, if you're working from home doing voiceover.
Anne: Exactly. And I love that you brought up the idea of passive income that doesn't have to do with voiceover. I mean, passive income is just a -- we can have a whole podcast on that.
Erikka: Oh my God.
Anne: It's just the coolest concept, right, the passive income, because that's really where I have been delving my concentration into how can I make passive income that's going to supplement me in retirement? And so I love that you said just in other investments, in other areas, not just voiceover, how can you make passive income in other ways? And so, I think a lot of people think that, oh, if I'm full-time voiceover, that's all I have to do. No, think of it this way. You are an entrepreneur. I don't even really think of it. Oh, I'm a voiceover talent and that is my business. I am an entrepreneur and I am a business first. And so to me, the challenge and the joy is how can I make money?
Erikka: Multiple streams of income are the key to wealth. Absolutely.
Anne: Yes. Exactly. How can I make money so that I am not worried about it or stressed about it? Because that's one of the biggest issues when we first come into the business and we're doing full-time voiceover, and maybe it's the first time you've had your own business. And now you're like, oh my gosh, where's this money going to come from? That's the huge stressor, I think in the first few years of anyone's business is, oh gosh, where's the money coming from? Where's the income? And when you can start to devise and plan and strategize streams of passive income, I think that's when you're really growing your business. And for me, that's, that's so exciting.
Erikka: Isn't it? Like, it's really cool to just be able to like make money in your sleep. If we could like man, like there are ways to do it. There are people that do it and to hop on a soapbox real quick, even things that are related to voiceover, this is why understanding usage and having cutoffs for things that are broadcast are so important because that can be passive income. That is voiceover related. If they use your voice again and wanna run it again, you don't have to get in the booth and make that money. You don't wanna cut yourself out of that. So please, I mean, people, BOSSes that are coming into this and coming to see Anne, please, please, please understand usage and have those things in place.
Anne: Oh, I'm so glad you landed on that one.
Anne: Yeah. Excellent point and usage is, there's that lovely stream. <laugh> passive income.
Erikka: The residuals. They're beautiful. The unexpected checks.
Anne: <laugh> You gotta love it. You gotta love it. Well, what a great conversation. Maybe not as fun as some people like to think in, in this voiceover business, but a definitely a necessary conversation to have. BOSSes, balance, balance in your career, balance in your life, planning, planning for the future. That is most definitely an important factor in maintaining, achieving balance in your lives and careers. So. Wow.
So I'd like to give a great big shout out to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can network and connect like a BOSS. Find out more at ipdtl.com. And I also have another moment that I'd like to take to ask you to imagine a world full of passionate, empowered -- wow. That was a lot of P's -- diverse individuals giving collectively and intentionally to create the world that they wanna see. You can make a difference. Visit 100voiceswhocare.org to learn more about how your voice can make a difference. You guys have an amazing week, and we'll see you next week. Bye!
>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at voboss.com and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.