401K is not Ted Williams Batting Average

Posted on January 10, 2011


Unless you’ve been living under a rock the story of Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice who fell on hard times due to drug and alcohol issues, has infiltrated your brain.

What scares me about his story is how many talent I’ve known over the years who weren’t far from being out on the streets like Williams without having overwhelming drug or alcohol problems. They were just financially irresponsible.

We all know choosing radio, or almost any other career that involves creating content, does not make for a stable career path. The old axiom that you don’t really work in radio until you’ve been fired is, unfortunately, not just hyperbole. That’s OK. We knew that going in. We made  a choice and the bumps along the road are part of the deal. 

Yet so many airtalent who understand the realities of the business still live paycheck to paycheck, never saving any money when times are good to help weather the seemingly inevitable rough seas.

I’m not a financial planner, nor do I play one on TV, but I do have a few simple suggestions that could help.

Start by figuring out how much it realistically costs you live each month. Then start saving a little each month with the goal of having a six-month safety net.

Then, scary as it may sound, enroll in your company’s 401K. It’s mostly painless and it lets you save money without having to pay taxes on it.

Finally, get some real financial advice. You don’t have to start monitoring the stock market  or reading the Wall Street Journal. Visit your bank. Go during the day when the doors are unlocked. That’s signified by not having to swipe your ATM card to get into the lobby. Ask to talk with a financial advisor and see what they suggest.