The stunt industry’s livelihood is contingent on the stunt professional’s ability to plan ahead and mitigate the risks involved in their job. They draw from multiple disciplines to assemble the necessary tools for success in a tenuous environment. Many stunt professionals are cognizant of the financial challenges their profession poses but often lack the necessary guidance to navigate these obstacles. They earn good money, but the irregularity of their income calls for a specialized approach to wealth management. This article tackles some of the key reasons why a financial advisor is critical to the financial health of stunt professionals.
As with any profession, it’s critical for stunt professionals to save and invest wisely. Yet, given the inherent physical risks and project-centric nature of their work, creating an emergency fund is not just advisable, it's imperative. As we have seen over the last year with strikes, industry disruptions can lead to short and long periods of little to no income. Obviously, this can put a strain on any financial plan, but a financial advisor can help mitigate the worst of it. By leveraging periods of high earnings, a financial advisor can help to alleviate the strain and pressure caused by seasons of low earnings.
Financial advising for stunt professionals also encompasses retirement planning. While retirement might seem a distant concern, the sooner a plan is put in place and executed upon the smoother and more stress-free the transition to retirement can be. The physical demands of the stunt industry can lead to early retirement; thus, setting up a robust retirement plan as early as possible is critical. A financial advisor can help explore various retirement options, such as SEP IRAs or Solo 401(k)s. The SAG-AFTRA also offers a pension plan to eligible members, which can be a confusing topic to understand. A knowledgeable financial advisor can help to answer questions about whether you qualify, when to begin pension payments, or in what form to accept payment.
The self-employed nature of the industry can leave individuals trying to figure out how to manage their own taxes. Managing tax implications can be impossibly confusing, so partnering with a financial advisor can help to clarify questions and ensure that you're not paying more than necessary. The creation of a corporation or loan-out company can also offer numerous tax benefits to stunt professionals including deductions and credits, which a financial advisor can offer guidance on.
Insurance planning is another must. Most stunt professionals should have extensive life and disability coverage. This ensures that you can focus on recovery without financial stress. As life changes (marriage, kids, etc.) stunt professionals need to make sure their loved ones are covered to ensure quality of life is unchanged as much as possible should the income stream become reduced. It’s essential to work with a professional who understands the knowledge or experience risks associated with the industry to provide the most comprehensive and cost-effective policies.
Most people outside of the industry might view stunt work as dangerous or overly risky. For those in the stunt industry, we understand each stunt is actually about planning and reducing the risks involved. We feel the same way about wealth management and investing. We want to partner with you to help mitigate the inherent risks of working in a feast-or-famine industry.
Cort Rogers leads the Film Industry division of Masonboro Advisors. To learn more about what Cort and his team can do for you, visit www.masonboroadvisors.com/film-industry.