Still possible to supplement retirement income as a musician?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by NBS2005, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    I have friends even in Buffalo that play music full time but you have to hustle. I choose to not pressure myself to play music for money. Our band stays pretty busy but it barely keeps up with my expensive hobby. One man bands in nursing homes can do well, teaching is a lot better than when I taught (around $40 per hour) The worst of all is a bar band gig. But there are no sick days, paid vacations, and paid holidays. Best of luck!
     
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  2. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    Very bad idea to count on any other income, let alone music, rather than work your full pensionable career. Anything can happen. Don't pressure yourself. Work 5 more years. Play as a hobby during that time. Then retire properly, and do whatever the heck you want! Playing is more fun if your wallet is fat already
     
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  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Want a tip? Be an uber driver and Airbnb your spare room. Turn your hobby into your daily hustle, watch your passion for it evaporate.
     
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  4. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    If you put in 40 hrs a week, and manage several cash flows - students, wedding/corp gigs, sales/repair, and retail, its reasonable to approach 60k+ annually. Bar gigs ($100, 6hr gigs, lol) are a last resort for obvious economic reasons. Bar gigs are cool for bar bands, where its more about personal entertainment than income.

    And, if you die before then (anything can happen), the dilemma solves itself. ;)
     
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  5. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    Can you hook up with the studio scene and start playing sessions? Once you get in it is often pretty regular.

    Bob
     
  6. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    My girlfriend's mother said something like, "We've got plenty of money for our retirement, as long as we don't live very long".

    Actually her dad plays gigs for money when he gets them and sells wood work at flea markets. He brings in a few bucks but mostly just does all that because he likes to BS with people.
     
  7. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    It may be possible ... but the business has changed to the point where it is very hard .... ( unless you can do Piano bar). You are better off getting a part time job. I made a living playing back in the 70's ... in today's environment I wouldn't think that would be net to impossible.
     
  8. stormsedge

    stormsedge Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Sounds like more work is required than "retirement" dictates...but do what makes you happy.
     
  9. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    When I first read your post one of the first questions I had was "what is your experience in the industry already"?

    If you still consider yourself an amateur, and you don't already have a "ton of experience" then $30K a year is not likely to happen in music. There is a line up of pro's trying desperately to reach a number like that. Not to mention... the golden horseshoe is saturated with quality musicians, and not enough gigs to go around.

    If you set your sights on a little mad money (a few hundred a month) that would be more realistic.

    (note: I'm talking about gigs... if you are a decent teacher that could change things)
     
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  10. Dreadnut

    Dreadnut Tele-Holic

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    I'm collecting Social Security and still playing a lot of gigs - at least 2 per week - all volunteer.
     
  11. telefire

    telefire TDPRI Member

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    One can supplement your income. We make $4-5k each in a given year. 2 of us are retired. It's a 3 piece so the money splits better. We mostly play country because there are only a handful of decent country bands but dozens of blues bands and classic rock bands. We played 39 shows last year. The mileage deduction and the income, subsidize my gear and give me extra $ to take my wife out ounce in awhile. We have a web page with videos and keep up on social media and book all our own gigs. Many venues start the show at 8 or 8:30 and only 3 sets. Some have a house PA and include dinner and a drink. The casinos are bigger $ but they want more pieces than 3. The summer parks gigs are $700 +/- for 90 minutes but you have to have your promo together. We all live in small towns. We won't travel more than an hour for a show. (who wants to get home that late) The city holds no $ for us- too many bands. So I'm more than pleased and surprised how well this is going.
     
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  12. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    If you're accruing an additional retirement % of your salary per year, then yes probably better to stick it out, as much as it seems it will never come, it does! and that extra $$ pays off for the rest of your life. in the meantime you could be putting the pieces in place for post-retirement music-related supplemental income. My $0.02!
     
  13. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    This sounds right. Maybe start doing some side teaching. Maybe you love it and are good. If that develops maybe it can get you to semi retirement into music.
     
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  14. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Meister

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    Wait a minute
    We were the young guns ready to take on the world and now we talk about retirement income?
    I retired last year myself ,but where did it go
    What’ happened
     
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  15. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If your present job has a pension plan, I'd stick with it. That extra 5 years of contributions can make a difference to your retirement income. You'll also be contributing to CPP (Canada Pension Plan).

    I'm 70 and retired. Having a pension from my career as a Boilermaker, along with CPP ($1050 CAD monthly) and OAS ($650 CAD monthly), means my wife and I can live with dignity and financial independence. Having said that, we live modestly. Some retirees end up using food banks.

    You'll need to figure the cost of dental and drugs into that 5 years as well. Having to pay for checkups, cleanings, maybe a root canal or crown here and there, for yourself and your spouse (if you have one) can be expensive. I was able to keep up my health & welfare plan (drugs, dental, eyeglasses, etc.) after retiring in 2015 for less than $100 a month for the rest of my life.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
     
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  16. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    Relying on my music income as essential would be a real drag. All my gig money is extra sprinkles on the icing on the cake.
     
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  17. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Thinking about this, and I can only speak for myself, one of the joys of retirement is no longer being responsible to an employer. I'm planning on retirement in July. I don't want to be responsible to bandmates, bars, or anything else. Going out on my own looks like a reasonable alternative, at first glance. Except... Open mics don't pay. Restaurants where I live want something with broader appeal than what I play for my own enjoyment. Gear is expensive. A PA and a good Taylor electric acoustic don't come cheap. I have a pure acoustic guitar I love, but micing it and playing without moving so I can play and sing into a different mic will require concentration that I don't have at 70. For me, this is the stuff of dreams and fantasies. That said, if playing to derive income from it floats your boat, don't forget your life jacket.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  18. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I think you could cobble together a modest living.
    I've thought about it.
    Gigs, repairs/set-ups, lessons...
    It would take awhile to build it up.
    I think the key is to cover as many bases as possible.
    It's MUCH easier to make $100 giving lessons than playing gigs!
     
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  19. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i'm not being sarcastic here: I think a person could make more money busking than playing gigs.

    where I am, you'll starve to death if you depend on paid gigs.
     
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  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Thinking about early retirement... I don't know your profession, but odds are you're at the peak of your career - highest paid, easiest time doing it. Not as much need to hustle and reinvent yourself as there was when you were starting out.

    Why would you trade five more years of that, for what, twenty years? of ... reinventing yourself, hustling, and being paid nothing like you were before. And what about benefits? If you were in the US, I'd say you better factor in being too young for Medicare, vs insurance costs that your company quietly includes in your salary. Not sure how any of that stuff translates to Canada.


    Keep the job, and when you retire, you can really relax. Play on weekends, or whatever, and anything you earn is pure icing on the cake. No stress.
     
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