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VOICE OVER CAREER
Retiring From Voice Over - Or Planning
Ahead? What Will It Look Like For You?
 
By Deb Munro
Voice Actor & Coach

Time to start thinking about retirement? Is it even possible? Are you ready? Are you planning? Where do you start?

Congratulations, you’ve had a successful career.  What is it ... 20, 30, 40 years? That’s something to be proud of! 

You're among many VO veterans coming into the latter half of their careers now - pioneers in our craft. But retirement is new territory, so it’s something we must think of and plan for.

YOUR FINANCIAL PLAN

How will you financially plan? 

Work in the creative arts doesn’t usually attach itself to a pension, unless you’ve pre-planned and paid into a retirement plan – SMART THINKING! 

And for those of you not even close to retirement age, let our journey help YOU plan for your future.

Depending on where you live, insurance plans may or may not be available to you that will protect you if or when you are no longer capable of maintaining your voice career.  WHAT@#$#? Don’t be silly. Of course we can maintain our voice careers - or can we? 

It's important for us to be realistic about our aging minds, bodies and abilities.  Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that when you hit your 60’s your career is over, though you’ve likely earned your stripes to be able to join much of the world that aims to retire by 65. 

If you read my earlier article on Voice Aging, you’ll know what to do.  This includes changing your work environment and pursuing VO genres that now fit your aging voice. Textures, mouth noises, loss of articulation, breath issues, physical pains in our body from aging, making it hard to voice for hours at a time. Back issues from leaning over a computer for the past 20 years, sitting too much, standing too long, helping too many people move, etc., all catch up to hinder us as we age.

The bottom line is that we must plan and prepare!!!  It is never too late. 

WHEN STARTING IN VOICE OVER ...

If you are just starting voice over career you will likely think, “I don’t make enough to put money away for my future.”

But as a creative, you may never feel you have enough, so create a habit.  TRY to put away 10% of your income into investments or savings.  If you create this habit you will be able to follow through with it (once you are working steadily, of course).

Also consider purchasing insurance packages for the 'what ifs' in life.

For instance, what if you can’t read copy anymore due to aging eyes, or you end up with something debilitating and can’t do what you’ve always done? 

I normally hate to look at things negatively, but I’m a planner, and I DIDN’T consider this at the beginning of my career. Don’t get me wrong – I did put away savings and investments, but I didn’t start until 10 years ago. So in the bigger picture, this late start has not yet created enough money to support me if I had to be able survive on my own.

COUNTING ON YOUR HOUSE?

Fantastic! You own your home. Perhaps you’re relying on the income down the road from the sale of your home? 

Well, the real estate market is unpredictable and not reliable, so that can be a scary place to be – just like investments in the stock market. 

However, homeownership can be more reliable than stocks and investments over all, and offer larger returns – if you own a home in a good  location, etc., and in a growing market. 

WHERE WILL YOU LIVE?

Where will you live when you retire? 

As I watch my parents’ generation enter retirement homes I caution us all.  From mis-management, under staffing, high costs, and poor conditions to controlling what you are able to do and say, retirement homes scare the daylights out of me. 

There are some great retirement homes out there, and a number of benefits to finding a good retirement home, but I’ve seen more negative than positive. And as a person who likes to follow their own rules, being governed under others will be very difficult for me, I’m sure.  

I have witnessed retirement couples pay $3000-$5000/month for EACH PERSON for their retirement homes (and this doesn’t include any of their other spending yet). If there is no income coming in – how on earth do we make that kind of payment? 

Let’s look at today's inflation, for those who are retiring right now. It’s already way over what was expected. So does that mean in another 10 or 20 years it will double? 

SEEKING SOLOUTIONS

None of us can predict the future, and it seems that we don’t concern ourselves too much with it until we age. Yet by then, we have already missed many opportunities to have planned properly for this moment.

There are solutions! 

  • Find a second job/hobby that will generate income. 
  • Keep up with your editing skills and perhaps you can edit if you aren’t able to voice.  
  • Share your expertise with others as a second career teaching.
  • Perhaps it’s time to become a writer.
  • And recognize that senior voices are needed in the market too. While it may be less often, it’s enough to continue to supplement our livelihood. 

We are creatives and don’t want to stop creating. But as much as we have to always be looking for the next voice job, we must also plan our next steps as we age in this market

Will you be able to retire?  Will your mind be able to turn off this incredibly passionate industry?  Will you be able to maintain it until the day of your last breath?  Do you want to? 

Truly, I don’t know all the answers for myself yet.  I have a husband who has a plan to retire in five years.  To me that feels like tomorrow, and while he’ll be fine with me if I want to continue working, I don’t know how much I will want to watch him float in the pool all day while I maintain my workaholic self. 

But I just don’t think I can do nothing all day either.  It’s a good thing I have a ton of hobbies! 

It's almost time for that next chapter for many of us – which means it’s a great time for us to have these discussions and create a plan.

CONGRATULATIONS if you have successfully mastered the art of a voice actor and made a lifetime career out of this incredible industry – we were some of the lucky ones.  Take a bow and remember to plan and that you deserve to do what is right for you.
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ABOUT DEB
Deb Munro is an award-winning veteran of the online world, working from home for most of her career, with over 32 years experience as a voice actor, casting director, director, rock singer, and more than 20 years as a voice over coach. While she has her hands in many aspects of the industry, she is best known to fans for her roles as ‘Mai’ in the animated series “DragonBall and DragonBall GT,” ‘Carla Carumba’ in the series “Benjamin The Elephant.” “Pirates of the Caribbean” video game for Disney, “NeverWinters Night” with Bioware, ‘Bustiana’ in the Gundarr series, characters in the series “Marco Polo,” ‘Richard’ in BusyTownMysteries, “Viking Tales,” “True Pulp Murder” narrator and many more. She is currently the voice for “Makeful TV,” “Love Pets,” “Homeful,”  “ABC15," plus thousands of commercials and imaging for several radio stations, thousands of narrations, talking technology, message on hold and more. This 54 year old Rock Star Grandma of five has even topped the rock charts in the Greater Toronto Area – not once but 4 times.  Deb loves performing in her band BootLegged with her devoted husband on guitar.  She is engaging, fun, has enough energy to feed the planet and truly loves what she does and can’t wait to share it with the world.  Her motivational words of wisdom are shared on her newest podcast – Up Close with Get Mic’d – on all things communication, healing the world one conversation at a time. 

Email: Deb@DebsVoice.com
Web: www.DebsVoice.com

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