Insider experts select the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (Here’s how). In some cases, we receive commission from our partnersHowever, our opinions are our opinions. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.
- “Be Smart With Money” is a new money-focused documentary on Netflix.
- She engages in four financial transformations over the course of a year, with the help of different financial coaches.
- Shows how money can affect our lives and how we feel – future spoilers.
Netflix recently released a new documentary on personal finance, aptly titled “Be smart with moneyDirected by Stephanie Soechtig. Over the course of 90 minutes, we follow four stories of people with different financial problems – debt, paycheck to pay, lack of income and not knowing how to invest, and rising expenses while trying to pursue early retirement (FIRE).
The four main characters are paired with a financial coach – Paula Pant from bear anythingAnd the Ro $$ MacTiffany’sbudget“Alish and Pete Adeney, who is often referred to by his surname, Mr. Money Sharp.
Aside from being a good watch, Get Smart with Money shares six smart lessons that anyone can use to improve their finances.
1. High income does not mean much if you do not know how to save and invest
Everyone dreams of making a lot of money. Such was the case for Teez, who said he knew one of the ways he could earn a lot was through football. The film was a hit at the age of 21 and is reported to have originally earned $1.6 million. This number dropped rapidly after paying taxes, buying a house for his family and another for his mother, and taking various trips.
When Teez meets coach Ro $$ Mac, he has approximately $280,000 of the original amount. Teez has no money invested in the future and fears the longevity and stability of his career and the provision of his family.
By watching this story, it is clear that high profits are not the only goal and the only path to financial success. Keeping that money and running it for your future is key. Ro $$ Mac Teez knows about it Open a brokerage account Investing in the stock market.
2. Your circumstances can change at any time
When you make good money, it’s easy to think that it will always be that way. But through Teez’s story we hear about how he made good money through football but got released and then got injured. Suddenly he had nothing to enter.
Hence, the sense of urgency to make the remaining $280,000 last as long as possible. No one likes to think about losing their next job or a health fear that can take a huge toll on finances. But it’s something we should all be prepared for, just in case.
Having no money comes a frightening reality to everyone with varying degrees of difficulty. emergency fund and disability insurance It can help support your personal finances and make sure you can weather this kind of storm.
But just as your circumstances can change for the worse, they can eventually change for the better. We finally see Teez playing football again and earning an income.
3. Paying off debt can change your future
Debt is a monthly payment that can put you in the past. But paying off debt can change your future, too. In the documentary, we meet Ariana, who is known to be an emotional spender and confesses to her fear of money.
She remembers growing up and having her parents who taught her “we deserve this” whenever they spent money. This mindset has led to spending more than you can afford.
Ariana owes credit card debt and has more than six figures in student loan debt. We see shame and guilt exploding on her face as she tries to cope with paying off debts while raising two kids. She recalls how her husband covers the bills and works overtime so that he can set aside half of her income — $2,000 — to pay off her monthly debt payments.
At some point, Ariana describes Take a personal loan to pay off credit cards. But once those limits were freed, she returned to the debt cycle.
Tiffany Aliche, AKA The Budgetnista, is working with Ariana to come up with a plan to split the check and budget for all of her commitments through automation.
Furthermore, The Budgetnista shares a rubric of questions to help rein in Ariana’s spending:
- Do I need it?
- Do I love him?
- Do I like it?
- do you want it
Ideally, we want to focus on ‘needs’ and ‘love’. During the documentary, we see how much Ariana wants to change her financial situation, not for herself, but for the sake of her family. Not working all the time, reducing stress, and going on vacation – one of the dreams she shared with Tiffany when she thinks about what she likes to do with her money. It is clear that paying down debt can change her future.
4. Starting a small business can help low-paid workers
We meet Lindsey, who lives paycheck to paycheck despite working 50 hours a week at two jobs. As a waitress/waitress, her pay simply doesn’t cut it. Her spending on dining out is also high because she is tired of working so much and being in the food industry.
One touching part of her story is the lack of health insurance coverage needed to treat depression and anxiety.
When she meets coach Paula Pant, she said she wants to break the pay-to-salary cycle and pursue her dreams as an artist. Paula encourages her to get some wagons together ASAP by walking the dogs, and to pursue her art for the long haul.
One cool idea that would allow Lindsey to do both was to have Lindsey sit in a garden and paint a dog and give a picture of the owner, with her contact information on the back to walk the dogs.
As her journey progresses, we see her earning more money through her art and dog walking. She even began selling prints of her paintings—something Paula referred to as “scalable” as the painting was once created, but Lindsay could sell the prints over and over again.
For low-wage workers, self-employment is one way to break the ceiling. We see it in Lindsey’s story, and it’s something that also resonates. I quit my nonprofit job to earn $31,000 a year in 2014 to be a freelance writer. The following year, I doubled my income and was able to pay off my student loan debt thanks to an increased income that has since grown.
5. Earning more can mean more spending
“Be Smart with the Money” follows John and Kim, a married couple with two children. After becoming unemployed during the pandemic, John has transitioned into being a stay-at-home parent — and both John and Kim adjust to their new roles and financial realities.
While John takes care of the kids and homework, a refreshing perspective is rarely shown on screen, we see Kim earning good money through her business. She earned $70K just a few years ago and was on her way to reaching $300,000.
These are classic high-income earners by many standards, but as we see in the documentary, the couple admit to earning more and then spending more. There’s a huge food budget and plenty of Amazon purchases, and the couple admit to using the spending as a reward or to manage stress.
Lifestyle hypertrophy can be normal, but unchecked and too much of it can cause misalignment. Money Mustaches tells the couple that we all have a “purchase justification machine” in which our brains will do mental exercises to justify any purchase our heart desires.
The couple set their sights on early retirement and, with the help of Mr. Money Mustache, cut $3,000 a month from expenses.
6. Chasing fire can mean making moves, in the literal sense of the word
John and Kim took the first step by slashing their expenses by a significant amount. But they realized that with their lifestyle and desire to follow the fire, they needed to make more moves. As in the move already.
We see the couple downsize their home to lower housing costs and increase their investment.
Moving is expensive and not something everyone can do. But if possible, downsizing homes or moving to an affordable location can cut costs significantly. For this couple, it was the right move to approach FIRE and, in turn, have more flexibility in life and work.