American households are financially vulnerable, including 36% in 2020 Reporting that they would have trouble covering the emergency $400 expense.
a recent survey More from PYMNTS
found that 61% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, including 36% of consumers who make $250,000 or more a year. There are plenty of blame to go around for this uncertainty, including wages that don’t keep pace with inflation; a system that links health insurance to full-time employment; crushing cost of higher education; And a school system that doesn’t teach the basics of personal finance—to name a few. Yes, people also make poor choices with their money, but they do so within a financial framework that adds to their errors rather than helping them fix them.
Personal financial trainers have stepped in to this breach, and the new
document be smart with money The four of them follow as they help four millennial subjects overcome their money constraints over the course of a year. Everyone has a different goal that reflects one aspect of personal finance: earning more, starting investing, paying off debt, and preparing for retirement.
Those issues are well chosen by the producers; They represent a good representation of the major struggles the average American faces with their money. The experience aspects of the subjects are likely to be familiar to many viewers, and those with some personal finance background will probably nod with the advice given by the coaches. Yet it’s hard to look at the program without thinking about what it doesn’t address: the deep structural issues that helped propel each of these people back into a financial corner, and the limited options to avoid.
The documentary begins with Lindsay, a blue-haired bartender from Austin, Texas, who wants to stop living paycheck to paycheck. “I really don’t have a lot of time to be mine,” she laments about her 50-hour work week and two jobs. “It’s about making that money to survive.” She doesn’t have much time to pursue her craft, and she doesn’t have the health insurance she needs to afford therapy for her anxiety and depression.
Lindsay has been linked with Paula Pant, a financial journalist and founder of Afford Anything, a personal finance and financial freedom platform and podcast of the same name. Pant immediately recognizes Lindsay’s potential and trains her in side hustle that can bring in more money and harness her artistic talents. One clever idea that Lindsay has put together involves going to a dog park, sketching poochies and offering her owners her phone number for illustrations and dog walking services.
The story follows Jalen “Teez” Tabor, a professional safety in the NFL, who after two seasons was cut from the Detroit Lions and broke his leg before starting with the San Francisco 49ers. Suddenly, he found himself with zero income and not saving as much as he could to support his wife and young daughter. Like many professional athletes from modest backgrounds, Teese put aside most of his starting paycheck. While his parents taught him to hustle for himself, saving and investing “is a language we are never taught,” he says.
Enter Sharef “Ro$$ Mac” McDonald, former Wall Street professional and producer of the weekly Maconomics program on REVOLT TV. He teaches Teej about the Standard & Poor’s 500 and helps her open a brokerage account so that she can start investing the relatively little savings she has left. “What if the S&P Goes Down?” Teej asks seriously. The question is not whether, but when, McDonald’s answers, and he urges Tees not to panic and sell out of his position whenever this happens.
This is the kind of basic good advice that is offered throughout the program in a format that can be a lot for a beginner to digest. After all, entire books have been written about each and every topic covered in the film. Important issues like credit card interest are covered in a matter of seconds. This movie would be a good conversation starter between teens and any trusted adults in their lives who understand the concepts and can expand on them. (It would be nice to see a future version that focuses on older adults, as the money problem is hardly limited to the young.)
The film cuts back and forth between subjects over the course of a year. Tiffany Alish, also known as BudgetNista, helps Ariana, a New Jersey mother of two, reduce her credit card debt from $45,000 to $5,000 during the program. “Credit card debt is cancer,” she says, “we have to cut it.” next? The $108,000 in student loans Ariana took the first time in her family to attend college. Pete Adene, also known as Mr. Money Mustache, helps Kim and John, a high-earning Boulder, Colo., couple, regain control of their spending so they can plan to retire early.
The film bills itself as “queer eye for economics” but it’s a challenge that most makeover shows don’t, with finances in progress that doesn’t have the scene as a style makeover or home renovation. There’s no big reveal at the end, but tears of joy Viewers watch as Lindsay starts making good money from her artistic talents, and watch Teess get her football career back on track and teach a group of black teens the money lessons she just learned.
Yet when Lindsay finally gets health insurance — and into medicine — it’s thanks to a recent promotion from her partner. This illustrates the limit of financial advice in a gig-oriented economy: You can’t always make your way into health care.
It’s easy to root for flashy topics, but watching them struggle I wanted America not to demand bootstrapping from people who weren’t born with the means.
Write to Elizabeth O’Brien at email@example.com