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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

It’s going to “Get smart with money” – Movie Highlights


Let’s jump straight to the real news:

  • A Netflix documentary just came out called Get Smart With Money
  • Somehow the old Mr. Money Mustache and some friends are tricked into playing a role in its making. And I am very happy with the results!
  • And you can watch the results here (which will contribute enormously to the film’s success!): https://www.netflix.com/title/81312877

Now the real story behind this strange situation. Why did I agree to this? Shouldn’t I retire? Do you get paid a lot to be in a Netflix movie? And does that mean that you will become ‘famous’ and that your life will change? Read on to find these answers and more.

The origin

On a sunny afternoon in December 2020, I received an email from the co-owner of a film company with this title:

Feature documentary – personal finance

It included a very well-written description of her idea for a movie, and a heartfelt invitation for me to be one of the people in the movie.

I immediately went through my usual chain of reactions: I felt flattered that someone would actually want me in their production. Then I get scared of the idea of ​​actually signing up for a lot of ‘work’, while as a retiree I am already far too busy with fun, meaningful things. Then a motivated excitement to immediately write back and say:

“Thank you very much, I’m honored, but no thanks, and good luck and maybe I can help you by email, just as a casual consultant, if you need ideas.”

Well, that didn’t work out. Because this filmmaker turned out to be Kristin Lazure, who then pulled her co-founder Stephanie Soechtig into the conversation, and together they ran Atlas filmsnot just any documentary company, but one of the best those in the country.

Atlas has made super compelling films about food, public health, guns, political cover-ups and much more, all watchable and action-oriented. When I looked at their previous titles, I realized that Atlas doesn’t exist just to create entertainment or profit from cheap controversy. They are willing to do the real work to surface the real stories, with the goal of creating positive social change.

“Shit,” I thought. “How can I say no to this, if my goal with this MMM hobby is really to want to make a difference myself?”

I realized that doing screen and camera work is indeed difficult and sometimes inconvenient and that it would take up some of the time I would normally spend writing blog articles. But in return, it would almost certainly reach many more people for every hour I invested in it, and just as importantly, it would reach new people, Netflix viewers who are probably a different group than blog readers.

And if you put aside my serious eyebrows-like-adult charade of being concerned and logical, I thought it would be that way too very nice to be part of such a big, exciting, new experience. And shit man, how fun to be able to go to a friend’s house and challenge him or her to put on YOUR OWN NETFLIX MOVIE!?!

So I said yes, and the giant ball started rolling very quickly, and suddenly we spent all of 2021 jumping through a series of occasional filming days, and recording Zoom calls, and other silly, interesting experiences.

Some of it was difficult, indeed (like being pressed onto my patio with a dozen production crews in the full, sweltering sunshine of a July afternoon, pretending to act naturally while answering interview questions, pausing only to take the occasional gallons of sweat from wiping my forehead.) But it was almost all in good fun. And it led to wonderful new experiences and friendships for all of us.

One thing you’ll notice when you watch the movie is that I talk a lot about how hard this all was, but in the movie it seems like I’m popping in every now and then, doing a few bike tricks and playing with power tools. and oh yeah, sometimes drop in a few wise financial one-liners to help my students get started. This is because our content has been reduced by a likely ratio of 100:1. They cover a lot There’s a lot of ground in this movie with a lot of people, and yet somehow it all feels natural and coherent.

My favorite part is probably my old concept of the “Purchase Justification Machine,” first described in this article from 2019 about not buying a Tesla made its way into the movie in the form of a glorious and silly animated image on the screen – looking at Kim as she browsed Amazon while riding her Peloton.

Money and fame

Oh, and no, we didn’t get paid much at all, especially if you calculate it on an hourly basis. Documentaries like these have a high production budget when it comes to top quality crew and equipment, but they somehow manage to get us as participants in front of the camera to donate almost our time.

If you value fame or notoriety, that alone can be considered a valuable form of payment. But in my case, any added familiarity would be a downside – there are very few advantages in the real world and quite a few disadvantages regarding privacy, which could even lead to danger in extreme situations. However, I thought I was just one of many people in this movie, and it’s a small fish compared to the entire ocean of Netflix. When I weighed that against the benefits of sharing better financial and lifestyle habits, I took an optimistic assessment and decided that the good aspects outweighed the bad. I’ll let you know how this goes now that the movie is out!

So what is the movie about?

Atlas films brought together four financial gurus, all with different backgrounds and styles (Paula Broek, Tiffany Aliche, Ro$$ Mac and myself.)

Then they had us send out ‘casting calls’ to the Internet, calling up our ideal students with the offer of a year of free coaching – in exchange for it all being filmed and shared with the world.

Surprisingly, we received a lot of responses – in the form of personal video stories from singles, couples and families, all charming and genuine and I wish I had time to welcome and try to help all theirs.

Ultimately, I chose a young family of four that belongs to the same target group as the target group I target these blog posts: people with high incomes and high expenses, who wonder where all the money goes.

I taught my husband and wife, John and Kim, how to streamline their initial spending budget of $13,000 per month (!!) through things like grocery shopping and dining more efficiently, keeping a closer eye on impulse purchases, thinking about housing, neighborhoods, and school choices. (private versus public), and whether additional income streams should be taken into account in the longer term, so that they can scale back their work.

Update: Since publishing this post, many people have emailed me asking how they can get in touch with Kim for the (non-financial) coaching she offers – you can find her here: www.kimmassale.com

As you’ll see in the film, the end results were subtle and dramatic at the same time. And I’m happy to report that these test subjects are now real friends and even live nearby, so we can enjoy the results of their more fun new lifestyle together.

So I hope you enjoy both the movie and the backstory. I’m really glad I said yes, even though I can guarantee I won’t be back for a sequel or an ongoing series. The camera vans have long since left and my schedule is back to its normal, blissfully open state.

With this little report on you Now that I’m wrapping up, I’m going to get back to my construction projects here at the house for the rest of this week, and then go camping deep in the mountains this weekend. Seventeen years later, this version of retirement remains the right life for me.

And I wish you your own version of living the dream this week too!



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