Money doesn’t have to be a mystery and other key lessons from the Netflix movie, “Get Smart with Money”

Few people are formally trained during their growing years in money management in this country.

A new Netflix movie, “Get Smart with Money,” aims to fill that void by sharing take-home lessons for people of all socioeconomic levels.

The 90-minute film, directed by award-winning screenwriter, producer and documentary filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig, features the true stories of four people who encounter various money problems – debts, life from paycheck to paycheck, lack of silver. sufficient income to support themselves and do not know how to invest even as expenses increase and retirement approaches.

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Real-life characters are paired with financial coaches who, over the course of a year, help them solve their specific problems and guide them down smarter, smoother financial paths.

“There’s a ton of content out there, but we felt there was a little gap when it came to the personal finance space,” New York-based partner Kristin Lazure told FOX Business. and producer of Atlas Films. a phone interview about the new documentary.

During the filming of “Get Smart with Money” (Netflix), director Stephanie Soechtig, president of Atlas Films (left), is seen with John Behrens, director of photography. (Stephanie Soechtig/Fox News)

“Obviously, it’s super timely” right now, she said, noting that production on the film began during the COVID-19 pandemic as people struggled with the fallout from that.

“And then, frankly, I feel like it’s only gotten worse” since then, she said.

“Inflation has gone crazy, with rising gasoline prices, food prices” and more, affecting people’s daily existence, she said.

“Small changes in the way you manage your money can actually lead to big results.”

“So we wanted to be able to give people some really basic takeaways – and let people know that you can make small changes in the way you manage your money that can actually lead to big results,” he said. she stated.

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Lazure and her team matched the four very different people “with financial coaches,” she said. “They all had different goals, different struggles and different socio-economic classes.”

One of the attendees was a young NFL player, she pointed out: Jalen “Teez” Tabor of the Seattle Seahawks.

Be smart with money

Jalen “Teez” Tabor (seated, in front of his laptop) is among those receiving financial coaching advice on Netflix’s “Get Smart with Money.” (Kristin Lazure/”Get Smart with Money”/Fox News)

He needed to learn money management skills (ie investing more than spending it).

Among other things, she said, he also had to learn that people can’t offset the cost of inflation — the rising cost of goods — if their money just sits in a bank account and earns nothing. .

The film has already received some criticism – including comments that people can’t “get smart” with money if they don’t have enough, Lazure noted.

Debt issues, spending issues, hesitancy to invest, and the need for a better work-life balance – these are common concerns for many people.

But the documentary is “largely aimed at the middle class” and the issues that plague most people – including debt issues, spending issues, a reluctance to invest and the need for a better work-life balance , she said.

“So we set out to find people we could follow over the course of the year to see what kind of changes they were able to make in their own lives, once they had been expertly handled for a while. a full year.”

Be smart with money

Financial advisor Paula Pant (left) appears in ‘Get Smart with Money’, as she advises artist Lindsey Beeman (right) on money management. (Kristin Lazure/”Get Smart with Money”/Fox News)

The intended market for the film, Lazure said, “is anyone who watches Netflix. We certainly hoped that even though people thought they knew a lot [that are explained] in the movie – thought they had a basic understanding of personal finance – that there was still something they could learn.”

Additionally, “just for pure entertainment value, we wanted people to invest in these people and their stories. But we also realized that the audience for this movie was younger.”

“We don’t teach financial literacy in school. Instead, it’s kind of like, ‘find it out for yourself.'”

She explained that “there are a lot of young people who already know a lot about money – but they want to do better with it,” she said.

“We don’t teach financial literacy in school [today in the U.S.] Instead, it’s kind of like, ‘Find it out for yourself.'”

Be smart with money

Director Stephanie Soechtig (left) is shown with associate producer Mandi Robinson of “Get Smart with Money.” (Mandi Robinson/”Get Smart with Money”/Fox News)

But “there really seems to be an appetite” for the kind of advice and information the film provides, she said. Those in their twenties “are hungry for information, hungry for advice”.

For example, she says, those involved in the film asked 20-year-olds to tell them they wanted to learn how to save for retirement. “It’s impressive,” Lazure said.

“We hope to build on that,” she said.

“I don’t know how we as a country teach square dancing in public schools, but we don’t teach personal finance.”

Regarding financial literacy and the lack of it in many cases, Lazure said, “I personally think the movie should be screened in high schools across the country. I think it would be so impactful.”

Lazure also shared that one of his colleagues involved in the making of the film commented, “I don’t know how we as a country teach square dancing in public schools, but we don’t teach personal finance. .”

silver classroom

Too often, money management skills are not taught in American classrooms, even at the high school level. “Get Smart with Money” aims to fill the void. (iStock/iStock)

She added, “It’s true. And one of the coaches in the movie was central to trying to force personal finance education at the New Jersey high school level.”

Lazure said, “It would be great if the education system took the initiative to give people basic knowledge about personal finance. But if they don’t, there can be content there” – as this movie, “Get Smart with Money” — so “people can go to it for information.”

“We hope the film, in the end, is really informative and educational – and also entertaining.”

A trailer for the film appears below.

Lazure added that the film crew has stayed in touch with the four people featured in the film – and they are all doing well.

“Lindsey, the artist, just got a new commission in Austin, Texas,” Lazure told FOX Business.

“She didn’t want to continue being a bartender who struggled to pay her bills every month. She wanted to at least find a way to make an income from her art. She was so driven – so passionate about doing it, but she didn’t know how to take the steps to get a lucrative idea out of it.”

Now, says Lazure, “she’s in a totally different place.”

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The NFL player, for his part, continues to invest, she added – “understanding that over time his money will grow again.”

“They’re all doing well. Overall, it was a very meaningful experience for them,” she added, again emphasizing that small changes can lead to very big differences for people.

“Get Smart with Money” is now available on Netflix.

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