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Inside Job

What Actors Need to Know About Money

What Actors Need to Know About Money
Photo Source: Dechart Photography

Miata Edoga was in major debt. She was working so many odd jobs she wasn’t able to focus on her acting, but she still couldn’t get above water financially. So she started taking financial education classes and eventually started her own firm, Abundance Bound—all while maintaining an acting and writing career.

What’s the difference between financial education and financial planning?
Financial planning is when someone sits down with you and looks at what investments you should be making and what insurance you should have, essentially creating your financial plan for the future. But because most of us lack financial education, we don’t understand how our money works or should work. What ends up happening is someone gives you a financial plan that you don’t understand. You’re not even actively engaged in the behaviors necessary to implement that plan.

How did you start?
I came out of college and moved to Los Angeles and proceeded to make every financial mistake in the book. I really had no idea how much money I needed on a monthly basis. I had dozens of part-time jobs and couldn’t pay my bills. I racked up thousands of dollars in debt; it was really scary. My life was not remotely in my control, so I made a decision to understand money. That led me on a path of reading and classes. I worked with a financial coaching program. Over the course of eight months, I was making such a difference in my own financial life, they asked me to train and coach for their company. I just kept thinking, What if someone had taught me this as an actor when I was in college?

How do you gear your advice toward artists?
There are these “rules” of traditional financial planning that don’t apply to us. People say, “You need to be investing the maximum amount in your 401(k) that your company will match,” but most of us have never had a 401(k). It’s not that the traditional information that is out there in financial books doesn’t apply, but it really has to be delivered and tweaked in a way that doesn’t instantly shut us down and make us feel like we’re failing, that doesn’t let us off the hook. I have the same financial responsibility as someone with a 9-to-5 job, and I can’t shirk those responsibilities because I decided to be an artist.

Why is it so important for actors to be financially educated?
I believe for our community, financial education is critical. If we had regular jobs and got paid every two weeks and had benefits and 401(k)s, we could get away with not understanding money.

Want to earn a living as an actor? Check out our film audition listings! And for more financial advice, check out the video below!

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