It’s Get Smart With Money Day!

Let’s go straight to the actual news here:

  • There’s a Netflix Documentary That Just Arrived* It’s Called Get Smart With Money
  • Somehow the old Mr. Money mustache and several friends are tempted to play a role in making it. And I am very pleased with the results!
  • And you can see the results here (which will be a huge help to the success of the movie!):

Now for the real story behind this strange situation. Why did I agree to it? Shouldn’t I be retiring? Do you get paid too much to work in a Netflix film? And does this mean that you become “famous” and your life changes? Read on to find these and other answers.


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

Feature Documentary – Personal Finance

Inside was a very well written description of his idea for a film, and I had a heartfelt invitation to be one of the people involved.

I immediately went through my usual range of reactions: realizing that someone really wanted me in their production. Then really dread the idea of ​​signing myself up for a bunch of “work” when I’m already busy doing fun, meaningful stuff as a retired person. Then an inspired enthusiasm to write back immediately to say,

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

Well, it failed. Because it turned out to be filmmaker Kristin Lazur, who then pulled her co-founder Stephanie Soechtig into the conversation, and together they run Atlas Films, not just another documentary company but a Best The ones in the country

atlas films

Atlas has made super-intensive films on food, public health, guns, political cover-ups and many more, all of which are watchable and action-oriented. As I looked at their earlier titles, I realized that Atlas doesn’t exist just for entertainment or to profit from cheap brawls. They are willing to do real work to dig up real stories with the goal of bringing about positive social change.

“Crap”, I thought. “How can I say no, if my goal with this mmm hobby is to really try to differentiate myself?”

I realized that of course, getting the screen and camera working is tedious and sometimes inconvenient and it takes away some of the time that I usually spend writing blog articles. But in return it will almost certainly reach a lot more people for every hour I invest in it, and just as important it will reach new People, Netflix watchers who are probably a different group than blog readers.

And, if you put aside my serious-brow-play-adults drama of being all anxious and argumentative, I too thought it would Lots of fun To be a part of such a big, exciting, new experience. And shit man, how neat is it to be able to go over to a friend’s house and have them cast their own Netflix movie!?!

So I said yes, and the giant ball started rolling really fast, and suddenly we spent the whole of 2021 going through a series of occasional filming days, and recording Zoom calls, and other silly, interesting experiences.

2021 filmmaking 1

Some of it was really hard (like being squeezed onto my deck in a full blazing solar onslaught of a July afternoon, pretending to act natural while answering interview questions, only to have the occasional gallon of sweat. Pausing to wipe) my forehead.) But it was almost all too much fun. And it paved the way for wonderful new experiences and friendships for all of us.

One thing you’ll notice if you watch the movie is that I talk about a big game how hard it all was, yet in the movie I only occasionally pop up, do some bike tricks and play with power tools, and oh yeah sometimes drop some financial one-liners to help my students along the way. This is because our material was probably edited with a ratio of 100:1. they cover a very This movie has ground with a lot of people, and yet somehow it all feels natural and coherent.

My favorite part is probably that my old concept of a “buy justification machine,” first described in this 2019 article about me not buying a Tesla, filmed it as a brilliant and silly on-screen animated graphic. Made in – Peace away from Kim as she browses the Amazon while riding her peloton.


money and fame

Oh, and no, we didn’t get paid much at all, especially if you get it done on an hourly basis. When it comes to high quality crew and equipment the production budget of documentaries like this is very high, but they somehow manage to get us to volunteer their time to the participants on camera.

If you value fame or exposure, this may be considered a valuable payment method. But in my case, any added fame would be a downside – there are very few real-world benefits and a few downsides related to privacy, which can pose a threat even in extreme situations. Although I thought I was one of the many in this movie, and it’s a small fish relative to Netflix’s overall ocean. When I weighed it against the benefits of sharing better financial and lifestyle habits, I took an optimistic guess and decided that the good aspects outweighed the bad. Let me tell you how it goes now that the movie is over!

So what is the movie about?

Atlas Films rounded up four financial gurus, all of us with different backgrounds and styles (Paula Pant, Tiffany Aliche, Ro$$Mac, and me.)

They then sent us “casting calls” over the Internet, offering our ideal students one year of free coaching – in exchange for all being filmed and shared with the world.

Amazingly, we received so many responses – as personal video stories from singles, couples, and families, they were all fascinating and heartfelt and left me wishing I had time to feel welcome and try to help. . All from them.

In the end, I chose a young family of four that falls into the same demographic for which I target these blog posts: people with high incomes and high expenses, who are wondering where all the money is going.

I taught my couple, John and Kim, how to budget their initial $12,000+ per month spending (!!) options (private versus public), and whether they should work, through things like more efficient grocery shopping and dining out. Long-term side income streams have to be considered in order to allow them to scale back.

As you’ll see in the film, the end result was both subtle and dramatic at the same time. And I’m happy to report that these subjects are now real-life friends and even live around so we get to enjoy the results of their more fun new lifestyles together.

So, I hope you enjoy both the movie and the backstory. I’m so glad I finally said “yes,” although I can guarantee I won’t be back for sequels or ongoing series. The camera van is long gone and my schedule is back to its usual blissfully open state.

with this little report you Now coming to an end, it’s back to my construction projects at home for the rest of this week, then off to some camping in the mountains this weekend. Seventeen years in, this version of retirement remains the perfect life for me.

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


*6 September 2022

In comments: did you see the movie? If so, what did you think? How could it have been made better if you were doing the cuts?

Being a detail person my obvious criticism is that he tried to cover so much that he didn’t have much time for details. But then again, you can’t teach all the details of such a broad topic with just one documentary, while also being fun to watch. So I am hoping that the easy airy reach of the film will inspire people to think about these things for themselves. Once the right seeds are planted, better money habits can take hold very easily.

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