Sunday nights are a nice time to unwind, turn off your brain, and maybe even cry yourself to sleep knowing Monday is lurking. If I could schedule life perfectly, every Sunday night would end with watching a casual movie or TV show. Jenny and I spent a recent Sunday night watching Get Smart with Money on Netflix. We weren’t quite ready for Rings of Power or another true crime documentary. We wanted something simple that maybe we could learn something from.
Get Smart with Money caught our attention because it has the keyword in it that will attract everyone: Get!
No, it’s actually the word “Money” which caught our attention. We enjoy shows and films about making money. During the pandemic, we listened to a lot of The Dave Ramsey Show and put on a lot of Til Debt Do Us Part from old YouTube clips. Get Smart with Money was much better produced than that decade-old Canadian program but the advice in it wasn’t anything new.
Get Smart with Money is for people with little knowledge about money
Viewing this documentary-style film from the perspective of a film critic, there’s nothing to really criticize them about. It’s organized and we get the perspectives of four different people from four different coaches. They all have different money goals and obstacles in their way.
One family hopes to retire early. Another woman is trying to get out of debt. A third wants to raise her income while following her passions. The fourth is an NFL player whose income is unpredictable yet immense when he is making anything at all.
The variety of participants on the show should give viewers someone they can relate to at least a little bit. Unless you have never made a money mistake, you can probably find someone you empathize with.
Here’s the thing: Get Smart with Money reveals itself right in the title. It’s about getting smart with it. Everyone in the film, regardless of their goal, isn’t so wise. They’re unaware of places where they are spending too much or not investing. The film is them learning from their coaches what they’re doing wrong or how they can do better.
To feature four stories with four different coaches, we don’t get too much time to care much about any of the situations. We know the problems facing these people but don’t really get to know the people behind those troubles. It wasn’t designed this way so that’s fine. Not every film needs to have an emotional breakdown moment where we learn about someone’s childhood trauma which has led them to a shopping compulsion.
Get Smart with Money on Netflix is more voyeurism than a lesson
The advice given by the coaches is nothing groundbreaking. If you have even listened to a week’s worth of most money-related podcasts or read a single book about how to handle your money, there’s nothing new for you to take from this documentary. All of the investment advice the coaches give is to put your money in the S&P 500. It’s practical advice and definitely gets our seal of approval.
There are tips throughout the documentary about budgeting, ways to maybe earn some more money, and also tips on saving what you already have. Like most advice people give in these areas, it’s common sense stuff. Sometimes, we just have to hear or see it for the first time. A reminder that you can probably skip buying ice cream just because it’s on sale is never bad.
What I think we gained most from this documentary was voyeuristic pleasure. Seeing into other people’s lives is entertainment. It’s what first got us into The Dave Ramsey Show years ago. When we’d watch episodes of Til Debt Do Us Part, the enjoyable part was seeing how other people spend their money poorly and are able to turn things around.
It’s the same with Get Smart with Money. Netflix’s new documentary about wising up with your finances is exactly what we expected it to be.
There’s no shared hidden secret. It’s simple advice for people with goals and a desire to change their money habits.
The filmmakers stay away from making anyone look ridiculous which is probably the most intelligent way to put something like this together. I think we’ve changed a bit as a society when it comes to managing money. Nobody came across as dumb for not knowing exactly what to do with their money or meet any other goals. They’re successful people who might just be in a bit of a rut or were never given guidance on how to do what it is they’d like to.
I would recommend this documentary to a friend; if I had any. Just don’t expect to learn much. If you’re already investing simply, earning good money, and have little or no debt, enjoy the show and save the education for another day.
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The book that convinced us to start investing and being more proactive with our money and lives: The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias
The gear we use to make our YouTube videos at the Practically Humans YouTube Channel
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