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Money may not buy happiness…
…but, a lack of understanding about money and the power it has to affect virtually every area of our lives, will, eventually, generate deep and persistent unhappiness within us.
I know because I felt that unhappiness at several points early in my life, which is why I became committed to not only learning from my mistakes, but also finding ways to teach others – simply and effectively – how to become confident managers of their money.
I know the challenges of a creative life.
I grew up as the daughter of two immigrants. Coming from real poverty, my mom and dad moved to the United States with an unending drive and commitment to fulfill their dreams. My father became a surgeon, my mother an attorney. They would have loved their daughter to follow in their footsteps – law, medicine, even investment banking were all acceptable choices.
Instead, I graduated from Williams College, a wonderful liberal arts school in Massachusetts, with a degree in theatre. I then trained at a conservatory in London, and moved to Los Angeles to build my career as an actor.
As you might guess, my decision terrified my parents. Now, however, they are grateful that my untraditional path resulted in me (eventually) developing strong business muscles and the resiliency to weather the ups and downs of our economic climate.
I had some successes in my early years as an actor, working in television, films, and theatre. Still, my reality was not that different from the vast majority of those who choose to pursue creative careers. Although I worked countless part time jobs to try to make ends meet, my deep lack of financial understanding led me quickly down the well-beaten path of the starving artist. I amassed over $50,000 in credit card debt and found myself in tears every month, fearing I would not be able to pay my bills.
The tipping-point came one day when I nearly missed the opening curtain for a play in which I’d been cast, because I got “stuck” at one of my horrible day jobs.
That awful day is one I’ve never forgotten.
Because it was also the day that sparked my quest to turn my life around and learn exactly how to build financial stability and a solid foundation for my life and career. (And I paid off every. single. cent. of my debt. After, you know, I finally stopped crying…)
Of course I’m not going to tell you it was easy, or that all it took was a willingness to learn. I had to make real changes. I had to look at the financial choices I had been making, without even realizing they were choices. I had to prioritize, and make sacrifices, and understand that pursuing my dream wasn’t just about wishing and hoping, or even about working hard. I had to learn to develop a clear and executable financial plan.
I know the challenges of a being self-employed.
About 18 months after That Day – and after reading countless books and working with as many teachers as I could find – I was able to make such significant changes to my financial picture, that one of my mentors (a well known author in the world of personal finance), invited me to train to become a finanical coach for her company. I did that work for two years before making the decision to start my own business, Abundance Bound – a financial education company for actors, artists, and creative professionals.
For the last 13 years, it has been my privilege to help hundreds of my fellow artists (from non-union newbies to Tony Nominees) to stop avoiding the topic of money, to address their financial challenges head on, and to build the income generation and management skills that allow them to pursue their careers from a place of strength and stability.
My teaching perspective doesn’t require you to fit any particular mold. My tools, guidance, and best practices will support any type of life circumstances or level of wealth. Whether you are struggling with debt, juggling several jobs to make ends meet, running a successful biz, or dealing with a financial windfall, I have very likely already walked a mile or two in your shoes.
I know the challenges of handling two industry careers – with two kids.
Today, in addition to my financial coaching, I continue to work as both an actor and a writer. My husband Adam and I have been married 20 years and we have two young children. Together we juggle the joys and stresses of home ownership, private school tuitions, sports fees, out-of-the-country family visits, unexpected pet bills, the very rare but occasional vacation, and on… and on… and on.
Adam works in television as an assistant director, so we are very familiar with financial volatility – sporadic periods of unexpected unemployment, followed by great “gigs” and paychecks, and then more unemployment. We must face our finances head-on – knowing that there are absolutely no guarantees, but also knowing that this is the life we chose. But it’s precisely because we have financial systems and plans in place that our entrepreneurial, creative life has way, way more pros than cons for us.
I bring as much transparency to my coaching as possible. I don’t hold back from sharing my failures, disappointments and struggles, as well as some of the victories I’ve experienced along the way. I’ve struggled with enormous debt and paid it all back. I’ve built savings, only to be hit with a series of emergencies that felt like they took me back to square one. I’ve overcome terrible fears and feelings of inadequacy to learn how to invest in the stock market and in real estate. I’ve made some great investment decisions, and a few spectacularly bad ones.
Overall, I think we learn best when we can really see what is possible and when we understand that no one’s journey is without its pitfalls. Fortunately, I am able to help my clients and students avoid many of my own mistakes, steering them towards the simple systems that have proven, time after time, to be the most effective.
It is important to me that each and every student understand that I will never teach this work from a place of being “done” – of having reached some great pinnacle of success. Our relationship with money is one that will last a lifetime. And, like every relationship, it will have its sunny days and its storms. Our job is to embrace our relationship with money, to honor it, and to work every day to make it as strong as possible.
Miata Edoga is the President and Founder of Abundance Bound, the premiere financial education company for actors, artists, and creative entrepreneurs.
She created The Artist’s Prosperity SystemTM, which, over the years, has provided thousands of folks with a specific, step-by-step process to significantly improve their financial situation – giving them more time, energy, and freedom to focus on their creative careers and artistic pursuits.
Miata serves as the Director of Financial Wellness for The Actors Fund – a national human services non-profit for everyone in the entertainment industry. She has also led workshops and seminars on financial empowerment for a wide range of organizations including: the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Center for Cultural Innovation.
With a strong belief that early financial education empowers young people to live their very best lives, Miata shares her signature seminars with students (and their parents) in schools around the country including: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia University, and the California Institute of the Arts.
Her flagship site, Miata’s Money, was launched with the mission of reducing the feelings of intimidation, overwhelm, and stress that too often impede folks from having a healthy relationship with their money. Miata’s guidance continues to empower individuals of all backgrounds to establish a more compassionate, conscious, and prosperous financial life on their own terms.
If you are interested in having Miata Edoga speak to your audience and/or would like to learn more about licensing the Miata’s Money Management Curriculum for use in your organization, please contact us here.
We’d be delighted to discuss how we can best serve your needs.