Building the Life You Want

Lessons From Episode Five

Money Matters by Impart Media Image for the Blog, Building the Life You Want. The image is an abstract illustration of a man and woman taking money out of an oversized wallet

Brandon and Grant hit the ground running with Adrianne Yamaki’s advice about investing in themselves (way back in episode two). Meanwhile, Dennis and Dallas followed Jerel Butler’s guidance and lowered their debt-to-income ratio.

Little do these couples know, they’re about to have a surprise conversation about their unique challenges—and what they’ve learned so far—in episode five.

Returns on Investment

Brandon and Grant researched the cost of photoshoots and demo reels so they could promote themselves as professional actors. They discovered that the quality of headshots they want cost around $350—while demo reels hover around $995.

As costly as these investments seem at first glance, presenting yourself professionally in the acting industry significantly improves your chances of getting hired. And the returns for even a small acting job can net a healthy profit. According to Grant, actors potentially earn thousands of dollars for less than two weeks’ work.

Dennis and Dallas made an entirely different kind of investment. The time and energy they poured into budgeting and contributing to their savings has already paid off. Instead of just putting excess funds into savings, they’re prioritizing saving—like any other bill.

Renting vs. Buying

While Dennis and Dallas are set on buying a home soon, Brandon and Grant are on the fence. Adrianne offers a lesson on prioritizing—she points out that it would be a financial stretch for the couple to pursue career advancement and home ownership simultaneously.

She suggests they add up all the costs involved in owning a home, including a down payment, mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, home insurance, maintenance, landscaping, and upkeep. Comparing the overhead costs of home ownership to paying rent helps them focus more on prioritizing their careers—at least for now.

Paying Off Debt

The Frugal Feminista (featured in episode five), Kara Stevens, offers two widely used debt-elimination strategies:

Debt Snowball Method: Make minimum payments across all your balances and then put any extra money into your lowest debt. Once that debt is paid off, move on to the next lowest.

Debt Avalanche Method: Make minimum payments across the board—but then put any extra money into paying off the debt with the highest interest rate.

Furthermore, she suggests taking these steps to help pay off your debt:

  1. Forgive yourself—and focus on moving forward.

  2. Get clarity on how much debt you have—and get a clear view of how much you owe in total.

  3. Choose your method. Whatever you choose to do—snowball method, avalanche method, or something else entirely—commit to making progress.

  4. Set a realistic timeline. Everyone’s path is different, so take a look at what works within your means. Can you pay off your debts in five months? Five years? No matter how long it takes, setting your sights on the light at the end of the tunnel can keep you motivated to stay on track.

A Surprise Conversation

Both couples immediately share that talking with financial advisors has been helpful on so many levels. Talking about money helped both couples lift the weight of the money taboo—and inspired them to clarify their financial situations.

They also agree that changing their mindset around money is critical to moving forward. With just enough information, expert guidance, and a little planning, anyone can get closer to achieving their short-term financial goals and big dreams.