When you think of a world-famous actress on an Emmy award-winning television show, what do you see? A lavish lifestyle perhaps? Full of glamorous clothes, fancy cars, and lots of cash? But how about being on unemployment with thousands of dollars in debt and no savings? You might be shocked to hear that for Chrissy Metz, this was her story. Her Hollywood fairy tale has been full of ups and downs, but at her core, she is just like everyone else.
“People don’t realize that just because you book a television show doesn’t mean it’s going to be picked up by a network and that you have job security,” said Chrissy. “So, I got paid for the pilot. And then, I had to pay back so many people that I had borrowed money from and had nothing. We waited for almost nine months before we knew the show was getting picked up.”
Surprised? Yeah, I was too. When I first met Chrissy, her authenticity immediately shined through. And it was no surprise: it was Chrissy’s refreshing transparency of her financial story that drew us to partner with her for #RealMoneyTalk. She’s kind, hilarious, and is not afraid to tell it like it really is. Raised by a single mom and one of five children, Chrissy came from humble beginnings that were drastically different than her life now. Twelve years ago, she moved to Los Angeles and was living paycheck to paycheck before she landed her big break. When she shared her financial story with a journalist in 2017, the response was overwhelming. It was then she realized we aren’t talking about money nearly enough – and that so many people feel alone in their struggles.
“Realizing what my story meant to people, made me understand that we’re not talking about money. We’re not talking about it, at all,” she said. “I think so many of us stifle so many things, and of course, particularly with our finances, we don’t want to feel vulnerable. No one ever wants to say, ‘Hey. I can’t go out to dinner with you guys for so and so’s birthday, because I don’t have the means to do so.’”
“We don’t want to feel like we’re lacking, or that we’re not good enough,” she continued. “There are all these ideas that I think we attach to ourselves, that if we don’t have money then we’re not successful. And if we don’t have money, and we don’t know how to manage it, our lives are messy. And, that’s not necessarily true.”
So how do we start talking about it? According to Chrissy, our power comes from being vulnerable. Once we realize that we’re more alike than different, that is when the fear goes away. We can then start to be honest with not just each other but also ourselves.
“That’s where the growth will come in,” she said. “I do think that people innately want to help people. It’s just about pushing through that fear of the idea of what we’re afraid to talk about and just talk about it. And that goes with anything of course. It’s mostly the fear that we’re afraid of, it’s not really the situation.”
“Once we realize that we’re stronger together than we are apart, I think that’s when it’s like, ‘Oh, this is how we make the shift and the change and the transition.’”
You might be asking, why is Chrissy so passionate about sharing her #RealMoneyTalk story? For her, the answer is simple.
“I’ve lived this life of true uncertainty about finances in general. I’ve lived hand to mouth, I’ve struggled for many, many years. I was not an overnight success, it took about 12, almost 13 years to have any money in a savings account,” she said. “I truly do believe that the more we talk about it, the less alone we’re all going to feel.”
It’s a powerful thing when we all come together and share our experiences because when we do, we quickly find that we’re not alone. Most of us experience our feelings about money in silence, but it’s finally time to stop bottling it all up and crack open the real talk.
The journey to financial health isn’t easy, but that’s why support is essential. Chrissy is sharing her #RealMoneyTalk story to inspire others to get vulnerable, and Turbo by the makers of TurboTax is encouraging you to do the same! We’re coming together as a community to share our experiences, bond, and listen, one story at a time.