Not just about the fact that Mrs. Maisel, marvelously, will be back on our screens — small and large — this week. But about the financial lessons that Midge, her parents Abe and Rose Weissman, Susie Myerson and others have imparted in the first two seasons we spent with them. We can’t wait to see what gems they’ll dish out as we binge this season, but here’s what we’ve learned so far:
- Don’t get caught with your pants down during a divorce (or in any other kind of emergency) with no money saved and no plan for “what if.” In other words, make sure you always have that “f*** you” fund handy if you need to make a run for it. Midge didn’t — and she had to pick herself up and get her act together pronto. Better to be prepped for this before it happens, just in case. As a codicil, you don’t need to be married for this advice to make just as much sense: Never put yourself in a situation where you’re wholly dependent on any one person.
- Living with your parents can be a great way to save money — especially when you live in an expensive city like NYC. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly Midge’s choice to move back into the family nest. Same with many of today’s boomerangers. Whether it’s divorce, college debt, or for some other reason, use mom and dad’s hospitality to bank some bucks that you can use to re-launch into independence. Which brings us to…
- Don’t waste any time getting a job. Any job will do when you’re in a pinch. Kudos to the Weissman parentals for being unwilling to pamper their daughter for too long in the wake of Joel’s exodus. (Though it might have been better if they’d raised a financially savvy kid who WASN’T planning on being supported by Prince (Ugh) Charming. Then again, it was the ‘50s.) But let’s also give it up for Miriam for not just wallowing. She headed for the mother ship (aka the high-end department store B. Altman) and started earning her way as a switchboard operator. Was it the perfect job? No. Was it below her pay grade? Arguably. Did she start receiving a paycheck? Yes, and that’s precisely the point.
- Always be on the lookout for your next side gig or new business venture. Susie had a perfectly fine job scheduling the acts at The Gaslight. But she knew she was capable of more: She wanted to actually manage talent — and was ready to make the leap when the talented Midge crossed her path. If you have an idea or a dream, pursue it. Believe in your ability to accomplish your goals, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
- The best child care is free child care (from grandparents, or other trusted family members, whenever you can get it!). Second best: A childcare swap or co-op. In fact, free childcare may be the best gift in the world. We know there has been a lot of mom-shaming regarding Midge’s working outside the home. And we’d like to weigh in that we think it’s enough. Moms and dads who travel and work late as part of their career trajectory feel enough guilt as it is. Note: “Maisel” actors Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein said much the same earlier this week.
- Know your superpower. There was that moment — that unforgettable moment — when Midge donned the Audrey Hepburn (or Joan Rivers?) dress at the end of the first season and became … Mrs. Maisel. She took to heart what Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch) had to teach her. Figure out what your brand is, what makes you special, what other people will value (i.e., pay big bucks for) and work it for all it’s worth. That was the moment she took off. She’s had ups and downs, but she hasn’t deviated since. And as she sets out to tour the country, it seems to be working.
- Find the id to your ego. Midge is outwardly perfect. Susie’s a mess. Midge cares about what the world thinks. Susie doesn’t give a you-know-what. And yet, both recognize that they have a special ability to help each other. Finding that business partner who balances you out because they have different complementary strengths is hugely helpful. It doesn’t hurt when they become good friends, too.
- Don’t be afraid to break down some boundaries. Tech. Finance. Engineering. There are still waaay too many industries that are male-dominated. Midge — and, let’s acknowledge Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller and a few others IRL — broke into the male-dominated comedy field with sass and tenacity. Every time we turn on Tig Notaro, Ali Wong, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer, we thank all the women continuing to trample that divide.
More Maisel-ish money advice from HerMoney:
- Build your personal brand: Tips from marketing guru Seth Godin
- Take your side hustle to the next level: Career coach and entrepreneur Ali Brown on how to position yourself as a “category of one.”
- The art of saying “no” and other entrepreneurial skills: The 6 things I wish someone had told me before starting my own business.
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