Jennifer Latimore is an actor who works in theatre, film, and television. She is currently working toward earning her AFC® certification.
AFCPE: Tell us a little about your professional journey, and what inspired you to pursue the AFC® certification?
Jennifer: Never have I felt that the word ‘unique’ more accurately describes me than when I consider my journey to AFC® certification! I came to this profession back in 2019 when I decided to pursue the designation. The wheels were in motion way before that though when I started to realize how different my artist peers had it when it came to their finances. I graduated from college with no debt and I credit my ability to fully pursue my dream of acting to that fact (thanks mom and dad). Any time I would talk with friends backstage or in the rehearsal room about money, they would never seem to have enough, and always be wondering anxiously about when the next check would come. I couldn’t share their worry but felt great empathy for their struggle, which naturally evolved into me sharing my tips and tricks about how I make my money work for me. Before I knew it, I was having more of these money conversations and people were actively asking me of their own accord what my opinion was on a particular financial manner. I began to research how I could better educate myself on all things personal finance with the goal of helping my artistic family to financial freedom.
As an actor, my job is to continually pursue a deeper understanding of humanity, holding the mirror up to society through art. AFCPE seemed like the perfect organization because it does not remove the humanity from money matters but instead, brings it to the forefront.
AFCPE: As an artist, what are some common struggles that you see most often amongst your peers?
Jennifer: The biggest issue for freelance artists is the irregularity of cash flow. One month you have thousands of dollars of residuals coming in from a national commercial you shot and the next month, you make a measly $100 stipend for a teaching gig. Along with cash flow issues, student loans are a big problem. Some of my peers went to highly prestigious arts programs with the bill to match, but the money they bring in post matriculation does not always justify this ‘good debt’. Add on top of that the fact that some artists’ families do not agree with their career choice and the constant rejection one must face within the industry, such extreme financial highs and lows can only exacerbate the emotional rollercoaster that is being an artist. But we do it because we have to. We have to tell stories and bring light to a dark world and serve a higher purpose of illuminating the human experience through art. It is our calling!
AFCPE: Is there anything you have learned through studying for the AFC exam that has been especially eye opening to you?
Jennifer: I have been consistently taken aback by the predatory approach some institutions take when it comes to getting a customer’s money. They make it so easy, dare I say necessary, that “if you don’t spend your money here with us your quality of life won’t be to its fullest potential”. I am always trying to battle the constant inundation of ‘get rich quick’ schemes and the insistence that “if I don’t have what my neighbor has, I’m no good”. I always try to listen for when a client has fallen into believing these myths and gently remind them that their goals are valid, even if others think differently. That also means that I cannot impose my views of success on my clients; if they want a separate clothing budget instead of one for travel, right on! It’s my job to help them be successful in their own way.
AFCPE: What has you most excited about this new career journey?
Jennifer: I am excited to meet other artists in my field and help them achieve financial success. Having the opportunity to go on that journey with people is a huge blessing.
AFCPE: Are you currently working on any other projects that have you excited (outside, or as part of, the personal finance space)?
Jennifer: Right now, I am just trying to use my time wisely and get my certification finished. Once the entertainment industry starts up again, I won’t have as much time to devote to studying but that means the likelihood of me appearing on your tv increases and that’s always exciting!
Jennifer Answers the Friday 5:
- My why:
Artists deserve as much an opportunity to achieve financial freedom as anyone else. They should not have to abide by the “starving artist” lifestyle society deems is the only possibility for those who choose to follow their passion. I intend to do all I can to dispel that myth and help artists get closer to a financially fulfilled life.
- My favorite quote: (currently)
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau
- My hero:
My parents. They taught me much of what I know about finance but more importantly how to be a productive and compassionate member of society.
- My favorite Resource: NerdWallet (I love using all the calculators!)
- My favorite advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being:
Extend yourself grace when beginning something new. If you stray from your plan, give yourself time to reflect and then get back to work!
- For a new professional:
Write down the things you learn in the beginning of your professional journey. I find that sometimes I can overestimate my ability to remember every single thing I learned from a session with a client or a call from a mentor, and writing down those tidbits and pieces of advice ensures you will have them to look back on further down the line.