A Road Worth Walking
A Road Worth Walking
Miata Edoga ’94 knows how it feels to live with uncertainty. Twenty years ago, she was in L.A. trying to make a living as an actor. She was working 10 jobs, walking dogs and waiting tables—on the edge of exhaustion and $80,000 in debt.
Edoga’s parents, immigrants to the U.S. from Panama and Nigeria, had hoped Edoga might follow in their footsteps on the path to success: Her father was a surgeon and her mother an attorney. Instead, she made the choice to study theater, one her parents didn’t initially understand. She found some early success, but her lack of financial knowledge led to massive credit card debt, and Edoga was barely making ends meet. Then, she was set to appear in a play and nearly missed the opening while stuck at a part-time job. That’s when she felt a sense of responsibility to make a change.
She found books, identified mentors and figured out how to build the life she wanted. Now, she teaches that artists can learn practical planning skills—and that financial freedom can follow.
Edoga founded her financial education company, Abundance Bound, in 2005 to help creative entrepreneurs establish, as she describes it, “a healthier and more compassionate relationship with their money.” In one-on-one mentoring and group conversations, she brings people into a community and helps them take a close look at their finances, reduce their costs and set up a spending plan. Edoga and her team—three coaches and facilitators, a network of creative entrepreneurs and professional guest speakers—also offer digital courses, podcasts and speaker sessions and manage a global online community. She has spoken to organizations ranging from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Screen Actors Guild to Columbia University and the California Institute of the Arts. She also serves as the national financial wellness consultant for The Actors Fund, an organization serving thousands of entertainment professionals around the country.
Edoga feels a particular responsibility to reach people who are not traditionally included in these conversations and often don’t have safety nets. “I think it’s so important that we also acknowledge some of the fundamental inequalities in our world, certainly in our country, that became even clearer during the pandemic,” she says. She has been able to broaden her audience over the last two years, bringing in more people to the community she has built and speaking online to a wider range of organizations. More people working in traditional paths, with steady paychecks and benefits, turned to Edoga—and the artists and entrepreneurs in her community—for help. “I think it was the first time I fully saw the impact of the work we’re doing, seeing the way these people were negotiating the fear [and] the loss of income,” she says.
If she can help her clients set financial goals, develop organizational systems and build wealth, she hopes they can find the confidence to support themselves and sustain their work and communities.
Whether her client is a parent trying to make sure the kids have dinner tonight, a graduate student with $350,000 in education loans or a professional who was laid off during the pandemic, Edoga wants to create a place where people can speak honestly about topics that often invoke anxiety.
“Our message is that this is a space for exactly where you are,” she says, “and that’s very different from what I encountered when I was trying to get this education for myself. I always felt less than. How was I going to [talk] about all the debt, and how was I going to [say] I needed help even to figure out where to start?
“That’s why we’re all here—to make the difference we’re called to make in the world,” she adds. “And please don’t ever hear me saying it’s easy. But isn’t it a road worth walking?”
Top photo by Troy Harvey/copyright A.M.P.A.S. Center photo courtesy of the author.