People of Earnin: Jerry Montanez
Jerry is as talented as anyone when it comes to music. Originally from Puerto Rico, he started singing at a young age but, with a family to take care of, he had to put his music pursuits on hold. Luckily for him, he was given a second chance at his dreams when he auditioned for The Voice. Read all about his musical and financial journey and how Earnin has helped him along the way:
“I started singing when I was 18, and I had a little band in Puerto Rico. I lived off of music for about 15 years. When I moved to Florida, I was turning 30, and I had to decide whether I wanted to keep pursuing a demanding musical career that kept me away from home a lot. I decided to just get a regular nine to five.
About three or four years ago, my family was in a financial rut. When I took over my current job, the first two years were phenomenal because on top of my paycheck, I was getting three, four, five, sometimes $600 bonuses every two weeks for exceeding expectations. So that was a good $8k to $1,200 a month in income. My wife got pregnant, and I told her, “Look, I'm doing good, stay home and just deal with your pregnancy. Enjoy it. Don't worry about it.” But eventually, she had to go back to work because my company decided to cut out the bonuses. It went from $1000 dollars a month to nothing. I really had to juggle and find some way to get money up front. I was doing these crazy cash advances and payday loans, and I was consumed by it. The only way I could pay it off was if I landed a special gig or something. I would sing at a wedding and get paid 500 bucks which would alleviate things for a little while.
The turning point was around 2018 when they announced this audition in Miami for a new version of The Voice, which is a mega international show. I went to audition and I got through to the first round, the battles, and then I did the knockouts. I ended up in the finals and I didn't win, but I got all the way to the end which was pretty cool. It was the experience of a lifetime and I’ve been working my way back with music. The only thing stopping me, right now is the pandemic. It kind of slowed everything down to a halt, but it was really rewarding to go back to my dream job of music.
Before the pandemic, I had invested almost $20,000 of my own money for my musical project, a CD. I was on route to be performing at a very big festival in Miami called Calle Ocho, which is a huge event there. It was going to be televised and I was going to be on the Telemundo stage, presenting my project and I was so blown away. I had dancers and everything. But two weeks prior, they canceled because of the coronavirus. I took a huge blow with that and I've been trying to make ends meet for a little while for over a year after that.
Luckily, in the last six months after that, I'm back in good standing. Now I'm working on a new project that has been giving me some extra money that I wasn't expecting. Overall, It's been a real struggle because even though I didn't lose my job, I did lose my second income with the music for a while. So when it comes to having something like Earnin on your side as an opportunity to get a little extra cash to help you throughout the week, it makes such a difference. People don't realize how much a hundred dollars can change your day, your week.”