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Money Lessons Learning Money from a Movie

Money Lessons: Learning Money from a Movie

The plot in a movie can give some great lessons about money. So, here’s our list of money lessons from movies.

Movies are meant to be respites from real life, regardless of duration. However, while going to the theatre complex may set you back over ten dollars (including snacks and drinks) ahead, that expenditure and in some cases, the plot of the movie, can give some lessons or two about the finity of money – and what you can do about it.

Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street

Sometimes, having access to a large trove of cash triggers an impulse to “spend, spend, SPEND!” for instant results, especially if you spent a good deal on certain luxuries. That mindset though can trigger buyer’s remorse, as the rapid expenditures can prove you did not think things through and everything can spiral from there. The Wolf of Wall Street is one such example, where Jordan Belfort’s (Leonardo diCaprio) rapid success in his stock brokerage company earns him so much money, a lot of it is spent on a very luxurious and hedonistic lifestyle.

Movie: Boiler Room

The oft-repeated adage “if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not good” takes on a whole new meaning in the financial circuit, especially when you may be tempted to invest in certain ventures where details seem promising but vague. You bet the farm on it, and when things turn sour, you end up losing all your money. In the 2000 movie Boiler Room, the film’s main characters cold call investors offering huge returns for certain stocks. As it turns out, the characters run a stock brokerage firm that inflates demand for stock in fake or expired companies then sells those stock for legitimate stock, leaving investors out of their cash when their stock’s prices suddenly drops.

Movie: The Money Pit

People are heavily attracted to something that’s rather affordable and if they got it for a very good price, they might see it as a win. They only learn a hard lesson in due diligence when some kinks bob to the surface and they have to deal with it. The 1986 American comedy movie The Money Pit is a glaring example.

In the film, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long’s characters buy a large country estate which is worth US$1m but is actually being listed for US$200,000. The sellers were eager to find a buyer; all it takes to close the deal is a story about the sellers living in the place with no electricity because of mounting expenses and a loved one’s upcoming legal battle. However, trouble starts when the main characters discover that the house is severely dilapidated inside and they must spend more money to fully renovate the house, which is still not done four months after buying it.

Movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic

A consumer-driven society will carry the urge to spend as much as possible and to some, the drive to buy will be like a drug they can’t stop taking. In the 2009 comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic, Isla Fisher’s character is notorious for her spending habits, which stretches her credit cards to the limit. She does write down her experiences in a series of articles and offers advice against excessive spending, but tends to ignore it as well. Her troubles get worse when a debt collector targets her.

One of the hardest lessons from the movie is how to resist the temptation to buy on impulse, knowing you may have other pressing needs for your money. Attracting the attention of a debt collector is also a sign of major distress, along with its possible legal action. You may also have to talk to a debt counsellor and resolve to pay off your arrears.

Movie: The Net

Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past 40 years, including the development of digital finance services. However, that has also given rise to identity theft, especially now in the age of online banking.

As a portent sign of things to come, the 1995 movie The Net featured Sandra Bullock’s character facing a major crisis when a simple situation about a computer disk with cybersecurity technology leads to her entire digital identity presence erased and she is switched to a persona of a criminal. She spends the rest of the film finding out the truth behind the switch and restoring her credentials. For today’s netizens, the movie is a lesson in protecting your identity online through methods such as not giving away personal details in cold calls, not answering spam emails and clicking their attachments, and making sure digital portals are protected by secure services.

Movie: The Pursuit of Happyness

People who are short on money will find a way to make ends meet under the toughest conditions and possibly prevail in the end. In one such example, Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness, Christopher Gardner, has him selling bone-density scanners to doctors and hospitals while raising his son – but successful sales are few and far between and his wife leaves him while they get evicted from their apartment. A chance encounter with a stockbroker leads him to an internship with a local stock brokerage firm, where he succeeds and joins the company despite the internship being unpaid.

Movie: Click

Everyone desires to earn as much money while they still can, but some say, does that have to carry a heavy price like returning to an empty home? In Adam Sandler’s 2006 film Click, an overworked architect, Michael Newman, is driven to succeed his architecture firm’s CEO, but his pursuit of wealth partly through a universal remote increasingly alienated him from his family over the next 20 years. When his son Ben follows him into the business, he fears his son could make the same mistakes he did and before dying, asks Ben to put his family first.

Movie: The Social Network

If you have a concept for a business and have determined that no one else has the same idea, you must make the proper moves to secure the resulting patent or IP. The need for IP protection was highlighted in 2010’s The Social Network, where Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler and their business partner, Divya Narendra, sue Mark Zuckerberg for IP theft. Zuckerberg was invited to work on the trio’s Harvard Connection social media site, but uses it to eventually go forward with his own social media page that becomes Facebook, which earns the trio’s ire as it expands membership to outside the US despite being exclusive to Ivy League students.

Movie: The Untouchables

Everybody – regardless of status – is obligated to pay taxes and do it on time as, for one, it helps the government provide basic services and finance infrastructure you use everyday. In the 1987 classic The Untouchables, mob boss Al Capone (Robert de Niro) holds sway over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Since he could not be arrested on Prohibition violations and murder charges, the authorities successfully take him down for tax evasion, based on his recent declarations of untaxed income and failed promises to pay taxes.

Movie: Up

When you earn money, it is vital you save as much as you can and plan how you can invest them. The savings can be organised into categories such as an emergency fund, a holiday fund, and general savings, then you can manage accordingly. In the 2009 animated movie Up, Carl Fredricksen makes a living as a balloon salesman and together with his wife Ellie, saves up to finance a faraway trip. However, pressing emergencies at home force them to keep draining that savings fund.

Given the above lessons, you can find a way to create some financial security for yourself and your loved ones. Make it happen!

If you liked our “Money Lessons: Learning Money from a Movie” and find it useful, check our blogs regularly for more information on how to get out of debt and get updates on personal wealth apps in Australia.