Movies can teach us all about different aspects of our life — and can be a great option for a cheap night out. Whether you are watching a comedy, a drama, a thriller or even a children’s movie, you can often learn financial lessons without even trying.
And while movies are intended to be entertaining and not educational (for the most part), they can often impart some lessons you can take with you into the real world, and even into your personal finances. Consider applying the following financial lessons from popular films to your real life.
1. Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness
Whether it is a love story without riches or a tale of lonely wealth, this is likely the most common lesson we can learn from movies. Films such as Aladdin, Titanic and It’s a Wonderful Life show us that character and relationships are far more important than the numbers on your bank statement. Even as we try to do our best financially, it’s important to remember that it is not the most important measurement in life.
2. Treat People Well & You Will Be Successful
Films like Jerry Maguire and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory remind us that doing right by others can help us in the long run. If you care about your clients and co-workers or other people in general, these movies show you can be better respected and likely reap financial rewards, even if not immediately.
3. Expect the Unexpected
Whether a character loses their job, as in The Company Men, or an unanticipated death leaves someone strapped for cash like in Winter’s Bone or Places in the Heart, we see how important it is to plan whether it’s with an emergency fund, a life insurance policy or even your credit. Not planning ahead can get you into a bind if you don’t try to build good credit, for example, and then unexpectedly need to finance a new car when your old one breaks down. You can see where your credit stands for free once a month on Credit.com.
4. Cheating Catches Up With You
With movies like Catch Me If You Can, The Wolf of Wall Street, and even some that aren’t starring Leonardo DiCaprio, we see cheaters and law evaders facing punishment on the big screen. Gangster movies that include or end in jail scenes and stories of professionals who think they can get ahead by bending the rules remind us that risks aren’t always worth it.
The larger theme that you can’t put off the inevitable holds true for those living on credit. Films such as Confessions of a Shopaholic feature characters overspending, living beyond their means and falling into debt.
Without offering a “how-to” or guide, films meant for entertainment can provide plenty of value for our daily lives – you just have to look closer. Plenty of them feature themes that can help us be more responsible with our money and set ourselves up for future financial success.
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