Yes, movies were made for entertainment, but people like me watch and re-watch the great ones not only for enjoyment but also to get life lessons. Great movies can pass on ageless life lessons that help us in various ways including lessons about money. Here are 10 movies that teach a few important financial lessons.
This modern retelling of a true story follows an aggressive group of twenty-something-year-old stockbrokers who close hundreds of deals a day on fake trades. Unsuspecting investors are promised ridiculously high returns over a short period. Here, in the inner sanctum of a fly-by-night brokerage firm, the effort of these young stock jocks is rewarded with mansions, Ferraris and more luxury toys than they know what to do with.
Lesson – Unrealistic returns on investments are indeed unrealistic. Take your time to evaluate every single investment opportunity, and only invest in regulated ones (e.g. treasury bills) through a trusted broker or app.
Forrest Gump is a simple man with a low I.Q but good intentions. He is running through childhood with his best and only friend Jenny. His ‘mama’ teaches him the ways of life and leaves him to choose his destiny. This fan-favorite movie is an example of a grass to grace story. He makes an early investment in Apple that would be worth millions today, showing that choosing the right investment options can take you to a better financial place.
Lesson – Choosing a wise investment option and starting early can make all the difference. The best time to invest was yesterday, the next best time is now.
The Social Network tells the story of the creators of Facebook and the subsequent legal battles that stretched out over several years. Told mostly in flashbacks while Mark Zuckerman gives depositions in two lawsuits, the idea of a shareable social information site came to him one night after he hacked into his school’s database and published the photos of all the women at the school, taking us on a long journey to the birth of the now-revolutionary ‘Facebook’ – that can be accessed by anyone worldwide. The Facebook-founder was able to tap into a demand which most people were unaware they had — the desire to connect to people with the same interests, digitally, from anywhere.
Lesson – The difference between your great idea and another great idea could be funding, get the financial support you need and start saving and building financial capacity to bring your ideas to life.
This hilarious 1999 comedy follows a trio of disgruntled software technicians on the cusp of the new millennium, Peter, Michael, and Samir who hatch a plot to make millions from their heartless company — one fraction of a penny at a time. By skimming less than a cent from each of hundreds of millions of transactions, they plan to amass a hefty sum, and retire in style — however, Michael commits a mistake in the software on the decimal place and they siphon off over $300 thousand. The desperate trio tries to fix the problem, return the money and avoid going to prison.
Lesson – Every kobo counts in the journey to amassing wealth, the crucial importance of savings can never be over-emphasised, as you earn (legitimately, obviously) make sure to save part of your income in a high -interest savings account such as the i-invest Savings which allows you accrue interest over time.
Jasmine French (Cate Blanchett) used to be on the top of the heap as a New York socialite, but now is returning to her estranged sister in San Francisco utterly ruined. She loses everything after investing in a property deal brokered by a hilarious Alec Baldwin. As Jasmine struggles with her haunting memories of a privileged past bearing dark realities she ignored, she tries to recover in her present. This Woody Allen film is a great reminder that putting all your money on a single ticket isn’t a wise decision.
Lesson – Learn to diversify your investments. With the multitude of investment options being offered, consult a trusted broker in deciding the right baskets to place your eggs in.
Our boyish hero, young Charlie, is from a poor family, but a loving one, who makes ends meet however they can. Charlie, who has learned frugality and the value of every penny, spots a discarded coin in the gutter — likely considered not worth the effort to retrieve by anyone else passing by. His effort is rewarded when Charlie’s fortunate windfall turns into the golden ticket that changes his life.
Lesson – Even if you do nothing else but put your spare change into a savings account and ignore it, the interest it earns can help pad your bottom line. Saving 20% of your monthly income can make a huge difference.
Struggling with her debilitating obsession with shopping and the sudden collapse of her income source, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) unintentionally lands a job writing for a financial magazine after a drunken letter-mailing mix-up. Ironically writing about the consumer caution of which she has not abided, Rebecca’s innovative comparisons and unconventional metaphors for economics grant her critical acclaim, public success, and the admiration of her supportive boss Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy). But as she draws closer to her ultimate goal of writing for renowned fashion magazine Alette, she questions her true ambitions and must determine if overcoming her “shopaholic” condition will bring her real happiness.
Lesson – You don’t need to be a shopaholic to max out a credit card. But if you are anything like Isla Fisher’s character in this movie, then you need to track your expenses to help you make better choices. You can use a trusted app to monitor your spending in real-time.
Kind, soft-spoken, and with a heart of gold, the devoted husband and dutiful NYPD officer, Charlie Lang, finds himself short of money at the diner where the honest and recently bankrupt waitress, Yvonne Biasi, works. To get out of this embarrassing predicament, Charlie promises to share half of his lottery ticket winnings in place of a tip, unbeknownst to him that he is holding a winning $4-million-dollar lotto ticket. This romantic 1994 dramedy features Nicolas Cage as Charlie Lang and Bridget Fonda as Yvonne Biasai–a cop and waitress, respectively–who end up falling in love after winning a lottery jackpot together. The complications arise when Charlie’s wife Muriel goes crazy spending the bulk of the funds as Charlie and Yvonne have fun doling it out through more altruistic means.
Lesson – The habit of saving money can be termed the foundation of all financial success, if you don’t cultivate it when you have less, you don’t develop it when you have more.
The main characters become the victims of scammers who con them into buying a house that starts to fall apart the second they move in. The house falls apart, starting with the stairway collapsing, to the bathtub falling through the floor, to the chimney eventually falling into the house. Finally, they must renovate the house before the frame collapses, but the renovations also prove disastrous, due to the large and increasing amounts of money it takes to repair the home, the residence is dubbed a “money pit”.
Lesson – Do not desperately invest in any venture, take your time to research any investment opportunity and rely only on verifiable brokers. As a quote from the movie states, “Just because they showed up to collect the money is no guarantee that they’ll show up to do the work.”
In 1990, Joy Mangano is a divorced mother of two working as a booking agent for Eastern Airlines. Joy is a bright, energetic young woman with a complicated personal life, she lives with her two young children, her mother, Terri, her maternal grandmother, Mimi, and her ex-husband, Tony. Mangano is the inventor of the Miracle Mop, a single product that skyrocketed her life (and bank account). But she didn’t become a famous entrepreneur overnight. Her path was filled with obstacles, but she never gave up.
Lesson – Creating a product or service that people truly need will put you in the position to solve a problem and ensure that you continue to reap the financial benefits.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Talk to a financial expert before you make an investment move.
There are risks associated with investing in securities. Investing in stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, and money market funds involves the risk of loss. Loss of principal is possible.