5 Real-Life Financial Lessons From Movies And TV Shows

Category: Money Tips

Want to stay entertained and gain valuable advice about your finances at the same time? Here are the best movies and TV shows that have provided us with life-changing money lessons. 



When you were a kid, did your parents used to say that watching too much TV is bad for you? Well, as your mind matures, you’ll soon realise that certain movies can have a positive impact on the way you manage your finances.

So, if you need some money advice and how not to get yourself into financial trouble, here are five movies and TV shows that can change your life. In fact, how about watching these shows along with your mom and dad? This way, you can all spend quality time together and learn something new about saving money. 

Related: Streaming Services In Malaysia: Compare Packages And Pricing

Parasite (2019 movie)

Parasite
The most unfortunate families in Parasite face crippling debts; they are the silent killers of hopes and dreams. (Image source: The New Yorker)

What’s it about:

The financially struggling Kim family cunningly finds employment with the Parks, a wealthy household who has been unknowingly hiding a stranger in their basement for years.

Memorable and insightful quotes:

“Rich people are naive. No resentments. No creases on them.” “It all gets ironed out. Money is an iron. Those creases all get smoothed out by money.”

Lesson:

The most unfortunate families in the movie face crippling debts. In this story, debt is the silent killer of hopes and dreams. It can suck up your savings by charging interest on the money you borrow. The longer you put off paying your bills and loans, the more you owe the banks and financial institutions. So always pay your debts in full and on time

Watch on Astro and Viu

Related: What Is Debt Consolidation? How Can It Work For You?

The Mandalorian (ongoing series)

Mandalorian
If the Mandalorian has agreed to a contract, he can be relied upon to complete his mission. Paying your credit card bills and loans is based on the same principle. (Image source: NPR)

What’s it about:

We follow the adventures of Din Djarin, a Mandalorian bounty hunter who explores the outer reaches of the galaxy along with his adorable lil green friend.  

Quote:

“This is the way.” 

Lesson:

The quote above is often uttered by Din Djarin, aka Mando, who follows a code of honour that sends out a simple message: He’s as good as his word. If he has agreed to a contract, he can be relied upon to complete his mission. Paying your credit card bills and loans is based on the same principle.

Banks approve your credit cards and loan applications on the understanding that you’ll live up to your agreement and make payments on time. This record of prompt payments will improve your credit score (which represents how likely you are to repay debts in full and on time).

Watch on Disney+ (highly likely to be available in Malaysia soon)

Related: 6 Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

Contagion (2011 movie)

Contagion
During a pandemic, false rumours can lead to panic buying and overspending. (Image source: WCBE)

What’s it about:

Gwyneth Paltrow’s character contracts a mysterious virus in Hong Kong and unintentionally unleashes it around the world – causing millions of death and chaotic situations everywhere.

Quote:

“In order to get scared, all you have to do is to come in contact with a rumour, or the television, or the internet.” 

Lesson:

During a pandemic like COVID-19, it’s important to follow the correct standard operating procedures (SOP) and obtain information from trustworthy sources such as the National Security Council

False rumours can lead to unnecessary panic and overspending. For instance, if you listen to untrue information about food shortages, you’ll start stockpiling groceries. All you’ll get for your trouble is a kitchen filled with spoiled food. That’s a few hundred or even thousands of ringgit down the drain. 

Watch on Astro and Apple TV

Related: Starting A Business In Today’s COVID-19 World – Yay Or Nay?

Bridgerton (2021 series)

Bridgerton
Similar to Lady Whistledown, we can learn to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the job market and our working fields. (Image source: Screen Rant)

What’s it about:

We follow Daphne, the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family, as she makes her debut on London’s competitive marriage market in the 1800s. Amid a world filled with all the scandal, wit and romance of a Jane Austen novel, Daphne is about to experience laughter, sadness and joy.

Quote:

“We should both aspire to be just like her. Unmarried, and earning our own money.”

Lesson:

While we may not agree with the “unmarried” part of the quote above (settling down with the right person is awesome!), having a successful career is also financially rewarding.

One of the ladies in Bridgerton does enjoy the status of earning a sizable income without having to depend on others. Unlike many characters in the series, Lady Whistledown has a rewarding career doing what she loves – thanks to the impressive sales of her Society Papers. (In later episodes of the show, a newsboy can be seen collecting money for copies of the bestselling high-society gossip newspaper.)

We can all learn a thing or two about career success from Lady Whistledown. She knows what her target audience and readers want. By being agile to the demands of the market, she’s constantly looking for new ways to keep abreast of the latest developments in her working field: high society. 

Today, in the COVID-19 era, we can also learn to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the job market. If you are looking for career advancement, you can sign up for relevant upskilling courses via online learning platforms such as Coursera and LinkedIn Learning. These platforms also offer reskilling courses for people who plan to switch careers or adapt to different job responsibilities in an automated and digitized work environment.

Besides that, YouTube tutorials, webinars and e-books are other avenues that can help elevate your skills to the next level. 

Watch on Netflix

Related: #DigitalCareers: Freelancing In The New Normal – How Is It Different? 6 Freelancers Share Their Stories With Us

The Queen’s Gambit (2020 miniseries)


Just like how chess players often think a few moves ahead, you should start saving for the future early. (Image source: Chess 24)

What’s it about:

In a 1950s orphanage, young Beth reveals an astonishing talent for chess and begins an unlikely journey to stardom while grappling with alcohol and drug addiction.

Quote:

“Chess can also be beautiful. It was the board I noticed first. It’s an entire world of just 64 squares. I feel safe in it. I can control it; I can dominate it. And it’s predictable, so if I get hurt, I only have myself to blame.”

Lessons:

Beth has set goals in her life from an early age. She hopes to master chess, win tournaments, travel the world, and ultimately play against a renowned chess champion in the Soviet Union. She also comes up with various strategies to overcome the obstacles in her journey to success.

As her tournament winnings grow, she becomes financially independent. She invests in herself by buying chess books, a travel chess set, and magazines to improve her skills. While travelling to chess tournaments, she also becomes more concerned with her hotel and meal expenses. After all, she was footing the bill for everything. 

We should emulate Beth when it comes to setting financial goals and having the right strategies, especially if growing your savings is part of your ambition in life. Just like how good chess players often think a few moves ahead, you should start saving for the future by allocating a percentage of your monthly income to your savings (an untouched amount of money that is meant for your long-term goals) and emergency fund (which should comprise six months’ worth of income that you can use for unexpected expenses like retrenchment, job loss and urgent medical care).

As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the job market – resulting in layoffs, pay cuts, and unemployment, having emergency savings is more important than ever. If your source of income is suddenly affected, your emergency fund can help to pay for your monthly commitments while you look for a new job and bounce back from setbacks. 

Watch on Netflix

Related: #DearGenZ: Here Are 7 Money Mistakes You Can Learn From Millennials (And Never Repeat)