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10 Important Money Lessons These Hollywood Blockbusters Teach You

10 Important Money Lessons These Hollywood Blockbusters Teach You

Movies aren’t just fun distractions. The good ones can pass on wonderful wisdom about our own lives. The great ones can change the way we exist from day to day, including the way we spend our cash.

Here are 10 major Hollywood movies and the money lessons they’ve taught us about good old greenbacks. Spoiler alerts and wonderful wisdom ahead!

1. The Money Pit

The-money-pit

    What’s more surprising than the fact that this 1986 movie starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long is nearly 30 years old, is the fact that Steven Spielberg produced the box office smash. 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. Due to the large and increasing amounts of money it takes to repair the home, the residence is dubbed a “money pit”.

    Lesson learned: Don’t fall for slick stories from desperate home sellers, and make sure to estimate your real remodeling expenses prior to signing any contracts or getting any work done on your McMansion. Like 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.”

    2. The Wolf of Wall Street

    leo-money

      If there is one thing I learned from experiencing the thrilling body of work that is The Wolf of Wall Street is that men like stuff. Fancy stuff. The kind of Ferrari 458 Speciale cars and “ocean kitchen” fish tanks that they lust over on Fatal Dose. In this 2013 film based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, a man who parlays his selling skills into a new wife and wild life as a wealthy stockbroker, we learn that women like stuff, too. However, coveting all that cash doesn’t pan out as planned.

      “You show me a pay stub, I’ll quit my job right now,” Donnie Azoff tells Jordan, proving all that glitters isn’t gold when you don’t truly investigate the source of the riches–and whether or not it lines up with sleeping well at night.

      Lesson learned: Lying to achieve lots of money and buying copious amounts of drugs with our riches isn’t the way to go. Gaining funds by any means necessary is what led Jordan straight to prison and divorce court.

      3. Bridesmaids

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      bridesmaids

        The 2011 comedy starring Kristen Wiig was hilarious, and also quite unique in the way that it showed how income levels can bond or break apart friends. As the film opens, (after that kooky scene with Jon Hamms’ lusty Lothario persona) main character Annie hangs out with her best friend Lillian–played by Maya Rudolph–and they share in the camaraderie of being broke by getting kicked out of their bootcamp class.

        When Lillian’s impending wedding brings a wealthy woman named Helen into her life, who attempts to buy her friendship away from Annie, the true test of how people might react to “friends with financial benefits” comes to light.

        “Help me, I’m poor,” Annie admits during a memorable scene on the plane.

        Lessons learned: The monetary morals uncovered in Bridesmaids are threefold: Don’t let folks buy your love; don’t go crazy trying to purchase expensive decorations you can’t afford when cute, affordable wedding fare sits at our fingertips; and never let a disparity in salaries cause you to drop your bestie. After all, Oprah and Gayle figured it out.

        4. Casino

        casino

          The work of brilliance that is Casino, a feature film directed by Martin Scorsese, puts forth a plethora of gems about money–not the least of which being that you should never marry for wealth, only for love.

          The 1995 movie was based on the non-fiction book by Nicholas Pileggi, whose Sam “Ace” Rothstein counterpart was played by Robert DeNiro. When Ace proposes marriage to a Las Vegas hustler, Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), she honestly confesses that she’s not the marrying kind.

          “You’ve got the wrong girl, Sam.” Ginger’s intended should have listened. Instead of accepting the truth that she just doesn’t love him, Sam urges her to “learn to love,” and promises to take care of her monetarily.

          Lesson learned: That fiasco of a marriage-for-the-money taught us that the heart may want what the heart wants, but nuptials shouldn’t become business deals.

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          5. The Great Gatsby

          gatsby

            When I used to read reviews about the classic 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, I didn’t understand all the hoopla. It wasn’t until I soaked up the 2013 movie of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire that I truly began to realize the exquisite nature of the storyline.

            Once again, here was a millionaire–Jay Gatsby–at the center of the Roaring Twenties, a time of revelry before the stock market crash of 1929.

            “The truth is I’m penniless,” Gatsby had previously confessed to Daisy via letter, and her rejection of him made the main character vow to win both massive amounts of wealth and the woman he loved.

            Lessons learned: In addition to teachings about Gatsby not being able to pay for the affections of the woman named Daisy that he loved and lost twice in his life, we also realize that when times are good, it’s best to save for a rainy economy. Plus, that all-important line about having plenty of friends when you’re rich is also apropos.

            6. Sunset Boulevard

              In the classic Sunset Boulevard, on-screen Hollywood writer, Joe Gillis, is a starving artist down to his last nickels–literally–when he meets the older and wealthier Norma Desmond.

              “Waiting, waiting for the gravy train” is how Joe describes his status with all the other writers hanging out at Schwab’s Drug Store looking for their big breaks.

              After Norma dangles herself, plus her dilapidating mansion and career, in front of his face, Joe takes the bait. However, he shouldn’t have fallen for the trap because it would end up being the same place of his death. When he tries to leave to spend his life with the woman he really loves, Norma shoots him dead.

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              Lesson learned: If you sell your soul to hang out with someone you normally wouldn’t befriend just because they have money, be prepared for them to exert unnatural (and perhaps nefarious) control over your life.

              7. The Passion of the Christ

              passion-of-the-Christ

                In The Passion of the Christ, Judas Iscariot receives 30 pieces of silver in order to tell enemies the whereabouts of Jesus, but he didn’t realize that blood money was the worst kind of money around. When Judas tried to give it back, the church leaders wouldn’t take it because, ironically, they reasoned that they couldn’t have blood money in their coffers.

                I have sinned, betrayed innocent blood,” the one doomed to destruction realized, but it was too late.

                Lesson learned: A life is worth much more than money.

                8. It Could Happen to You

                It Could Happen to You

                  The romantic 1994 dramady, It Could Happen to You, featured 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 (played with annoying brilliance by Rosie Perez) goes crazy spending the bulk of the funds as Charlie and Yvonne have fun doling it out through more altruistic means.

                  Lessons learned: Money doesn’t make you. Getting lots of money only magnifies who you already are inside. Money amplified Charlie and Yvonne’s giving spirits while it also brought out the ugliness of greed in Muriel’s philosophy.

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                  9. Moneyball

                  moneyball

                    The 2011 film Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, reminds us that gaining income can be a matter of changing the way we think after he uses scant resources and a computer-based algorithm to put together a successful team.

                    Lesson learned: Money is mental. Billy shows us that thinking differently about baseball statistics, or any aspect of our lives, can truly bring wealth and riches because our paradigm isn’t like others. It works because he approached the game along with his business partner in a manner that no one was accomplishing at that time.

                    10. 12 Years a Slave

                    12-years-a-slave

                      The greed of the slave masters as displayed in12 Years a Slave, the 2013 film based on the real-life 1853 book of the same name, is what stands out as the biggest monetary lesson learned therein. In the shadows of the Capital Building, free man Solomon Northrup is kept in a slave pen until he is transported south near New Orleans, where he suffers unspeakable horrors along with the other slaves, all because the slave masters want to enjoy the income that their fieldhands and servants provide through hours and hours of hard labor. In the end there is proof that taking advantage of others for your own material gain does not pay.

                      Lesson learned: Greed is bad. Very bad.

                      Featured photo credit: 12 Years a Slave 02/newstatesman.com via newstatesman.com

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                      Published on October 28, 2020

                      13 Books on Money to Transform Your Finance Management

                      13 Books on Money to Transform Your Finance Management

                      One of the most obvious measures of our success is our wealth. That said, that statement alone can be taken in various directions. Some people think it’s a matter of how much wealth you have. We, on the other hand, believe that it’s more of how much you’re able to retain and manage from month to month and year to year.

                      Below is a list of books on money that we believe will transform your way of thinking about money management in several ways. From sparking interesting conversations about it to making plans for your financial future, this list covers many aspects of finance management.

                      How to Choose a Good Book on Money

                      To help you find the best books on money to reach your personal finance goals, we’ve done the research for you and have formed this list of criteria.

                      • Relevant – Even though money has been around for a long time, the economy has changed a lot over the years. We want to ensure you the books recommended are offering relevant advice that would be ideal in any financial environment.
                      • Offers a system – Financial advice is great, but it doesn’t always stick. Each book should overall provide tips and habits that will allow you to build a system to help you manage your money.
                      • Sparks conversations – Reading about money is one thing, but these books should also encourage you to talk more about money with those around you to some extent. Even though we all have our own ways of managing money, discussing money can have merits in some circumstances.
                      • Practical – While these books provide general financial advice, they should remain practical in that the advice should be obtainable for people to achieve. Most people don’t have the funds necessary to start a real estate business, but they can put away a few hundred dollars into a savings or investment account every month. Practical books will help you achieve your goals.

                      1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich

                        As the title of the book suggests, this book delivers on a plan to be rich. The author, Ramit Sethi, has a background in personal finance and provides a detailed six-week plan for living out a “rich life.”

                        This book on money covers a wide variety of aspects like using credit cards and maximizing rewards from them, opening a high-yield savings account, and automating accounts where you can save money with no effort from you at all. This book is filled with nothing but pure actions that are outlined and sectioned off in a good way.

                        Buy “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” here.

                        2. The Automatic Millionaire

                          Another one of the great books on money that will help you build a system is The Automatic Millionaire. Written by David Bach, a financial writer, this book focuses on our ability to automate our finances and builds a system based on that.

                          The idea with this book is to give you the knowledge and information to put together a system in an afternoon that will make a large impact on your financial future for the better.

                          Buy “The Automatic Millionaire” here.

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                          3. The Simple Path to Wealth

                            The principles from this book on money were first presented by the author to his daughter through a series of letters. As such, you’d expect there to be plenty of actionable advice when it comes to investing and overall saving. Considering the direction of the book further, this book is light and has a casual tone to it. That said, it won’t shy away from complicated explanations. It’s one of the highest-rated personal finance books around and it’s clear why it is.

                            Buy “The Simple Path to Wealth” here.

                            4. Retire Before Mom and Dad

                              This is a book for those who are looking to be involved in the FIRE movement. FIRE stands for Financially Independent, Retire Early, and it’s clear why many people are striving for this or considering it.

                              This book delves into the principles and acts as a primer for this movement and going down this path. That said, it also considers other principles that make FIRE more attainable or easier to achieve, even if you’re not planning on retirement in the next few years.

                              Buy “Retire Before Mom and Dad” here.

                              5. When She Makes More

                                Money is a topic that most people shy away from, and it makes sense. Money is a status thing and seeing someone making more can cause unease or resentment. Money can also strain relationships and overall cause harm. People fear talking about money and it’s those emotions that cause problems in the first place.

                                This book on money is powerful as it provides opportunities for women to be talking to their partner about money. After all, stereotypically speaking, men are meant to be making more money than women and it’s a sore spot when it’s the reverse. This book is fantastic because the author, Farnoosh Torabi, lives a life where she is the one making more than her partner.

                                Getting into details, this book looks at the realities and the various rules she’s set up with her partner. She also discusses ways to maximize earnings while minimizing conflict.

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                                Buy “When She Makes More” here.

                                6. Women & Money

                                  Suze Orman is a financial advisor who most notably ran a show called The Suze Orman Show from 2002 to 2015. In the show, she received calls from viewers who asked for financial advice and whether or not it’s a good idea to buy various items.

                                  Orman has years of experience working in this field and pools a lot of her knowledge into the various books she’s published. Women & Money is one of the more recent ones. This book in particular talks about how women earn, invest, and save while also giving practical advice on retirement, marriage, and other topics.

                                  Whether you are 20 years old or 60, this is a good choice if you’re looking to learn more.

                                  Buy “Women & Money” here.

                                  7. Think and Grow Rich

                                    This famous book has been around for almost 90 years and still holds some relevant information. While this book on money won’t tell you about 401Ks and building a portfolio, it takes a turn to the mindset of building wealth.

                                    Through this book, you’ll learn more about desire and persistence as opposed to strategy or money management. While this is an odd book on our list, we believe it’s still important as the stories and the lessons are still relevant to your money attitude today.

                                    Buy “Think and Grow Rich” here.

                                    8. You Are a Badass at Making Money

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                                      As you can guess from this title, this book takes a lighthearted angle to personal finance. Similar to “Think and Grow Rich,” this book also focuses on the mindset of earning and keeping money.

                                      While this book lacks any sort of actionable financial advice, it’s compensated by the fact it’s inspiring. It’s an ideal book if you’re looking for a new perspective to making money and could spark conversation with friends, family, or your partner. On top of that, it’s a nice motivational booster.

                                      Buy “You Are a Badass at Making Money” here.

                                      9. The Millionaire Next Door

                                        Another inspirational focused book that you’ll want to pick up is “The Millionaire Next Door.” Many years ago, Thomas J Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. did extensive research into the millionaires of America. From the various interviews they’ve conducted, they created a profile of America’s wealthiest citizens and discovered common connections amongst them all.

                                        Stanley wrote it all in this book that has garnered over 1,700 five-star reviews and provides tremendous insight into what it’s like to be a millionaire. This is all explained through seven habits that all of these individuals have in common.

                                        Again, there’s not so much practical advice here, but it prompts you to take a closer look at their overall lives and what you can do to change yours to be like theirs. Even if you’re not planning to be a millionaire, the lessons in there are all practical such as living below your means and rejecting traditional consumerism.

                                        Buy “The Millionaire Next Door” here.

                                        10. Spend Well, Live Rich

                                          For those looking for a good book for budgeting and personal finance for beginners, this is a good pick. Author Michelle Singletary reflects on her life with her grandmother who raised five children on a modest salary.

                                          By watching her grandmother, Singletary devised principles that her grandmother used to support that kind of lifestyle with what money she had. Through those principles, you can find inspiration in her story while learning about how to stretch the money that you already have.

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                                          Buy “Spend Well, Live Rich” here.

                                          11. Your Money or Your Life

                                            The core of this book is financial independence and lays out a plan to reach that goal. While this book is the longest in this list, it does provide advice on pretty much every aspect of financial independence you can think of. It covers things like mindset requirements as well as investment moves that you should be making. Even if your plan isn’t to retire early, there is plenty of advice in this book you can use.

                                            Buy “Your Money or Your Life” here.

                                            12. Broke Millennial

                                              Amongst millennials, this book on money is a favorite for its simple and relatable language. It touches on a lot of the struggles and issues that millennials are faced off with today—things like living with your parents in your 20s, dealing with student debt, and even dealing with friendships and your finances.

                                              Between all of this, the book does offer plenty of practical advice and things to consider for those within this age group. It covers a broad overview of checking your credit score to even buying your first home. Even if you’re not there, chances are likely that the information mentioned in this book will be relevant for quite some time.

                                              Buy “Broke Millennial” here.

                                              13. Get a Financial Life

                                                Another millennial-focused book is “Get a Financial Life,” which covers a lot of the basics for personal finance. This book is more direct with its advice since it covers things like doing your own taxes and paying off debt. The goal of this book is to provide a foundation for you to establish a financial life and it does so in a good and clear manner.

                                                Buy “Get a Financial Life” here.

                                                Final Thoughts

                                                What a lot of these books teach us about money is that success doesn’t come overnight. It’s something that takes a while to build up. But it also shows just how changing your way of thinking or taking a few small steps can mean changing your financial path for the better. There are many great books on money, and these are only the start.

                                                More Books on Money and Finance

                                                Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

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