By Vanessa Lang | Spout December 15, 2011 at 10:43AM
Recently, I was watching "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and I started to think about my own personal finances. There are actually lots of movies that teach us financial lessons without really trying. When you think about it, there are lessons in films in every category, from dramas and thrillers to our favorite Disney movies.
These are just a few of the many lessons I’ve seen in some of my favorite movies:
Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness: "Aladdin" and "Harry Potter"
This is probably the most common lesson movies teach us about money. In the classic Disney movie "Aladdin," the title character tries to win over princess Jasmine by becoming a prince and flaunting his newly found wealth. Not only does this not work to win her over, it actually gets him into trouble because of his lies. This movie tells us that even if we do come into a lot of money we should never change who we are.
Another one of my favorite movies makes this point as well. The Weasley family in the "Harry Potter" series is probably one of the happiest families in that magical world. However, they make a point to let the audience know how poor this family is. On the other hand, Harry is left a large inheritance when his parents die, but this will never replace the fact that he will never know them.
Suspicious Activity is Usually Not a Good Sign: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
Most Disney classics show us this lesson, but especially "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." A shiny red apple may seem great, but when it’s coming from a shady source, you have a right to be suspicious. You should never buy something online with a credit card if you are not 100% sure that the site is trustworthy. Also, the best deals are never going to show up at your kitchen window. Finding these deals and saving your hard earned money is going to take time and patience, so you will need to make an effort.
Expect the Unexpected: "127 Hours"
In "127 Hours," James Franco’s character teaches us this lesson when he us unexpectedly trapped far away from help, and must survive for over five days. He ends up having to make a tough decision and cuts off his own arm in order to escape and find help. With your finances, you never know what is going to happen. It can be very easy to fall into a hole of debt, and then it can be very difficult to get out again. An unexpected expense could come up to cause you to go into debt. To avoid this tragedy, you should have at least six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund to cover these unexpected expenses when they come up.
Treat People Well and You Will Be Successful: "Jerry Maguire"
In "Jerry Maguire," we learn how important it is to treat your clients and your coworkers with respect. Jerry may only have one client for a while, but he gives that client all he’s got, and helps him succeed, which makes Jerry’s business succeed as well. Giving people more personal attention will help you succeed anywhere you work, which will in turn help you make more money.
Take Calculated Risks and Have a Plan: "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"
“If it weren’t for people who took risks, where would we be in this world?” This quote comes from "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," and it is so true. You can’t go through life taking the easy route and being safe. If you do, you will never reach your true potential. However, you need to make sure you don’t take risks without calculating the consequences. Also, have a plan just in case the risk doesn’t pay out. A backup plan could prevent you from getting into too much financial trouble.
You’d be surprised how much you’ve probably learned from the movies you’ve watched. Most of the time, you can apply these lessons to your real life. What kinds of lessons have you learned from your favorite movies?
Vanessa Lang is an author who writes guest posts on the topics of business, marketing, credit cards, and personal finance. Additionally, she works for a website that focuses on educating readers about online payday loans.