Money Tips From These Popular Movies Are Entertaining
You might not think of the movies as a treasure trove of financial advice, but cinema has many nuggets of wisdom buried within it. From the beginnings of film to the present day, finance and money have been a part of the film’s plots. You can learn what to do, how to handle finances, what not to do, and how to succeed regardless of where you live. Let’s start with classic film, then jump into the modern 20th century for our finance lessons.
Best Money Tips from Movies
Tips n°1: Managing Money
In Orson Welles’ 1941 classic, Citizen Kane the lead character, Charles Foster Kane spews out his take on the value of money.
“You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.”
Mr. Kane’s character has the attitude you want to avoid. He earned the money, but he does not understand its true value. Rather than parlaying it into a vast vehicle for good and improvement of his world and the world at large, he sees no value. If he loses money, oh well. Instead, realize as early in life as possible that you need to earn, save, build wealth, and do good with it. Money provides the mechanism for improving everything. You need it and you need to know how to use it wisely.
Tips n°2: You Get Nothing in Life for Free
This Is Spinal Tap
In This Is Spinal Tap you hear some pie in the sky lyrics that teach the love of money, but the wrong way to get it.
“Stop wasting my time.
You know what I want.
You know what I need.
Or maybe you don’t.
Do I have to come right flat out and tell you everything?
Gimme some money! Gimme some money!”
Never expect someone to just give you money. You have to go out and earn your money. You can learn to wisely invest your money, so you earn a nice interest rate, but you get nothing in life for nothing. Of course you must earn the money. Rather than looking for quick ways to make money , look for dependable ways to build wealth, slowly and surely. Which leads us to a 1980’s classic.
Of course, there is one exception that you can get for free: some free stuff thanks to freebie sites!
Tips n°3: Work It, Baby. Work It.
In the now-classic financial flick, Wall Street with Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas, the two matinee idols who are sons of matinee idols teach us a lot of nuggets of wisdom.
While I do not suggest you follow the advice that Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, gave when he uttered, “Greed is good.,” there are other tidbits you should follow.
“What’s worth doing is worth doing for money.”
This provides some of the best career advice ever. If you love writing, be a journalist. If you love a particular sport, become a player or a coach. And if you adore clothes and making outfits, become a fashion designer. What you love doing should become your career so you get paid well for doing it.
The advice to ignore comes from William Forsythe’s character Evelle (which may as well be called Evil) in Raising Arizona
“H.I., you’re young and you got your health, what you want with a job?”
Ignore the Evelle idiots you meet. Get a damn job and work. Do what you love and make money at it. Career is that important. Get it together and work.
Tips n°4: Climbing the Corporate Ladder
Coming to America
You do not start at the top. Every person must climb the corporate ladder. Louie Anderson’s character Maurice taught us this in the Eddie Murphy classic, Coming to America. Although he had just begun at the fast-food restaurant, he already had a plan for moving up.
“I’m washing lettuce. Soon, I’ll be on fries. In a few years, I’ll make assistant manager, and that’s when the big bucks start rolling in.”
The very wise scriptwriters wrote Maurice to know he had to work his way up. He combines humility and ambition since although he just washes lettuce, he already envisions himself as management. He has planned the path he will take, knows he needs to learn every job in the restaurant, and has memorized the job list he must learn to get there.
And whatever your job, there are ways to get the higher paying job you deserve the same way Maurice worked to climb the corporate ladder!
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Tips n°5: Learn Good Money Management
Let’s mine a few movies here to learn why you must learn to manage your money effectively first. Start while you have no money. You must learn to manage it wisely, so when you get a little, you turn it into a lot.
Stand by Me
Wil Wheaton’s character Gordie in Stand By Me realizes you need to save. You have to have the appropriate amount of money because you get what you pay for in life.
“Sorry, Vern. I guess a more experienced shopper could have gotten more for your seven cents.” Ah, the truth. If you have little, you do not shop. You save. You do not need to spend money as much as you need to save it.
Do the Right Thing
In Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing Robin Harris’ character Sweet Dick Willie knows a foolish person when he sees one. He knows you need to work and save.
“You fool! You’re 30 cents away from having a quarter!”
Willie knows that you have to clear your debt, then save money to get anywhere in life. If your finances are in the negative, you need to pay the debts first.
In the comedy Brewster’s Millions Hume Cronyn’s character Rupert Horn teaches saving. He knows that to build wealth, you must avoid spending money.
“I’m going to teach you to hate spending money.”
That is pretty self-explanatory. Buy what you need. Budget. You can purchase a budgeted treat per week. Remain level-headed. Learn to abhor spending because you do need money in the bank.
And if you still can’t help yourself from shopping around, at least you could try to cut your bills!
Tips n°6: There’s Plenty in the World for Every Person
As far as advice about other people’s earnings and other people’s money, I side with Mandy Patinkin’s and Joe Pantoliano’s characters over Eddie Murphy’s every day. The good movies teach us that we need to respect everyone’s earning power and career.
Overarching all else, follow the advice of Joe Pantoliano’s character Guido, the killer pimp in Risky Business which teaches respect for each person’s earning power and financial stability. “In a sluggish economy, never, ever f*ck with another man’s livelihood.”
Extend that to another person’s to make that 80s statement of truth even truer. Also, do not get in another person’s way of earning in any economy. They should not get in your way. You should not get in their way. Every person should stay in their own lane and earn on their own. Support each other or at least do not stand in each other’s way.
Let’s say some fool does get in your way. Block them and move on. Follow the advice of Mandy Patinkin’s character in the cult comedy classic Princess Bride. Although always on the lookout for the person who killed his father, Inigo Montoya realizes that he also must earn a living and then some. “There’s not a lot of money in revenge.”
There is also no point in revenge. Not only does it not make you money, but it also sucks up the time you could have been making money. Your revenge should be your own success. Just work hard. Do your best. Earn well. Live even better than they do.
That leads us to the advice to avoid. In Trading Places Eddie Murphy’s character Billy Ray Valentine wants revenge.
“The best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.”
Here is the thing. There is no reason to hurt any people. Instead of hurting any person or group, just focus on making your own money. Revenge, hurt, and hate all comprise completely pointless pursuits. As long as you only focus on your own earning and you do not try to involve others or step on their toes, you have no worries.
Think of it in terms of every mob movie ever. Mobsters always get caught in movies and real-life when they whack (kill) somebody. Revenge creates the problem. Jealousy creates the problem. Whacking does not solve it. When each family has stuck to its own territory and earned effectively, partnering on larger jobs, everything has gone well.
Tips n°7: You Are Your Brand
Some people want to avoid going into sales. They do not understand that regardless of your career choice, you go into sales. You have got to sell yourself. John Cusack’s character in Say Anything just does not get that, so ignore the Lloyd Dobler types of the world.
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” Basically, Lloyd wants to do nothing, buy nothing, and he just is not very useful. Avoid Lloyd. Know your worth. Add taxes.
In Ruthless People the brilliant Danny DeVito plays Sam Stone and schools the world in how to sell themselves and products. This provides one of the best money tips from movies.
“A bad salesman will automatically drop his price. Bad salesmen make me sick.”
Stone nails it. You must negotiate in life. You earn money by knowing your worth. Whether your product consists of books or your service, price accordingly. Negotiate wisely.
Bette Midler’s character, Barbara in the same film, knows this. She makes the mistake of letting someone else set her value. Always remain in complete control. No person makes decisions for you. You make them yourself. Otherwise, you find yourself in Barbara’s situation.
“Do I understand this right? I’m being marked down?”
Tips n°8: Build Financial Stability for the Right Reasons
Back to Wall Street for a bit of advice from Charlie’s dad, Martin Sheen, or rather, his character, Carl Fox.
“Money’s only something you need in case you don’t die tomorrow.”
You need money. Fact. You must earn it; save it; invest it wisely. You will probably live a really long time. You need to be able to pay for yourself. Plan ahead.
Now we come to one of Al “Sonny” Pacino’s character Tony Montana in Scarface. He knows that to get ahead you need money and power.
“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”
Where Montana misses the point is that he is just doing it for the babes. Build your career and your multiple streams of income so that you have financial stability. You can live nicely in any economy. Do this so you can buy what you want when you want and still put money into savings.
Bill Pulman’s character in the Mel Brooks classic comedy Spaceballs knows about setting the right price on things.
Lone Starr does not work cheaply.
“Listen! We’re not just doing this for the money! We’re doing this for a sh*t load of money!”
Tips n°9: Script Life by Setting Financial and Life Goals
Set goals. You might want to set them a little higher than Tom Hanks’s character Allen in Splash though. “I don’t ask for much. I don’t ask to be rich. And I don’t ask to be famous. And I don’t ask to play center field for the New York Yankees. I just want to get married and have a wife, and a house, and I want to have a kid, and I want to go see him be a tooth in the school play!”
Be careful of the tiny word “a” because it can get you in trouble. Whether financial or otherwise, your goals need specificity. Do you really want “a” spouse or do you want a spouse who shares the same mindset as you, has some of the same interests and a few different ones, too, so you learn from one another?
Do you want “a” house or would you like to build your own home, working with an architect to design something you will lastingly love? God bless, Allen. How he lands a hot mermaid who is willing to mate with him for a lifetime is pretty wild, but he gets the Daryl Hannah character, Madison, and wow.
Set specific goals, especially financially. Set milestones, too, so you keep yourself on track.
Tips n°10: Get a Strong Financial Management Education
Back to School
You might not think of comedian Rodney Dangerfield as a fount of financial advice, but in Back to School his Thornton Mellon character realized that although successful in business, he still needed a college education for the ideas to which it would expose him and the diversity of people he would meet. “I don’t care how rich and successful a man is. He’s nothing without an education.”
You might not want to go to college, but you at least need to self-study financial management.
Learn to manage your funds wisely, so you turn your income into wealth. Find good sources of free financial advice like Goalry and study hard. Implement what you learn.
Tips n°11: Earn Your Own Money
Other People’s Money
Your money. You want your own money. Forget about the other persons’ money. The character Lawrence Garfield in Other People’s Money knows this.
“I love money more than the things it can buy… but what I love more than money is other people’s money.” Forget this. Some people want to marry wealthy. I say, be wealthy. It should be your money, not another person’s. Other people’s anything is not yours and is not making you wealthy. Earn your own.
Tips n°12: Define the Bottom Line
You need to develop a humbler way of thinking the Jerry Maguire theme of “Show me the money!!!” the famed line screamed by actor Tom Cruise while playing the character Jerry Maguire.
You need to earn well and know your worth to earn that quan (coin). That is kind of the “secret” you can learn from this movie!
That way, you never have the lament of Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis character in Bull Durham. “I was in the show for 21 days once—the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.” His baseball success flitted by and he still laments it.
Do not be like Crash Davis. Regardless of whether it is financial, career, love, or life, you need to know what you are doing and handle it yourself.
You can earn it all or you can lose it all. Your own savvy management of money, career, and life decide which. Dan Aykroyd’s character Louis Winthorpe III says it all in Trading Places. (Yes, we already talked about this movie, but it has more ressources than you would have thought!)
“One minute you’re up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don’t go to college and they’ve repossessed your Bentley.”
There Will be Blood
Learn money management. Keep apprised of the day-to-day minutia of your own life and businesses. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Be part Allen, part Montana. Become a king or queen and remain it. Focus. Know your worth. Show your worth. Build your worth. Model yourself after Plainview in There Will Be Blood.
“There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money that I can get away from everyone.” That is the right idea.
As you can see, there are tons of money tips in popular movies. We tried to sum up what we consider the Best Money Tips from Movies and we hope it will help you.
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Carlie Lawson writes about business and finance, specializing in entertainment, cryptocurrency and FOREX coverage. She wrote weekly entertainment business and finance articles for JollyJo.tv, Keysian and Movitly for a combined seven years. A former newspaper journalist, she now owns Powell Lawson Creatives, a PR firm, and Powell Lawson Consulting, a business continuity and hazards planning consultancy. She earned BAs in Journalism and Film & Video Studies from the University of Oklahoma. She also earned her Master of Regional & City Planning at OU. Her passion lies in helping people make money while reducing risk.