9 Lessons On Finance That Our Favorite TV Shows Can Teach Us

Television shows are made for entertainment. They keep us occupied and give us a peek into the lifestyles that we aren’t living. We make friends with the characters and relate to their emotions. We grin with them and feel bad for their pain. And it was in moments like these that I came across these lessons on finance that some of the TV shows taught me.

Here we go with the top 9:

1. Friends: Where does one-third of your salary go?
In the bank!

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Monica loses her job and is badly broke. Even before she could ask her father for the money, he reminds her of an important lesson that he taught her. That one-third of your salary needs to be saved so that it can be used in a rainy day. Not all the money that you earn should be blown away. Save some for the unexpected crisis.


2. Game of Thrones: A Lannister always pays his debt

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Most people’s favorite character Tyrion Lannister often reminds us of this. When the Bolton men complete a task set out by Jaime (fetching Brienne from Harrenhal,) the Lannister golden boy promptly pays them their rightful reward. The Lannisters may be deceitful, cold, and calculated, but they do seem to manage their money wisely. They pay back their debt, whether it’s in coppers or in blood. Maybe that’s why they’re so rich!


3. Breaking Bad: Expect the unexpected

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Any die-hard fan of ‘Breaking Bad’ who saw Walter White turn into Heisenberg would know what not to do with your money! The most fundamental mistake that he ever made was not having planned the whole thing through. At the beginning of the series, Walter White is diagnosed with lung cancer. Not only does he not have the funds to cover the pricey cancer specialist, he also has no savings to make sure his family is taken care of after his death. He taught us that even though it is an unpleasant thought, you got to be prepared for the worst.


4. The Big Bang Theory: Married couples discuss big financial decisions beforehand

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Remember the time when Howard bought a $5000 3D printer, without consulting his wife, Bernadette. As expected, she was beyond upset. And after the catastrophe, she takes him off their joint account, hoping he’d learn his lesson. What is the lesson? If you’re married or share finances with a partner, you can’t just make important financial decisions on your own – you need to consult your partner first and decide on big purchases as a team.


5. HIMYM: Don’t be a shopaholic

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Lily shops. She shops more when she is sad or disappointed with herself. And when she sees good shoes or bags, she loses it all. As a result, she is not just broke, she is in debt!
It is not just the girls that are associated with compulsive shopping. Men have their own fancies; it might be an expensive watch or a 12-year-old scotch. But before you indulge into all your fancies, make sure they don’t burn the pocket altogether.


6. Seinfeld: There’s such a thing as too cheap

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‘Seinfeld’ lovers familiar with Geroge Costanza’s character know it well that their favorite balding, neurotic, would-be architect is not only cheap, he’s downright parsimonious. And his cheapest, most ridiculous act of penny-pinching lead to the death of his fiancé, Susan who had been licking off the adhesive of the cheapest wedding invitations George could find. Lesson learned: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you pay less for a poor-quality product, you’re not getting a deal at all – you’ll end up spending more money in the long run, either through repair or replacement costs.


7. Suits: You will live a dull and boring life if you do not take risks

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For the most part of this show, most characters are living on the edge. Whether it be Harvey’s spontaneous lies or Mike’s bold moves, we were made to understand that risk-taking is a crucial factor to any person’s success. One’s ability to take calculated risks coupled with a little bit of luck can catapult anyone’s career from dull and boring to eventful and exciting. Of course, it is important that you understand the kind of risk you are taking because if you are blindly taking on risk without taking into consideration the consequences of your actions, you might be setting yourself up for disaster.


8. Downtown Abbey: Manage your personal expenses like your professional expenses

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What have we taken back from the lavish British lifestyle? While you might not be the owner of a grand estate, running your home like a business makes sense. After all, you want your family to be successful, so creating a household budget, tracking expenses, allotting money for allowance, and frequently checking progress can help you stay on track. A monthly review of your budget and household can further keep you – and your family – away from reckless spending and going over-budget.


9. 2 Broke Girls: Even if you are broke, SET GOALS!

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Oh the famous inspiration board, that Caroline creates including a photo of a bakery to picturize their dream of owning a bakery one day. She tries to teach Max to set goals for herself. Doing the same with your money cannot only save you money, but make you money. Without even knowing the next level you need to step on to, how do you do worthy efforts in that direction?

See, watching too much television can be productive too!

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