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J.G. Wentworth Blog

4 money lessons we received from our favorite TV shows

From comedic sitcoms to edge-of-your seat thrillers, many people have that one television show that keeps them tuning in each week for more. While there’s no doubt that television can be highly entertaining, it can also provide some terrific life lessons, including financial and money lessons. The following shows have had some powerful messages regarding money and personal finance:

BreakingBad
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Breaking Bad

After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, the hit show’s protagonist, Walter White, is faced with a dilemma: how will he afford his medical care, and how will his family be provided for once he’s gone? Without having a solid financial plan set in place and out of desperation, Walt resorts to a life of crime in order to make some extra cash. Too many people don’t prepare for the unexpected, and if you have a family to provide for, it’s especially crucial to have a plan set in place in case the worst should happen—such as an emergency fund or life insurance policy.

HowIMetYourMother
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How I Met Your Mother

Like millions of other Americans, Lily Aldrin has credit card debt—and a lot of it. But instead of dealing with her credit card bills and putting an end to the cycle once and for all, she stuffs them into her “box of shame.” And then, to make matters worse, she turns to retail therapy in an effort to cheer herself up—only adding more to her debt problems. Credit cards can be a great way to build up your credit and help manage your finances, but only when used responsibly. If you find that you’re constantly maxing out your credit cards for things you don’t need and struggle with making the required minimum payments, it may be time to put a plan into action that eliminates credit card use once and for all.

Friends
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Friends

Monica and Chandler Bing find themselves in a tough financial situation, and each separately asks their pal Joey for a loan. Monica is the first to ask, and requests that Joey keeps the loan a secret. When Chandler asks for a loan that same day, he notices that Joey has already written a check out to Monica. In an ironic attempt to avoid embarrassing Monica, and honoring her wishes to keep the loan request a secret, Joey makes up an absurd story about cosmetic surgery as her reason for asking for the loan. The whole thing snowballs into a convoluted (yet hilarious) storyline that teaches viewers this one important lesson: keep money out of friendship. Avoid lending it, and avoid asking for it—you never know how it could end up affecting your friendship.

Seinfeld
via Giphy

Seinfeld

Ask any Seinfeld fan to describe George Costanza in one word, and you’ll often hear the word “cheap.” Unfortunately for George, it was his frugality that caused the death of his fiancé, Susan. In an effort to save money, George opts for the cheapest wedding invitations he can find. Susan prepares all the invitations herself, which includes licking the envelopes, when she eventually collapses and dies later at the hospital. As it turns out, the cheap envelopes for the invitations were made with very toxic glue. Although it’s pretty unlikely that anything in real life would come close to mirroring some of Seinfeld’s far-fetched plotlines, it points out how being too cheap can actually cost you. For certain products and services, don’t cut corners—it might end up costing you more in the end.

Did one of your favorite television shows teach you a memorable money lesson? We’d love to hear more about it!

Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.