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J.G. Wentworth Blog

Terrific Money Lessons That Movies Taught Us

Although movies are meant to provide entertainment value, there’s no denying that certain films offer so much more than that, and come with invaluable life lessons. But another thing movies teach us about? Money.

(Note: Article contains spoilers!)

The Pursuit of Happyness

Pursuit of Happyness
Work hard and never give up on your dreams.

Many people wish for riches and success, but not as many work hard to make those dreams a reality. In the Pursuit of Happyness, the goal-oriented Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) turns his financial situation completely around with hard work and determination.

The Social Network

The Social Network
Don’t let your guard down when creating a new business venture.

This film tells the story of Facebook and how it came to be one of the most widely used social media websites out there, but it also tells a tale that all entrepreneurs should pay close attention to. Whether you own an established business or you’re just starting one for the first time, think carefully about who becomes your business partner and never let your guard down. It can be easy to forget that money can change people, and someone who you once trusted as a friend can end up betraying you once it becomes a business relationship. Always understand everything you’re agreeing to and get everything in writing.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Christmas Vacation
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Chevy Chase’s character in this movie, Clark Griswold, believes without a doubt that he’ll be receiving a holiday bonus at work. Before he even receives the money, he spends it all, only to find out at the end that he wasn’t receiving an annual bonus that year after all. To depend on money that may or may not come can create substantial financial hardships. While an annual bonus can certainly improve anyone’s financial situation, you don’t want to spend what you don’t have yet.

Step Brothers

Step Brothers
Plan for the future so you can be financially independent.

While it may just seem like a fun comedy on the surface, this movie also shows how remaining financially dependent can take its toll on the people you’re living with. The main characters in the film are still living with their parents as they turn 40, and as a result of the chaos and problems that this creates, their parents end up divorcing. Whether it’s a friend or a family member, you owe it to that person (and to yourself) to gain your own financial independence. You also can’t rely on someone else to always be there to support you financially, so it’s important to plan ahead for the future. This could mean going back to college and furthering your education, or saving more aggressively.


Even if your financial situation changes, stay true to yourself.

The animated Disney classic teaches kids and adults alike that striving to be successful is one thing, but that money isn’t everything. Aladdin believes in the beginning that all he needs is money to change his life and to win over Princess Jasmine. What he doesn’t see, though, is that his personality slowly began to change, and it affected his friendships with Abu and Genie and his relationship with Princess Jasmine in the process. If your financial situation changes for the better, that’s terrific—but don’t let it change who you are, and don’t forget that the people in your life are most important of all.

These are just a few examples of the dozens of movies that have had some powerful financial lessons. What was the biggest money lesson you’ve ever learned from a movie? We’d love to know!