Not gonna lie.
As a kid, I was deathly afraid of Freddy Kruger. I wasn’t a big fan of horror flics then and I’m not a fan of them now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t come across some real scary $hit every now and then.
If understanding money better is on your to-do list and the thought of reading a book about personal finance sounds like a miserable experience, then below are a few films and TV shows I would recommend to improve your financial IQ and hopefully change the way you think about money. Some are entertaining, others are more educational; but some are flat out scary. Enjoy!
Inside Job (2010)– narrated by Matt Damon, this documentary is the ultimate crash course in what happened during the 2008 financial crisis. The scary part is so much of what happened then, is repeating itself today.
American Greed (multiple seasons)– This CNBC television series is a tutorial on what to look for in swindlers. From pyramid schemes, to shady non-profit fundraisers, to sleazy real estate investors it’s helpful to train your BS detector by learning about some of the best white collar criminals and how they did it.
Through Amazon Prime you get access to Amazon Video which is essentially their library of television shows, movies, and original content. But what I really like about Amazon Video is their support of smaller, independent filmmakers and really really niche content. In addition to big name content, there are several crash courses in finance and investing for those of you that are visual learners
PBS Frontline: The Retirement Gamble (2013) – a preview of the pending retirement crisis, this documentary is a revealing look at how hidden fees in investment accounts are slowly and steadily eroding value of the everyday investor. If you’ve been investing on auto-pilot without really knowing what you’re doing, this is a must-see.
Minimalism (2016)– a fantastic documentary based on the book of the same title, this film explores the value of living a simpler life by eliminating excess and focusing on the things that really matter.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, DVD only)– The excess and mania of Wall Street is captured perfectly as Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a former stock broker known for hustling millions of dollars from his clients in the 80s. More importantly, it’s a showcase of just how different the lives of the mega-rich are.
The Big Short (2015) – One of my absolute faves, this film walks you through precisely what happened leading up to the 2008 recession through the lens of a few characters who actually saw the collapse coming.
Lastly, while you could use many of the services I mentioned above on your laptops, phones or tablets, it’s way better on screen in the comfort of your home which requires you to have a streaming device. There are more options today than ever before but know that we’re big fans of “cutting the cord” and have gone without cable for over 5 years with no regrets. There’s no better way to easily shave $50 – $100+ a month from your budget than to get rid of it and to stream all of your content. Not to mention, you can put that savings towards things that add greater value to your life. The benefits include:
- No or limited commercials
- More free time to do other things since you can watch TV on your terms
- Watching what you want to watch…when you want to watch it
- No clunky box sitting on your dresser and no lease fees to your cable company
If you’re interested in joining team #cordcutters, you have a few options listed here.