Finance in Pop Culture – Lessons From Movies, TV Shows and Books
Pop culture has long promoted consumerism and materialism; however, it also serves as a powerful vehicle to teach financial literacy. From movies and TV shows to books with practical money lessons for anyone wanting to strengthen their finances.
Gordon Gekko’s influential “greed is good” speech has helped change many people’s outlook on investing. Meanwhile, Chris Gardner’s remarkable journey from poverty to wealth shows the benefits of delaying gratification.
How Finance Has Changed Over the Years
Pop culture’s portrayal of finance has evolved over time. Although still depicting consumerism and materialism, more emphasis has been put on financial literacy and wealth management.
Tinder Swindler and Wall Street provide excellent examples of stock manipulation, while teaching students about self-control and ethical decision-making is key for their future. This film series can also serve as an ideal way to help children navigate complex financial topics like investing.
Another excellent option is Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short. This movie chronicles the 2008 Financial Crisis through its causes, featuring Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and more as stars.
Billions is a fictional depiction of Bobby Axelrod as he gains power and wealth in high finance. Though the show depicts hedge fund managers fictionally, many storylines draw inspiration from real events. Additionally, Billions features Chuck Rhoades, an ambitious US attorney determined to bring Axelrod down.
The Representation of Financial Struggles and Triumphs
There’s no denying the best movies about money accurately capture the hardships financial professionals must deal with each and every day – from high-pressure sales tactics to meeting strict quotas – making American Psycho, The Smartest Guys in the Room and Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron all engaging films depicting this aspect of finance work.
More recently, movies like The Big Short have taken aim at Wall Street and placed blame for global economic collapse on its shoulders. Based on Michael Lewis’ 2010 book of the same name, it follows a group of savvy investors who made money betting against housing bubble before its collapse.
Other movies such as Barbarians at the Gate and Margin Call depict the hectic trading and scamming that occur during leveraged buyouts (LBOs). This type of fictional drama gives audiences an understanding of what it’s like working in such an intensely competitive environment.
The Promotion of Consumption and Materialism
Materialism has long been seen as an individual level construct characterized by acquisitiveness and possessiveness, often associated with status, luxury, and class pursuit. Little is known about how materialism interacts with consumption behaviors today when ownership has taken a lower priority place in favor of experiences and access.
Hip-hop artists have recently made it fashionable to explore money through songs that celebrate wealth or highlight envy or jealousy; these explorations challenge traditional narratives about money and materialism.
As is often the case, movies, TV shows and music tend to reflect society’s overall mood; upbeat songs and movies were particularly popular during good times; conversely, dark dramatic ones reigned supreme during times of financial crise. These findings illustrate a need for research that examines how materialism, consumption and marketplace interactions interact. We suggest future studies focus on understanding consumption behaviors such as strategic curation, experiential consumption and adoption of bricolages across spectrums of solid/liquid/budget luxury/access ownership reflect different forms of materialism.
The Importance of Financial Literacy
Financial literacy is important so individuals can adopt money management processes that enable them to meet their financial goals, while avoiding potentially risky schemes like chit funds, pyramid schemes and carding schemes.
Without financial literacy, people are more likely to accumulate unsustainable debt loads through poor spending decisions or failure to plan long term. This can lead to various complications including poor credit ratings, bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings.
Financial literacy topics such as saving and emergency planning help individuals plan for the unexpected. Losing one’s job or incurring a sizable unplanned expense are always devastating, but being financially educated can help mitigate some of their debilitating effects. Furthermore, having these skills allows individuals to create plans which set expectations and hold themselves accountable to their finances – potentially helping them accomplish goals that initially seemed unreachable.