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Top Ten Movies with a Financial Lesson: 8-10

May 18, 2011 7:25 AM ET
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With the upcoming summer blockbusters coming out it got me thinking about movies with some kind of financial lesson.  The financial side of making films has always intrigued me.  This year’s Oscars were yet again proof that the biggest budget doesn’t always give the best ROI.  In 2010, the lowest grossing Oscar winning film in history – The Hurt Locker – beat out the highest grossing picture in history – Avatar.

Here’s my list of the top 10 movies ever made that have a financial lesson inside of them:

10.  Brewster’s Millions (1985) – The ultimate spending spree is something that most of us have daydreamt about at some time.  A minor league baseball player, Montgomery Brewster, (Richard Pryor) has to waste $30m in 30s days in order to inherit $300m; however, he’s not allowed to tell anyone about the $300m deal.

Lesson:  How corruptible too much money can be and how difficult it can be to use it responsibly.

9.  Confessions Of A Shopaholic (2009) – About a chic who’s struggling with a debilitating obsession with shopping and has 12 maxed out credit cards.  She unintentionally lands a job as a financial journalist and falls for a wealthy entrepreneur. Don’t buy a $400 watch because it quickly depreciates to nothing.  I will buy a $4,000 Rolex – nothing less than a Rolex — because it can still be sold 10 yrs after you buy it for what you paid for it.  You use credit to buy things of value:  an education, a car to get you to work, (I prefer to buy 2-yr old used cars because it loses half its value up front when you drive it off the lot, but you can still get 50-60,000 miles out of it.)

Lesson:  Only use credit for things that have value.  Pay cash for everything else.

8.  Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House (1948) – Was remade into The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks & Shelly Long.  Owning a home ain’t cheap.  It can turn into a massively expensive ordeal.  Home is really a money pit.  Owning a home comes w/ a lot of responsibility, gotta have credit, gotta have a down payment, pay your bills, maintain the home, gotta know the risks up front.  It’s expensive.  You gotta know the worse case scenarios, all the risks, the downside.

Lesson:  Shows how the American dream of owning a home can go terribly wrong.  Home ownership is not for everybody and shouldn’t be promoted as such by the government.

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