Money Lessons I Learned from Watching These Movies

Who doesn’t love a good movie, especially one that teaches us important life lessons. We often watch movies to escape from reality, but many movies can teach us some valuable money management lessons. Money management lessons from movies can range from warnings against spending you don’t have, to avoiding gambling, saving for a rainy day, and how to set up your family for financial success.

Sometimes, money lessons from movies aren’t actually intentional. Instead, movies about things other than making money might have a tidbit of information or character that provides an example of what not to do.

Here are seven great movies and the money lessons they’ve taught us about the good ol’ dollar.

Confessions of a Shopaholic 

This film is centered around a woman who lives in New York and is a true shopaholic. She owns around 12 credit cards and $16,000 worth of debt. She becomes a writer at Successful Saving a financial magazine where she starts giving advice to people and simply explains day-to-day finances while ignoring the very advice she dishes out.

Money Lessons: One of the main lessons learned from watching this movie is understanding my needs and wants. In understanding my needs and wants I am able to make less impulsive buying decisions. When you find yourself lured toward an item at the shopping mall, ask yourself just one question, “Do I really need this?”

Wall Street

In Wall Street, a young stockbroker falls in love with the flashy lifestyle of the rich and powerful. Fox spends money he doesn’t have on an overpriced apartment and expensive art just to keep up with the Joneses. This movie shows how much Wall Street traders might risk in order to keep up the appearance of success.

Money Lessons: Making an honest dollar will serve you well in the long run. Managing those dollars well with a budget and mindful spending learning to live within your means can prevent you from falling into the greed trap and even considering illegal activities to fund a lavish lifestyle.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Fix Your Money Mindset To Reach Your Financial Goals

The Untouchables

The Untouchables starring Robert De Niro might just make you think twice about neglecting to file your income taxes. In this film about mob boss Al Capone, the FBI tries everything they can think of to put Al Capone behind bars. Despite the FBI’s efforts to put Capone away on serious charges, the government ultimately catches Capone on the simple charge of tax evasion.

Money Lesson: Failing to file your income taxes can lead to a determination of tax evasion by the IRS whether it was intentional or not and will eventually hurt your credit. You may also face fines, serve prison time and end up with a criminal record.

The Social Network 

 Mark Zuckerberg is portrayed in the movie The Social Network. In the movie, he lost a significant amount of money due to legal fights with brothers who accused him of stealing their idea. There was no written agreement between the brothers that could establish issues like intellectual property ownership according to the evidence.

Money Lesson: The movie emphasizes the significance of learning about the legal aspects of owning a business. If you have a great entrepreneurial idea, make sure you take steps to safeguard intellectual property with the right legal contracts and documentation. 

The Wolf of Wall Street 

The Wolf of Wall Street follows the adventures of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who can sell anything to anyone. Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, learns earlyree in his career that it doesn’t matter whether his clients make money. Belfort lures his clients into buying terrible stocks by promising them unrealistic profit margins and appealing to their greed. While his clients lose millions, Belfort becomes one of the richest men on Wall Street.

Money Lesson: Instant gratification undermine your ability to make sound financial decisions. Whether you’re investing in stocks or making big money decisions, turn to trusted experts and sources for insight. If your financial advisor is paid by commission, think about how that may affect his or her investing recommendations.

The Money Pit

The Money Pit is the perfect example of homebuyers making an emotional decision versus a more rational one. The stars, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long rush into purchasing their dream home because they are enamored by the seller. In truth, they should have done more research about the property. 

Money Lesson: If you’re thinking about buying a new home or are a first-time homebuyer, make sure you do your homework about the property and the home buying process. Create a realistic budget to negotiate based on what you can truly afford.

The Great Gatsby

The central character in The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, is a millionaire in his early twenties. His life was beautiful and full of splendor until the Wall Street crash of 1929. “The truth is I’m penniless,” Gatsby had earlier admitted to Daisy through a letter, and her rejection of him inspired the protagonist to win both money and the lady he adored.

Money Lesson: It’s better to save money and build an emergency fund when life is good. Disasters can strike anytime, and you should be prepared for them financially. When you are penniless, even the love of your life can leave you alone.


The above list is only a few of the many films you can find some money management lessons. Movies and TV shows have several valuable lessons to teach us if we are only willing to look for them. Several movies on the big have lessons on financial lessons which are as relevant today as they were when the movies initially hit screens.

If we missed some of your own favorite money-themed movies, share them in the comments below!