Netflix can be addictive. And, more often than not, “one more episode” turns into an entire weekend of watching Stranger Things from start to finish. The good news: many Netflix shows offer pearls of wisdom that can be applied to your everyday life. Here are 5 money lessons I learned from my favorite Netflix shows:
House of Cards
Netflix tested the waters with its first-ever original show in 2013 and it was a hit. However, if you’ve seen the series, then you might wonder what positive money lesson can be gleaned from this political drama about greed, deception and vengeance. Well, Frank Underwood (portrayed by Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey) said it best with this famous quote: “Money is the big mansion in Saratoga that starts falling apart after 10 years; power is that old stone building that stands for centuries.”
Money lesson: Money isn’t everything. While Frank Underwood’s methods are ruthless, manipulative and often scary, he raises a good point. Sometimes we get so caught up in the pursuit of wealth that we lose sight of what’s really important in life. Our relationship with money can also lead to undue stress and even poor financial decision making. Use Underwood’s message to evaluate your money values in order to lead a happier life.
I love this Marvel show about a former convict with superhuman strength and bulletproof skin who now fights crime in the streets of Harlem. Although the plot centers around corruption, greed and the pursuit of power, you can’t ignore Luke Cage’s humble work ethic – particularly at the beginning of the series. Before tapping into his superhero potential as a vigilante, Cage is a floor-sweeper by day and a dishwasher by night.
Money lesson: Hustle hard. You might be surprised to learn that you can absolutely find a few extra hours each week to take on a side hustle or two. You can use this side income to tackle your student debt or start saving up to move out of your parents’ home. There are so many different side hustles you could consider like starting a coaching business, selling your crafts, or driving for Uber or Lyft.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Kimmy Schmidt has been rescued from a bunker where she spent 15 years living with a cult leader. She must now adapt to big city life in the 21st century with limited resources and not a lot of street smarts. Unfortunately, the ever-optimistic, brightly clad Kimmy learns her money lessons the hard way throughout the series. For example, Kimmy’s entire net worth of $13,000 is stolen in the first episode. In addition, her wealthy boss also happens to be reckless with money.
Money lesson: Financial literacy is power. This rings true regardless of your income level. It’s time to start beefing up your financial knowledge and figure out a plan for your finances. One of the best ways to take control of your money is to start automating your savings. With a Chime bank account you can automatically direct 10% of every paycheck into your savings account. Putting your savings on autopilot removes the guesswork and gives you peace of mind when it comes to your finances.
Reboots are all the rave these days and Fuller House is one of the most popular. Sure, it isn’t necessarily Emmy-worthy, but it brings back those feel-good family values you grew up with – in a uniquely corny way. Fuller House catches up with the Tanners decades later, when DJ moves back home to raise her 3 boys following the death of her husband. The eldest Tanner enlists the help of her sister Stephanie as well as BFF Kimmy Gibbler. Unlike Kimmy who’s a mom herself with a semi-successful party planning business, Stephanie is forced to give up her partying ways in season 1. She’s in for a bit of a shock as she must now adjust to waking up before noon and being a responsible aunt to her nephews.
Money lesson: It’s time to start adulting (even if you just graduated college). According to U.S. News & World Report, the average 2016 college graduate has over $37,000 in student debt, which is a huge burden. However, by scaling back on the YOLO opportunities, living within your means and making other sound decisions, you’ll set yourself up for long-term success.
As I hinted earlier, I watched the entire season of Stranger Things in a single weekend and I have no regrets. The show’s creators could not have come up with a better title for this one because it’s the perfect blend of suspense, horror and unexplainable events. At the same time, there are life lessons to be learned about loyalty, sticking to your guts and bravery. Apart from these, there is big a money lesson which popped up every time Winona Ryder’s character destroyed her home while seeking answers. During these episodes, I kept thinking to myself, “I hope she has money to repair her walls!”
Money lesson: Having a rainy day fund is everything. You never know when life is going to throw something strange at you such as car trouble, a sudden layoff or a medical expense. That’s why it’s always best to prepare for the unexpected by building up your emergency fund. According to money experts, you should set aside about 3-6 months of living expenses, keep the money in an easily accessible account and only withdraw it if absolutely necessary.
Although finding the money meaning in Netflix shows may seem like, well, a stranger thing, there are hidden lessons to be learned here. So, the next time you curl up to enjoy a weekend of binge-watching your favorite Netflix show, remember to look out for the lessons you could learn about handling your money.