Financial Lessons You Can Learn from 3 Romantic Comedy Movies

By Chonce Maddox

Seen any good romantic comedy movies lately? 

Rom-com movies are known for their hilarious scenes and sometimes corny attributes. But did you know that some romantic comedies allow you to walk away with a lesson or a conversation topic that can be explored further?

Yes, movies can teach us something. And, when it comes to your finances, sometimes the best way to grasp a particular concept is by seeing it play out in action.

Take a look at how these rom-coms can teach you financial lessons.

1. Crazy Rich Asians

 

Crazy Rich Asians hit theaters in 2018 after the popular book series. The plot follows the main character Rachel (played by Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore to meet the family of her ‘crazy rich’ boyfriend Nick (played by Henry Golding).

Rachel is a professor of economics living a pretty average life. She has no idea that her boyfriend’s family is rich as he does a good job of not flaunting his wealth around her. 

Her first taste of what’s to come occurs when they board the plane to Singapore and head to their private suite…on the plane. Nick soon tells Rachel that he is heir to a massive fortune due to the success of his family’s business in Asia. 

Here are just a few financial takeaways from the movie:

  • Wealth is often glamorized – Many people have an idea in their head of what wealth looks like and this movie definitely delivers on these fantasies. However, it’s important to note that not all wealthy people flaunt their riches. And, while you may not be able to buy six-figure jewelry on a whim, there are some basic steps to take in order to build wealth and live comfortably.
  • Money is not everything – I love the scene in the movie where they visit Nick’s grandmother and the family makes homemade dumplings from scratch. While money is important, it can’t replace those intimate and priceless family moments. 
  • You shouldn’t judge people based on financial assumptions – I’m not a big fan of making judgments or assumptions about how others spend their money and amass wealth. In Crazy Rich Asians, we see this happen in a flashback when Nick’s mom visits a hotel in London and can’t get the staff to treat her with respect. As it turns out, she owns the hotel and once the manager reveals this, the employees are embarrassed. 
  • Leave a legacy – Nick’s family had money but they worked hard for it and his parents made sure they could leave a sizable inheritance for their kids. This is inspiring and shows that hard work and determination pays off.

2. Girl’s Trip

 

Girl’s Trip is a 2017 comedy film that follows four friends as they meet up in New Orleans for the Essence Festival after falling out of touch for years. The ‘Flosse Posse’ (as they called themselves in college) go on adventures while romance and a breakup ensues.  

For example, while the movie is centered around friendship, a major breakup shakes up the plot while a new romance with an old friend steals the hearts of many viewers.

Here are a few financial takeaways from the movie:

  • Money can’t buy love – We all know this, but it’s nice to see it play out on the big screen. It’s clear that the main character Ryan (played by Regina Hall) is successful and pushes her brand – claiming women can have it all. However, her marriage is a sham. She treats marriage like a business deal and it backfires big time. Ryan’s old friend Julian (played by Larenz Tate) isn’t rich and doesn’t have a successful business, but their connection is still strong and refreshing to see. While watching the movie, fans silently hope that Ryan will realize that money doesn’t equate to a happy marriage. It certainly can’t buy the connection that she and Julian have.
  • Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses – Sasha (played by Queen Latifa) is the friend in this movie who is having the most financial troubles. She runs a gossip blog and relies on insider details for trending stories to pay the bills. Needless to say, it isn’t going too well. Her home is littered with past due notices and she’s in danger of losing her home. Despite this, she hides her financial struggles from her friends. She continues to spend money and buy clothes, keeping the tags on so she can return them later. The takeaway: While there can be shame surrounding financial problems and debt, keeping up with others is never a good idea. Instead, find a solid support system as you work to improve your money situation.

3. Confessions of a Shopaholic

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a 2009 romantic comedy with an interesting personal finance twist. The main character, Rebecca (played by Isla Fisher), works at a savings magazine and ends up falling for a journalist there. The most ironic aspect of the storyline is that she landed her job after hitting rock bottom and maxing out 12 credit cards. 

While she writes a column with great savings tips, her financial situation at home is a mess. Rebecca finds herself at an all-time financial low as she is unable to control her spending. She is even being chased down by an aggressive debt collector. If only she could follow her own financial advice, right? 

This lighthearted romantic comedy is packed with plenty of relatable money lessons.

Here are a few financial takeaways from this movie:

  • Overspending consistently can have a negative effect on your life – While money doesn’t always make you happy, it can make you feel stable and secure. In the movie, Rebecca consistently spent money she didn’t have. An important tip learned here: To avoid added financial stress, make sure you stick to a realistic budget and prioritize saving money each month. One of the easiest ways to save is to set up an automatic transfer to occur as soon as you get paid each month. 
  • Learning how to save and invest doesn’t have to be complicated – There’s a great scene in the movie where Rebecca describes investing by relating it to how women purchase different pairs of shoes. I like how she simplified the role of investing and saving money by making the topic more relatable. The takeaway: Some financial topics may seem challenging to grasp on the surface, but it’s all about breaking things down. After all, personal finance is personal.
  • You can dig yourself out of debt – Without spoiling too much of the movie, it’s always inspirational to see someone work themselves out of debt. When Rebecca gets herself into thousands of dollars of credit card debt, she feels hopeless and regrets her decisions. So it’s good to remember that getting out of debt takes hard work and a solid budget. At the end of the day, the fact that you can work your way out of debt makes a savings plan worth it.

Lessons Learned from Romantic Comedies

As you can see, there are financial lessons to be learned from romantic comedy movies.

So, next time you’re relaxing and watching a funny movie, try to see if you can find some of the financial topics that come up. This can teach you some important money lessons, and make for great conversations as well! 

Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, personal finance freelance writer, and blogger who focuses on helping other manage their money better in order to live a life with more possibilities and fewer limitations. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, LendingTree, Credit Sesame, Barclaycard.

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