Fiction has introduced us to some of the richest characters of all time. Have you ever stopped to think about all the money lessons we’ve learned from them? From outrageous to sensible, these wealthy characters have some strong opinions!
**Caution: Spoilers ahead
This old sport is known for spending, spending, spending! Gatsby believed money could change anything. He acquired his wealth in an unconfirmed but likely nefarious fashion in order to get a girlfriend. He hosted lavish and expensive parties to get her attention and prove he was part of the elite class. Unfortunately for Gatz, money doesn’t buy love or happiness. Fortunately for the reader, we have a great cautionary tale for how NOT to manage our finances.
Who says money isn’t a superpower? Batman taught us that money can buy you some pretty awesome crime-fighting gadgets and that you don’t need to have superhuman strength to keep the streets safe (you just need a lot of money). According to Bruce, if you have the money, you should use it for good. More than just using money for good, Batman also teaches us the importance of selfless acts done without the need for recognition. Batman’s anonymity is partially (okay, probably mostly) for the safety of Bruce Wayne, however, something can also be said for the power of selfless and generous deeds.
A Lannister always pays his debts – and collects his debts with lots of interest. A Lannister also destroys the entire house of those who refuse to repay their debts to him (cue The Rains of Castamere). Tywin Lannister is arguably one of the most money-wise characters in history. He spends and lends strategically… but in the end, Tywin died on the privy in a less-than golden way.
Hoard your money. Hoard. All. Of. It. Smaug happily lived on a mountain of gold for EONS before he was driven out by dwarves and gunned down – seems like a pretty good life, on balance at least!
If you didn’t get the point from Jay Gatsby, take it from the Malfoys; money can’t buy happiness. Lucius Malfoy is one of the richest characters in the Harry Potter universe. His family is so wealthy that they do not need to work. Lucius used his money, power, and status to influence the Ministry for Voldemort and otherwise support Voldemort’s evil plans. However, by the end of the series, Lucius is arguably one of the most miserable characters. He is essentially imprisoned in his own mansion, stripped of his wand, and therefore, stripped of his access to magic. Yes, Lucius dug his own grave – or probably paid someone to dig it for him – but he did teach us that no matter how much money you have, if you spend it on perverse and prejudiced ploys, it won’t work and it will make you sad (just in case we were getting any wicked ideas).
Do you believe in karma? Forrest Gump proved to us that being a good (and lucky) person is all you need for financial success. Forrest’s financial success begins by fulfilling his promise to his best friend Bubba when he buys a shrimping boat – a boat that becomes the only surviving ship of Hurricane Carmen. With no competition, Forrest becomes a hugely successful shrimper and buys more shrimp boats. His partner Captain Dan (whose life Forrest saved) invests in Apple Computers, making them millionaires. Forrest gives half the money to Bubba’s family. So, be a good friend, keep your promises, and bask in the wealth of good karma.
Learn more money lessons from fiction by reading about some of our favourite fictional currencies!
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