7.18.2012

Simple Financial Lessons - Breaking Bad Style

I just watched the Season 5 premiere of one of my most favorite shows, ever, Breaking Bad. From what I garner on twitter, many of us are fans of this amazing show (and trust me, I watch(ed) a ton of shows). I first discovered this show through Netflix, and thought that I would just watch the first episode. I found that I couldn't stop pressing "next episode" until I bought and completed the 4th season.

This show teaches us so many lessons about life, planning ahead and planning for the future, as well as covering ourselves in all situations but being smart and thoughtful about our next moves with the unplanned cards we are dealt in life. It's a well-executed, suspenseful, exciting, and surprisingly heart-wrenching show that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

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Without spoiling the show too much for those who haven't seen it (and if you haven't, you need to sign up for a free one-month trial of Netflix to watch it...I promise you'll finish it within a month), I thought I could at least share some awesome financial lessons Breaking Bad teaches us. I'm going to try to keep it vague but there will be some hints as to what happens in this show. If you hate spoilers of any kind, feel free to skip this post.

Disclaimer: None of this relates directly to science teachers, cooking/selling meth, drug wars, money laundering or crooked lawyers but these are great financial lessons nonetheless. :)

1. Account for all expenses in every single type of situation
I love how Walt covers all of his bases when he plans out his next move. He includes his family and their future as well as his before he calculates how much he needs. I loved when he did the math in his head to account for the new baby, college, retirement, medical expenses, inflation, and all those other expenses when he was planning on how much meth he needed to sell.

2. Money isn't everything
We have seen Walt and Jesse end up with so much money they didn't know what to do with, and even during these times, they were unhappy. Money is certainly not the #1 factor in Walt's life, as he puts his family first.

3. Emergencies can happen at any time so be prepared
Walt started off selling meth when he found out he couldn't pay his medical bills, and that's how he got himself in this position. I'm sure no one can predict when a major life event would happen and we all have other things to save for, but it's always good to have an emergency fund.

4. Get health insurance
I just paid for my crown and it was $460. That was after my insurance covered 60% of it. I can't imagine paying for medical bills without insurance. No wonder Walt does the things he does.

5. Every lie comes with a price
Every single white lie that Walt came up with led to another, even larger lie that created more financial turmoil for him. He ended up involving his wife, son, brother-in-law and sister-in-law in his financial mess.

6. Include your wife/husband in your financial decisions
When Walt or Skylar lied to the other about a financial decision, the other would always find out and they would get into an argument. Just keep your spouse involved and you can make these decisions together.

7. Stay frugal even when you're rich
There's no need to buy expensive things just because you own a business and you are rolling in dough. Walt didn't feel the need to drive a fancy car or change his clothes just because he had money.

8. Be the most valuable at your job
Jesse is one of my favorite characters because of his loyalty to Walt, but he also mastered his job, as did Walt. They were both irreplaceable and thus, this kept them both successful. Skylar and Hank are also prime examples of being the best at their jobs, even though they weren't in super high positions or anything - Skylar as a bookkeeper and Hank as a DEA officer.


What financial lessons or regular life lessons have you learned from Breaking Bad? I freaking love this show!

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