Hollywood's Financial Literacy Lessons for Women
Films with financial lessons you can take to the bank
Watching films can be a pastime usually considered pure fun or even escapism. The advent of streaming and internet platforms like Netflix and Hulu provide even more films to watch. Netflix has more than 40 million subscribers in the U.S. alone, and although Hulu’s numbers are small by comparison, (9 million) their growth rate is impressive.
Some films are more pertinent than others, especially when it comes to learning life lessons. Learning from other people’s mistakes, even if they are fictional characters, could be beneficial for your future.
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is a good example. One of the stars, Judi Dench, plays a recently widowed woman whose husband had taken care of her for her entire adult life. She deferred to him on all financial matters and trusted him implicitly.
Unfortunately, her husband had run up debts, and she was completely in the dark about their finances. When her son informs her that she has to sell her apartment and move in with him, she is shocked. Once again she is thrust into a position of a male telling her what to do and that she will have no say in either her day-to-day finances or her future.
According to a recent study, this situation is not at all uncommon. Eight in ten women avoid financial conversations because they are “too personal” or “uncomfortable.” Women are more likely to talk with their significant others about health issues (78%) and sex (74%) than salary (66%) or investment ideas (65%).
Sometimes “taking care” of someone can either backfire or put the very person who was supposed to be cared for in a precarious position. Dench’s character in the film decides to take control of her own financial future and moves to India, where she hopes her meager retirement money will go further. She finds that even in India, she has to take a job to support herself after not working for the better part of 40 years.
As a woman, trusting your partner is one thing, but it’s wise to take an active role in your finances. Becoming financially literate or being financially educated is not just a good idea, it’s essential.
Expect the best, plan for the worst
Perhaps you may have heard this before. Making sure you are aware of all your investments and retirement options is something all women should do. Have an open and honest talk with your spouse. Cover all angles and possibilities, so that in the unlikely event you are left alone after being married for many years, you can take charge of your finances and your future. Make sure that you are safe and secure and do not have to move to India and get a job teaching English in a call center.
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