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Financial Planning

What do Guru, Titanic and The Wolf of Wall Street teach us about money?

04 April 2016
The visual medium has the power to both send across a strong message and thoroughly entertain. Even if you don’t realise it at first, there are important life lessons being imparted, many of which can help make our lives better.
 

To help you make smarter financial decisions this year, here is a short compilation of some of the most important financial and money lessons we have learned from movies, both onshore (Bollywood) and offshore (Hollywood):

  • No matter how secure the investment, always have sufficient lifeboats

Movie: Titanic

The epic romantic movie based on the sinking of the RMS Titanic won 11 Oscars and was easily the most watched movie of the era.

The movie highlights how a miniscule iceberg devastated one of the world’s most secure and robust ships.It also brought to light how the disaster could have been mitigated had there been enough lifeboats onboard. Investments are like the titanic, no matter how safe an investment, always have more than one option (lifeboats). There isa huge plethora of investment options out there and it is essential your portfolio is balanced and spread across different financial products.

If you have trouble identifying avenues for investment, here is a guide that can help you: Investment options- thinking beyond the obvious

  • Always do a thorough background check before investing

Movie: Phir Hera Pheri

The sequel to the super successful ‘Hera Pheri’ might not have met the expectations of most, but it had an important lesson to impart. Raju (Akshay Kumar) is enticed by Anuradha (Bipasha Basu) to cough up Rs. 1 crore as part of an investment scheme, with the promise that it will double within a week. However, this turns out to be a classic case of fraud.

There are innumerable Ponzi schemes out there, enticing you with too-good-to-be-true returns and benefits. Before investing in any such fraudulent or risky investment options, always ensure to do a thorough background check of the bank and the parties involved. Read all the offer documents carefully and consider consulting an insurance broker before finalizing the investment. When speaking to insurance agents (and yes there is a difference), make sure you keep an eye out for these 5 signs your agent is lying to you.

  • Think long-term

Movie: Wolf of Wall Street, Catch Me If You Can

There are no shortcuts to life, and both these DiCaprio blockbusters show the lives of people who grab onto short-term temptations, ignoring the long-term consequences of their actions. While ‘Catch Me If You Can’ talks about a conman who later goes on to help the FBI to find fraudsters like him, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ talks about the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, a cunning Wall Street stockbroker.

Although the main moral of both movies is ‘cheating catches up with you’, it also tells us of how one should think long term to avoid getting into financial troubles. Investment schemes are of two types; those with short-term returns or those with long-term benefits. While one can have some investments for short-term gains, always have the most important of your policies and coverages that cover you long-term. Go with the 70-30 rule, 30% of your savings for short-term and a minimum of 70% for long-term. Make the best of both worlds!

If this advice is coming a little late and you had a rough year financially speaking, here’s our guide to bouncing back in 2016.

  • If you want something, do not hesitate to ask for it

Movie: Guru

The Bollywood drama film, based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani tells a rags-to-riches story of Gurukant Desai (Abhishek Bachchan), a small villager who dreams big and finds success as a cloth trader and businessman in Mumbai. It highlights the problems he faced on his journey to success, one situation being of Farzan Contractor, an established entrepreneur dismissing his plea for getting a license to work. Instead of giving up, Guru speaks against the injustice, rakes up the issue with an established newspaper and finally gets what he wants.

The same is true in financial matters. While most agents and brokers will give you sufficient information to clear your doubts, do not feel shy of asking questions or making your expectations explicitly clear. This ensures that you get exactly what you want!

Furthermore, do not be afraid of expressing your discomfort when someone advises you to take a particular route, financially. For instance, if you have taken an insurance policy but are unhappy with it, you have many options and every right to avail them.

To sum up, though money is not everything in life, it is an important asset and one should be very careful when making financial decisions, because no matter how miniscule they might seem, they can have serious repercussions. After all, as quoted in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything.”

Related:Tough financial situations we face in our 20s- and how to overcome them [Infographic]

 
 
 
 

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