5 Money Lessons from Summer 2011 Movies

This summer’s movies did a lot more than entertain us. They also provided us with essential financial lessons and wisdom, whether we consciously noticed or not. Take a look at some of the great lessons that were embedded into some of this summer’s blockbusters:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

In the last installment of the Harry Potter films, Harry and friends break into the wizarding bank called Gringotts, which is run by goblins. They do this with the help of an “inside man,” who ultimately ends up foiling the plan and almost ends up aiding in the young wizards’ downfall.

The lesson?

Always have an escape plan for assets, and understand exactly how that plan works.

That’s “part of being an informed investor and being able to understand the pluses and minuses of various investments,” says Peggy Cabaniss, CFP, president of HC Financial Advisors in Lafayette, Calif., and past chair of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

While some investments can yield larger rewards, they tend to be less liquid, which means you can’t always get to that cash when you need it, she says. Her advice is to keep a rainy day fund that you can get to quickly.

“You need some of your money invested for long-term growth, but you also need liquidity,” Cabaniss says.


The plot of this hysterical comedy involved a group of bridemaids with very different monetary resources.

The lesson?

Whether you have piles of the green stuff or you must stretch every dollar, it pays to be honest with your friends — and sensitive to their situations.

It makes zero sense breaking your budget to keep up with more affluent friends. Or requiring those not as financially advantaged to either spend, or spend time alone.

“You can maintain your friendships, you can not embarrass anyone, and you can be thoughtful,” says Karen Altfest, CFP, principal adviser and executive vice president of client relations for Altfest Personal Wealth Management, a fee-only financial planning firm based in New York.

Find more lessons from this summer’s top hits over at The Dollar Stretcher’s Money Lessons from 5 Summer Movies.