Subscribe to Our Newsletter

We know you love savings. Sign up for more!

7 Must-Watch Movies With Great (if a Little Painful) Financial Lessons

Updated 28 Dec 2018 – By Nisya Aziz

Blogs, financial news channels, magazines - they’re good for delivering information, but aren’t always inspiring kan? If you need to have some motivation for your financial journey or perhaps something to enjoy over the weekend, we suggest you watch these 7 movies. They’ll provide a bit of insight into the wild and sometimes absurd world of finance. Don’t forget to watch them with popcorn or other snacks for a better viewing experience.

P/s: Got a bit of spoiler...

1. Rogue Trader

This film is an adaptation from the true story of Nick Leeson, a trader who was working with London's leading investment bank, Barings Bank. If you’re in this line for a loooooong time, then you should know of him. Anyway, this movie shows how Leeson managed to bring in the highest profit for the Barings Banks. But because it was done in a very unethical way, the bank went into bankruptcy and Leeson was imprisoned for 6 and a half years in Changi Prison, Singapore. 

What can you learn from this movie?

When it comes to business or anything financially related, there’s a thin line between being aggressive and being unethical. There’s no point for reckless trading and false accounting. You know that famous line, “clever clever squirrel jump, fall to the ground also”.


2. The Untouchables 

Released in 1987, this movie starring Robert De Niro will make you think twice about neglecting to file your income taxes. It’s about a mafia boss, Al Capone, that FBI tries to put behind bars for serious charges like murder and fraudulent business dealings. But despite the FBI's best efforts, it was the government that finally brought him down - not by gun-toting FBI agents, but by the simple charge of tax evasion. 

What can you learn from this movie?

Maybe you’re not a wanted criminal, but failing to file your income taxes can lead to bigger problems like a 300% tax penalty, additional fines and imprisonment. So, don’t forget to file your income tax to avoid penalties or an audit. Remember, you can always talk to LHDN if you need some extra time. 


3. Margin Call

Another investment related movie that’ll make your heart go “dup, dap, dup, dap” - even though you’re not entirely sure how investment like this works. Margin Call takes place over the span of 24 hours in the life of a Wall Street firm right on the brink of disaster. It takes place during the 2008 financial crisis caused by the subprime mortgage (it’s a type of loan granted to individuals with poor credit scores).

What can you learn from this?

In finance, a margin call (when the account value falls below the broker's required minimum value) is usually not good news for an investor. So, if you’re in the investment line, you’ll learn how hedge fund companies try to reduce the risk of their loss after they invest more than the existing money by utilising margin trading.


4. Wall Street

This movie shows how much Wall Street traders are willing to risk in order to keep up the appearance of success. Specifically, it’s about a young stockbroker who falls in love with the crazy rich asian lifestyle. However, his entry-level stockbroker job can't sustain his spending spree, and he's forced to use insider trading to help pay his bills. Things just get even more haywire after that.

What can you learn from this movie?

Don’t spend more than you earn. This is not a new mantra, but we tend to ignore because of the superficial gain. So, get your priorities straight and start managing those Ringgits well with a budget and mindful spending. Use spending tracker apps if you have too. And, if you have spending issues, talk to AKPK and get help ASAP


5. The Wolf of Wall Street

We’re pretty sure most Malaysians know this movie because of the infamous 1MDB scandal. That aside, this 3-hour long movie is based on the real-life events of Jordan Belfort (with some over-dramatic scenes), a charismatic and unscrupulous stockbroker who ends up in prison for securities fraud. It shows how he lured his clients into buying terrible stocks by promising them unrealistic profit margins and appealing to their greed. 

What can you learn from this movie? 

How many times in your life have you looked at an opportunity and thought “Wah, sure or not?”. Well, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Whether you're investing in stocks or making big money decisions, it’s advisable to turn to trusted experts and reliable sources for insights (especially when you’re not familiar with the industry) so you don't have to make money through manipulation or scandals. 

6. The Money Pit

We feel that everyone can somewhat relate to this movie. Although it’s a comedy, it has the perfect example of homebuyers making an emotional decision purchasing their dream home. A couple who purchased a subsale house because it was cheap didn’t realise how much work the home needed until it was too late. Being unprepared for all the house repairs needed left them a financial burden.

What can you learn from this movie?

If you're thinking about buying a new home or is a first-time homebuyer, make sure you do your homework about the property and the home buying process. Create a realistic budget to negotiate based on what you can truly afford. Don’t know how much you can afford? Check out this easy housing loan affordability calculator from Loanstreet.

7. Founder

If you love McD, then you have to watch this movie. It’s about how the McDonald's fast-food chain company started and then became a huge business empire we see today, thanks to Ray Kroc. He was initially just a less successful milkshake machine seller until he met the two McDonald's siblings. What's interesting about this story is how McDonald's exclusive right was bought by Ray Kroc from Richard and Maurice McDonald which caused the original owners to lose their rights and their restaurants.

What can you learn from this movie?

This is a great movie for all aspiring entrepreneurs. The number one lesson that we can from this movie is the importance of a legal agreement and this isn’t only for business. It could be when you’re planning to buy a house with a friend, renting a unit and so on. Remember that well-negotiated legal contracts can save you from unnecessary problems in the future.

Have you seen any of these and what one was your favourite? Do you know any other financial-related movies that give you inspiration? Share with us in the comments.
Continue reading...

Suggested Articles

RON 97 Increases Your Engine Performance. Truth or Myth?

Latest Petrol Price Update RON95, RON97 & Diesel in Malaysia

How To Renew Our Malaysian Passport Online

How To Renew Our Malaysian Passport Online

Saves up to RM300 Every Month With GrabUnlimited!

Saves up to RM300 Every Month With GrabUnlimited!