1. Wall Street
Greed is good, says Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, since it stimulates human growth. Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning 1987 film about a young stockbroker drawn into the world of corporate espionage still rings true 35 years later.
The film provides an overview of how financial markets operate and how investors can profit from controlled risks. It highlights the importance of demand and supply, how news (and insider information) drives up valuations, and the function of market regulators.
We discover how money never sleeps in a broad global market of multiple asset classes by participating in gold trade in Hong Kong.
On a deeper level, the pivotal story of excess in the 1980s challenges us to reconsider our relationship with money.
Is greed truly beneficial? Even at the expense of someone else? “A moral ambivalence that sees us not knowing whether we should wipe the grin off Gekko’s face or mirror it,” writes John Paul Rollert, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, about our uncertainty about whether Gekko should be a hero or a public enemy.
These questions remain pertinent at a time when global inequality is at an all-time high. According to the World Inequality Report released in December, the richest 10% of the worldwide population today gets 52% of global income, while the poorest half earns only 8% of the overall pie.
Rewind to 1986 to learn what happens when you fall for sob stories and neglect to do your homework.
Does this sound familiar? The Money Pit’s enduring relevance is demonstrated by stories of people who are unable to pay their obligations.
Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play a couple who are under duress and in a hurry to acquire a house. After making the purchase, they discover that the building is in worse condition than they anticipated and will necessitate a series of costly renovations for which they do not have the finances.
They learn not to believe slick salespeople and that buying a house does not end with the closing. They are ultimately victims of their own lack of financial planning.
Debt is still a serious issue in the Middle East. According to the 2021 Arab Youth Survey, 71% of the region’s youths are concerned about personal debt. As part of a nationwide relief campaign last November, 4,511 Emirati citizens had financial debts totaling more than Dh1.1 billion waived off.
Making purchases without a financial strategy to pay for them might lead to significant debt accumulation over time. Whether you have a home, a car, a vacation, or even fancy shoes on your credit card, make a list of all probable expenses — and any unexpected expenditures — ahead of time.
Then, find a source of funding and try to save a few more months’ payments before making the purchase.
The 2013 narrative of stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s rise and fall, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, resonated with millions of people around the world, grossing $392 million at the box office. The Wolf of Wall Street can be dissected for its teachings on poverty, ambition, ethics, and addictive behaviour, not to mention how the movie appears to praise Belfort’s evil decisions.
The role of uncontrolled financial advisers is possibly the most important financial issue running through Martin Scorsese’s film. We immediately observe how Belfort and his broker crew generate pump-and-dump rallies in tiny stocks by cold-calling potential investors.
Not only should you check their credentials — using sites like whichfinancialadvisor.com and asking about commissionable investments — but you should also conduct some research on investments ahead of time and learn how to spot their potential.
According to a February 2019 Insight Discovery survey, 37% of UAE citizens want regulators to crack down harder on unregulated businesses and scammers. Those looking to invest their money should do their own study (another great idea in the film) or invest in passively managed index funds. As the film emphasizes, if an investment appears too good to be true, it probably is.
Carl and Ellie in the 2009 animated film Up begin saving for a trip to their favorite vacation spot of Paradise Falls, but must frequently utilize their savings to cover more immediate necessities. Carl is eventually able to arrange the trip as a surprise for his wife, but she becomes ill and is admitted to the hospital, where she dies soon after.
The 3D fantasy comedy provides a touching look into human nature, but it also teaches a vital lesson about the motivators of personal financial planning. Money is a tool for getting what we want — but only if we know how to use it. Carl and Ellie are frequently dipping into their emergency fund since they do not segregate their money.
It’s a good idea to save aside money for medical emergencies, expenses during a job loss, unexpected trips, and family situations. Most banks now allow you to open new savings accounts online, and setting up monthly direct debits is usually a simple process within your banking app.
After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, 29 percent of respondents in a December 2021 survey conducted by online financial aggregator Policybazaar.ae stated that they now pay more attention to reducing discretionary spending and creating an emergency fund. The next stage is to establish and save for various goals, such as a dream vacation so that an emergency does not cause you to miss out.
Nobody likes reading the small print, but it is there for a reason. That message is reinforced by a series of events depicted in both the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the 2005 remake starring Johnny Depp.
The musical tale follows young Charlie Bucket and four other children who receive a golden ticket to visit a chocolate factory, where they learn about good and evil. Before youngsters — and any accompanying adults — can enter the factory, they must sign a liability disclaimer cloaked in legal jargon.
When the youngsters are hurt, factory owner Wonka shrugs his shoulders. He even tells Charlie that he is no longer eligible for his prize, a lifelong supply of chocolate because he violated the contract he signed at the beginning.
When we sign legal contracts in real life, whether for an app or a credit card, we are all Charlie. Many financial institutions’ fine print is typically the sole area where they clarify what they are accountable for, what incentives they receive, and what investment and management fees they charge.
For example, 10% cash back on every purchase on a credit card may sound appealing, but reading the fine print will reveal any restrictions on the maximum refund possible, writes Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching, in a column for The National.
A contract may provide that you would receive 10% or Dh25, whichever is less, which means you will receive Dh25 in cashback rather than Dh100 on a Dh1,000 transaction.
The fine print can often make it difficult to understand what you are truly signing up for. To avoid missing out on that lifetime supply of chocolate when it is too late, compile a list of questions and ask the institution’s representative before signing.