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10 Thoughts About Money From Favorite TV and Movie Dads

For better or for worse, many of our attitudes about money come from our parents. And no matter their financial situation, profession, age, or number of kids, dads around the world have managed to spout the same cliché “dad-isms” about money to their families:

  • “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
  • “Do you think I’m made of money?”
  • “The barcode isn’t scanning? I think that means it’s free!”
  • “You get what you pay for.”
  • “Dad, I’m broke.” “Hi Broke, I’m Dad!”

Of course, the luckiest of us have gotten some real pearls of financial wisdom passed down from our fathers … and maybe the rest of us have gotten a real-life example of what not to do that we carry with us throughout our lives.
In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve rounded up 10 thoughts about money from some of our favorite TV and movie dads, and extrapolated ways that you can apply those thoughts to your own life.  

“There’s always money in the banana stand.” – George Bluth, Sr., Arrested Development

In this instance, George Bluth Sr.’s son and grandson assumed he meant there was always money to be made from their family’s frozen banana stand. But really, he meant that he had lined the walls of the wooden stand with $250,000 cash. Apply this to your own financial life by making no assumptions – about your own financial standings, the contracts you’re entering into, or the true financial circumstances of anyone other than yourself.  

“I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell 12 hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don’t need. So I am removing the superfluous buns.” – George Banks, Father of the Bride 

Okay, so this father of the bride was a little stressed out … and ended up getting arrested … but the principle still stands: get creative with your purchases. If you can rent, borrow, trade or buy something used rather than buying it new, you could save a lot of money and still end up with exactly what you need.  

“Buy land, A.J., ’cause God ain’t making any more of it.” – Tony Soprano, The Sopranos

There are definite perks to renting, but if you can purchase property and hang onto it for a long time? It could end up being one of the most financially sound decisions you ever make.

“Winter is coming. In the winter, we must protect ourselves, look after one another.” – Ned Stark, Game of Thrones

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Protect your children and family by purchasing life insurance. We really believe in that one around here.

“Don’t you remember? We said we were going to be creative this year and make gifts instead of spending a lot of money Christmas shopping.” – Elyse Keaton

“Well I know we said it, I just didn’t know we meant it.” – Steven Keaton, Family Ties

To borrow from another dad-ism, you can’t take it with you. Once you’re comfortable paying for your basic needs, some of the best purchases you can make are for other people. Your children want your time and support, not your money … but if you come across a gift that would really make them smile, don’t be afraid to buy it.

“Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves every day to count our blessings.” – Christopher Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

The real richness of your life isn’t measured by the size of your bank account, but by your attitude and relationships.

“What’d you say just a minute ago…? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them?” – George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

Saving is important, but so is living. Fund your retirement accounts, but don’t be afraid to spend some money now – especially on experiences and comfort for your family.

“No! No way! Lending money to Robert is the stupidest thing I ever heard.” – Frank Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond

There’s no shame in needing a helping hand from time to time. But if someone comes to you needing money, only part with what you can afford to lose. If you want to preserve the relationship, it’s smart to consider any money given to a friend or family member a gift and not expect it back.  

“Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” – Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

Make smart spending and saving decisions, but don’t be afraid to dream.

“I’d like to impart some words that I’ve always lived by … mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.” – ‘Uncle’ Phil Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Let’s be honest … money can’t buy happiness. But it can certainly make life easier.
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