I feel bad. I’ve been hogging all the Mead notebooks for myself. Finally, after one and a half years, I opened up the ole spiral-bound for a guest post from Tom at FIREd Up Millennial. And he sent a sweet sketch along with it!
Tom has some great stuff to say about Star Wars and your money (Star Wars always gets me pumped). I don’t want to give anything away, but, just sayin’, a little H&R Block could have helped the Republic avoid all that Clone Wars business. Enjoy!
3 Financial Lessons You Can Learn from Star Wars
When you think about Star Wars, the last thing that you may consider is how it can impart great financial advice. It’s full of action, adventure, and perhaps some sage life lessons from Yoda – but financial tips probably never entered your mind when watching any of the eight films.
Yet, there are actually some great tidbits buried in the movies — ones that you don’t even have to watch too closely to find. So, whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, read on to learn how The Force can help you stay on firm financial footing.
In the original Star Wars movie, Han Solo owed Jabba the Hutt quite a bit of money. Jabba the Hutt put a price on his head because of this debt, which is ultimately what led to Solo being captured and frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back. The lesson? Debt is not a good thing to keep around, and it can cause serious problems…like being frozen in carbonite.
Of course, in real life, you won’t be frozen in carbonite or subject to other tortures by going into debt. However, debt can still cause a substantial amount of stress and anxiety, and it can ruin your financial outlook if it isn’t managed correctly – especially if you have high interest debt, such as credit cards.
Having too much debt can make it difficult to handle your daily life and finances. Additionally, it can lead to greater challenges down the road. If you are struggling with debt, you do have options.
Many people find it helpful to consolidate and refinance credit card debt with a personal loan in order to simplify repayment and save on interest. Alternatively, sometimes the solution to debt problems is as simple as making a budget to track spending to ensure enough money is available each month to make significant payments towards debt.
Buying Used Can Work Out Great
Undoubtedly, two of the most beloved (non-human, non-Wookie) characters in the Star Wars series are R2-D2 and C-3PO. They prove to be extremely helpful throughout the movies, providing invaluable assistance to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and others.
Perhaps surprisingly, these two robots were not bought brand new — instead, they were bought at a used droid sale. The lesson that can be learned from this aspect of the movies? Buying used can not only be a smart bargain — it can often work out to your advantage.
In some cases, buying new makes sense, such as when buying a mattress. However, there are many situations where purchasing a used item is far smarter. For example, you may be better off buying used workout equipment, video games and movies, furniture, and books. I found this article about how much consumers can save by purchasing used cars instead of new cars – due to depreciation – fascinating.
There are often far smarter choices than buying new. So, next time that you are in the market for a big-ticket item, think about R2-D2 and C-3PO, and consider carefully before buying new.
Keep Close Financial Records
During the various Star Wars movies, the Republic built a massive clone army that likely cost billions of dollars to create. However, because no one kept financial records of who exactly authorized the army or paid for it, the clone army experiment became a disaster.
While the clones were theoretically loyal to the Jedi and the Republic, they were actually a secret weapon of the Sith. This shows the importance of keeping close financial records and tracking your expenditures.
While failing to keep track of your finances may not lead to wars between clones, it can lead to other sorts of problems in your financial house. If you don’t track your tax-deductible donations, for example, it may lead to increased taxes in April.
Similarly, a failure to document payments for side gigs could lead to tax trouble if you fail to report income to the IRS. It could also be as simple as failing to notice that your checking account is low on funds, leading to a bounced check or an overdraft fee.
That is why it is so vital to closely track your financial documents, so that you can stay on top of all of your finances and ensure that you are closely watching the money coming into and out of your household each month. There are many apps out there that can help you track your spending and other important financial records.
Final Financial Takeaways from Star Wars
While it may seem silly to find financial lessons in Star Wars, there are actually a number of things that can be learned from the mistakes made and the opportunities taken by the characters in the movies.
From avoiding debt to prevent catastrophe to buying used whenever it makes sense to keeping track of your finances and financial records, Star Wars provides three critical lessons for anyone who is looking to get a better grip on his or her finances.
Tom runs FIREd Up Millennial – a blog about his relentless pursuit of Financial Independence so he can Retire Early. You can stay updated with his latest articles and random thoughts by following him on Twitter.
Like mine, Tom’s thoughts are his opinions. Please do your own research when deciding what to do with your money. And take care when buying those used droids.