3 holiday movie lessons for financial professionals

December 22, 2016 by Alex Becker

Friends sharing a toast at a holiday party

About the author:

Alex Becker

Software developer in test

Alex began his career at Advicent as a partner support specialist and later moved into quality assurance, allowing him to utilize the insights he gained from partners to further improve Advicent products. Additionally, Alex constantly strives to stay up-to-date on current topics within the FinTech industry.

The holiday season is upon us! 'Tis the season to watch any and all holiday movies aired on TV, streamed through your favorite service, or via your trusty old DVD player. Movies are a great medium for teaching people lessons, and holiday movies are no exception. Here are a few of my favorite holiday movies and some of their lessons:

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This is a wonderful movie that most people recognize and have likely seen multiple times. The story contains many different lessons, similar to most Dr. Seuss stories. This particular tale takes place in Whoville and follows an unfortunate fellow who was ostracized by his community: the Grinch. The Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the entire town by stealing anything relating to Christmas. In the end, though, all his plan does is make Whoville realize that the holiday is not about material items - it's about being with the ones you love.

This lesson is great for the holiday season, especially for people that want to get gifts for everyone or are tight on money. It is the thought that counts. Many of your clients may struggle to come to terms with the amount of money they spent this holiday season for which they may not have budgeted. Encourage them to start saving earlier for the 2017 holidays season. Reassure them as well that they do not have to worry endlessly about finding a high price tag and focus on doing thoughtful things to do for loved ones over the holidays.

2. A Christmas Story

This is a classic movie that mainly follows Ralphie Parker and his hopes of receiving a Red Ryder BB Gun. However, that is not the only story in A Christmas Story. “The old man”, as Ralphie’s father is known, is the focus of a few sub-stories that occur. One such story deals with the Parkers' furnace, which has a classic lesson involved: “Try, try, try again!” Ralphie’s father notices smoke coming from the basement, and immediately goes into battle mode. He yells to his family, “It’s a clinker!” A clinker is a mass of fused ash that remains after coal is burned in a furnace. Given his prompt response, it is clear that this is not his first time struggling with a clinker, and he must try, try, try again to get the furnace back in working condition.

This lesson is particularly applicable to financial planning as financial professionals must constantly keep trying to build their business. You may not successfully land a huge client immediately, but if you keep trying you may eventually find success. It is important to learn from our mistakes and take lessons and tips from the trends around us in order to find success in this ever-changing industry.

3. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

This one is a holiday comedy following the Griswold family through their holiday mishaps. From getting a tree that happens to have a squirrel living in it to an epic fail of a holiday dinner, this movie has all kinds of jokes. Just because it is a comedy, does not mean there are not some important lessons to be learned.

One lesson that applies to financial planning in particular is “do not count your eggs before they hatch,” and it is through Mr. Griswold's misfortune that we learn this lesson. He plans to build a pool for the family using his holiday bonus. However, when his boss decides to cut bonuses for his employees, Mr. Griswold is instead enrolled in the Jelly of the Month club. This lesson is an important one, as many people will make plans for money may not be guaranteed — such as an inheritance, commission, or a bonus. In reality, however, planning should be done after that money has been collected.

All in all, there are many finance-related lessons we can learn from holiday movies. Encourage your clients to enjoy the holiday season while still remaining in budget where spending is concerned. The holidays can become very expensive very quickly, and you do not want to enter a new year with regrets from holiday spending.

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