I am obsessed with Harry Potter. I have read all of the books and watched all of the movies. In fact, JK Rowling did a great job of adding financial lessons to the Harry Potter series. If you grew up reading the books or you are a fan of the movies, you’ll appreciate these five things Harry Potter can teach you about money.
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#1: Appreciate what you haveThe first financial lesson that I think Harry Potter can teach us about money is to appreciate what you have. Harry exemplifies this the most in the Sorcerer’s Stone. When Hagrid gifts him Hedwig the owl, Harry is simply amazed. He’s never known kindness like this before since he lived with the Dursley’s. Also, he’s so appreciative of the Nimbus 2000 that Professor McGonagall gives him. And can we talk about his glasses? Bro ends up wearing the same glasses all seven years of school and it’s like, Harry. Your parents left you an inheritance so you could do well with an updated pair of glasses. That’s his frugality kicking in. The Weasley’s also do a great job of showing gratitude for what they have. They don’t have a lot of money yet they have created a family and a home that is filled with good times and happiness. So, don’t forget to appreciate what you have now. It can create contentment beyond measure.
#2: When you happen upon a lump sum of money don’t spend it on crap.The second lesson that Harry Potter teaches us about money is to not spend a bunch of money on useless crap! Harry makes this mistake in the very first movie. In the Sorcerer’s Stone, he finds out that his parents have left him an inheritance at Gringott’s. When he meets Ron for the first time on the train, he realizes that Ron is left with a soggy sandwich and no cash for the sweets trolley. Harry whips out a handful of coins and declares, “We’ll take the lot!” Just because you come across a large sum of money doesn’t mean you can spend it on the next sweet item you see. If you come across a bonus, extra paycheck, or find leftover money in your budget, spend it on something meaningful.
“We’ll take the lot!” -Harry Potter
#3: Spend money on experiences that bring you joy.Arthur Weasley takes the entire gang to attend the Quidditch World Cup. If I’m not mistaken, I think he gets tickets from the Ministry of Magic, but nevertheless, there is an important financial lesson here. Spend money on experiences that bring you joy. The entire gang loves Quidditch so attending the World Cup was a great way to spend on a meaningful experience. Likewise, Hagrid does a good job of putting this lesson to use. His love of animals and mythical creatures is so much that he is okay spending money on caring for them. Whether you want to spend money taking care of your own “Fang” or attending a World Cup, make sure you leave room in your budget to spend on things that bring you joy. Within reason, of course.
#4: Regardless of the amount of money you have or don’t have, you have nothing without love.The best character who does a good job of living up to this financial lesson is Voldemort. Voldemort’s empty life and chasing power led him to loneliness. Harry says it best: you are nothing without love or friendship. You could have all of the wealth in the world but it would mean nothing if you haven’t spent time building meaningful relationships. To give and receive love is far more important than the amount of money you have. Often times I can get caught up in my own financial goals that I can overlook spending time with loved ones. It’s something that I am working on. I hope you find the importance of reconnecting with loved ones, too.
#5: Stuff does not buy happiness.The last lesson and there are many more, that Harry Potter can teach us about money is that stuff does not buy happiness. In the first movie, Dudley complains that he only received 36 gifts for his birthday. Out of fear, his parents respond that they will buy him two more gifts. Dudley isn’t truly happy because of this. He gobbles up stuff because it makes him feel important, not happy. Have you ever felt like this? Adding more things to Amazon or taking a stroll through Target doesn’t equate to happiness. You have to get back to a sense of contentment. Contentment comes from doing things that bring you joy that doesn’t cost money. Contentment comes from doing things that make you, you! Don’t ignore your values to chase stuff to make yourself happy. It won’t work. Check out my workbook that has a whole section dedicated to contentment. It’s so helpful to get back to a source of happiness without the constant nag to buy things.
So, that’s my list of financial lessons that Harry Potter teaches us. What’s your favorite? There are plenty of other lessons, so comment below to let me know what you think!
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