I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (among all the prior movies).
Was it as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark? How many movies are?
Was it a lot of fun to watch? Absolutely!
I got to thinking about ‘ole Indy. What makes him successful in his movies? What is it about him that keeps him coming out ahead? And can those qualities be translated to personal finance?
Here are five things I think Indiana Jones can teach us about personal finance:
Indiana Jones doesn’t need a lot of stuff
When he goes off on an adventure he has a few items: His whip, hat, jacket, side bag, boots, pants, shirt, gun holster, and notebook. This is basically his adventure “uniform” and it doesn’t change. Indy makes do with what he has and makes his stuff last. Ever see him buy a new hat? How about shiny new boots?
How this translates for us: Find out what you need in your life. Note the word “need” and not want. Don’t clutter your life with stuff. Stuff takes up space and uses up money. Also it usually pays to buy quality when you can. If you take care of a good item it can last many years (like a trusty fedora hat).
Indiana Jones has focus and persistence
When he has a goal he goes after it with all of his focus until he can’t continue any more. Do Nazis stop him? Angry cult member? Communists? Even his enemies recognize this quality in Indy. Think of the times he’s been caught, kidnapped, or blackmailed into helping the enemy. Indiana Jones is the go-to guy if you want an artifact found.
How this translates for us: Create personal finance goals and stick to them. Are your goals worth fighting for? Will you retire? Will you be financially independent? Develop persistence and focus to stay on track with your goals and complete them.
He’s daring, brave, and well educated
There’s times where Indy is doing some crazy things (climbing into an archaeological dig surrounded by Nazis anyone?). What keeps Indy afloat when he goes off on a daring adventure? Luck has a bit to do with it. But it’s his education that tempers bravado. R emember, not only is Indiana Jones an adventurer he’s also a doctor of archeology that teaches at the university level (and a Boy Scout). A big part of why he’s successful in his adventures is because he’s already done extensive research on what he’s going after. As wild as he sometimes seems he doesn’t blindly go off looking for adventure. He’s put years into learning his subject.
How this translates for us: Don’t blindly make investments or make purchases without out doing your homework first. Educate yourself about personal finance. Keep learning. Know why you are putting money into an investment and understand what the risks are going in. When making a major purchase study up on different brands and their reliability and consumer responses. Try to find the best value and price (maybe you can pick up a really good hat).
He carries a notebook full of information
We see Indy go back to small notebooks all the time. Whether it’s looking up a map or deciphering a language, he keeps notes on all his research.
How this translates for us: Keep your own notebook. Track your expenses to see where your money is going. Keep notes of things you did that saved money. Make to do lists to stay on top of your life. Write out grocery lists so you only buy what you planned on. And these days there are so many apps out there for notes that you can’t use not wanting to carry a notebook as an excuse.
He tries to do the right thing
There are many times Indy can get quick cash by obtaining an artifact and selling it. But he doesn’t. He tries to do the right thing. Whether it’s saving children from slavery or keeping biblical artifacts from Nazis, Indy does the right thing.
How this translates for us: Act right in your life. Don’t lie to your spouse about finances however small the lie may be. Don’t take part in get rich quick scams – they don’t work.
There you have it. Five ways we can learn about personal finance from Indiana Jones.
Can you think of any more?
photo by Gaetan Lee