Many of us grew up with the Simpsons family. The hand-drawn characters were always intended to model real life, particularly in the early seasons – and mirror it they did.
Whether it’s the tribulations of Lisa in a school that doesn’t appreciate her, Bart’s childlike and mischievous nature, or Homer’s love of doughnuts, there’s a lot to relate to in the 27-year-old show.
Over almost 600 episodes, more than 500 characters have been seen in the fictional town of Springfield. With a collective 220 hours of perfectly crafted storyline, you can bet there are plenty of lessons from America’s first family.
Even through the eyes of a financial planner, we can see parallels with real life that make the inhabitants of the Simpsons universe quite the role models when it comes to an investment strategy. Not sure what we mean? Let us explain…
Lesson 1: Don’t bite off more than you can chew
When faced with the decision of winning $10,000 or a full-grown African elephant, not many of us would choose the pricey pachyderm. Bart Simpson did in the eponymous episode Bart gets an Elephant.
While the follies of youth make Stampy a fun purchase, though it was hardly a smart investment for the Simpsons family. Faced with huge food bills and the cost of simply cleaning up after a monstrous animal, Homer soon makes the decision that Stampy has to go.
It’s not so straight forward to relieve yourself of a 6,000 kg elephant, it soon turned out, leaving the family in a tight spot. The lessons? Always check that you can afford your investments, and have an exit strategy that won’t cost you the Earth.
Lesson 2: Revisit your investments often
Springfield’s resident big-business owner, Charles Montgomery Burns, is thought to have a net worth of $996 million (more than $1.3 billion in Australian parlance). That didn’t stop him from losing it all in the episode The Old Man and the Lisa.
After blowing the dust off his investment portfolio, Burns decide to take a rare look at the “old stock ticker” to see how his shares are moving.
“Here’s where I stopped checking it last time, September 1929,” Burns begins, meaning he left his questionable stocks unchecked for 68 years! No investor is likely to do the same, but it gives a slight hint at the importance of revising your investment plan often.
The news isn’t good for Mr Burns, and he decides on an aggressive investment strategy to get his money back.
“Take 50 per cent of my money and put it in the blue chips – the transatlantic zeppelin, amalgamated spats… And sink the rest into that up-and-coming Baltimore Opera Hat Company,” he dictates to his assistant Waylon Smithers.
His financial advisors stand in the background, smiling and agreeing to everything he says, sharing worrisome looks behind his back. The second lesson here? Surround yourself with people you trust and who want you to do well, not just yes men!
Lesson 3: Make time for the important things in life
The Simpsons is nothing but a lesson in family values. Sure, the gang of five don’t constantly get along, but they always rely on each other during the tough moments. It’s perhaps never more noticeable than in the episode And Maggie Makes Three.
Homer finally finds a way out of his bad debt, and celebrates by quitting his job and starting his dream career at the local bowling alley. When Marge reveals to Homer than she’s expecting their third child, Homer has to soon beg for his old job back at the nuclear power plant.
All is not lost, and when their youngest daughter, Maggie, is born, Homer instantly falls in love. His day-to-day work life is marred by a vindictive boss who nails a plaque to his workstation that reads “Don’t forget, you’re here forever!” However, the new father of three uses pictures of his newborn to change the message to a much more positive one – “Do it for her.”
It’s a sublime lesson on the important things in life, and a reminder about why many of us get into investment planning in the first place.
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This blog post contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider you financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.
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