My husband loves the movie, Forrest Gump. He can almost follow the script word for word. This is a football, beer and pizza loving man, we are talking about here. When I asked him why he liked the movie so much, he couldn’t explain it. So the last time it was on TV, I really gave it my full attention. While I didn’t discover why my husband has a soft spot for Forrest Gump, I did learn a few things about finances.
Stupid is, is stupid does, Ma’am
This is perhaps the most important line in the movie. It applies so well to the financial world today. If you do stupid things with your money, like spend more than you make or get in debt over your head because you want more than you can afford, then yes, you are stupid. If you set aside money to pay a bill and your best friend wants to have a wild night out and you choose to blow the money you saved, then yes, you are stupid. If you have $20 to spend for lunch this week and you decide to buy a lottery ticket with it, then yes, you are stupid, even if you win a few bucks on the lottery ticket. If you take out a mortgage and the monthly payment is equal to half of your monthly income, then yes, you are stupid. Just because a bank was willing to loan you a huge amount of money doesn’t mean you should take them up on it. Stupid is, is stupid does has become my mantra when considering financial transactions.
Forrest Gump kept his promises
Remember when Forrest received $25,000 for endorsing the ping pong paddle? I’m sure he could have thought of a lot of things to do with that money. Back in the 1960′s that was considered a windfall. What did he do? He bought a nice dinner for his mother and a suit, a bus ticket and two rootbeers. That left him with enough money to fulfill his promise to his best friend Bubba by buying a shrimp boat. In due course, keeping his promise made Forrest a very rich man. Don’t we make promises every time we charge on a credit card or purchase something on credit? Sure we do. We promise to pay the bill and to do so in a timely fashion. If we keep our promise, we are rewarded with good credit and the ability to purchase even more on credit. If we break our promises, we pay for it in the form of huge late fees and a bad credit score.
Forrest Gump was persistent
He didn’t succeed at first on his shrimp boat adventure. It took hard work, long hours, a long time and a twist of fate, but he did not give up. Some would argue that Forrest Gump was too dumb to know any better, but persistence is a common trait among all the self made millionaires and successful entrepreneurs. When I get discouraged and think that we will never be debt free, I think of Forrest Gump. Then I remember that persistence is vital and good things really do come to those who work for it.
Forrest Gump let someone who knew more than he did, handle his investments
By his own admission, Forrest Gump was not a smart man. Yet he managed to become a zillionaire and never again had to worry about money. He probably would have had enough money to live on and be quite comfortable from the BubbaGump Shrimp Company. He was smart enough to let Lt. Dan invest his money and it was because of that investment that Forrest Gump was tremendously rich. From this I learned that it can be a good thing to trust someone who knows more than me about investing. When I am debt free and ready to build a portfolio, I will seek out a knowledgeable investment counselor.
Forrest Gump knew when to give
Forrest didn’t hoard his money. He understood he had more than he needed and that giving is a good thing. He built a church, a hospital wing and shared with Bubba’s family. He gave credit where credit was due. There’s something funny about giving, it seems like the more you give away, the more you get in return. You may not get money back, but the rewards go beyond monetary value. On my personal financial journey, I try to budget giving somewhere near the top of the list. Learning to give definitely has its own rewards.
Forrest Gump didn’t stress about his money
I don’t know about you, but if I had a gazillion dollars, I would be stressed. Heck, I’m stressed on payday now. Forrest didn’t worry about having money nor did he worry about the lack of money before he had it. Money was just a fact of life to him. He bought what he needed and did without if he didn’t have money. He didn’t worry what other folks thought about his money. He even took a job mowing a huge lawn for free.
Forrest Gump knew what was important in life. Family and loved ones. He never let the money stand between what was important and himself.
Have you watched Forrest Gump lately?
Image courtesy of edwardleger