What House of Cards Teaches Us About Money
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you know that Netflix released season two of its popular drama, House of Cards, on Valentine’s Day. We were late to the game with season one, watching it late last year, and were eagerly anticipating the newest season of House of Cards. As an aside, if you are a House of Cards fan and have not seen the entire season I will not be sharing any spoilers so you can rest assured that it’s ok to read on and not get the dirt on the new season. 🙂
I’m quite certain that the viewership numbers for the new season of House of Cards has been through the roof. As I write this post, we only have the final two episodes to watch and I didn’t want to research it out of fear that I might catch a spoiler. 😉 That’s also not to mention the fact that I’ve read that Netflix doesn’t even publicly share viewership numbers anyway.
Anyhoo…if you’ve not seen the series it’s essentially based around the political scene in D.C. and the dark, seedy underbelly that goes with it. That’s putting it lightly too and the show really, on many levels, goes on to show how no one is immune from the ill effects of dirty politics and how much of it is built on, well, a House of Cards. Notice what I did there?! 😉 As we’re near the end of the season, yea I’m one of those people who chose not to control himself but binge watch the season I’ve also seen how much of what we see in House of Cards can also be applied to our financial lives. I know, I guess I just can’t turn off my PF radar. 😉
Money Lessons From House of Cards
There is only so much you can control: All too often, we try and control everything – I know that I’ve fallen into that thinking in the past. Focus on what you can control, like how much you’re saving, educating yourself and cutting your expenses. Thinking you can control what goes on in the stock market is like thinking a politician can be depended on…it ain’t going to happen!
Always be prepared: As happened in House of Cards, you never know when something is going to go sideways and you need to be prepared to handle the fallout from it. The obvious money lesson from this is having some sort of emergency fund. I don’t really care how much you have in it, ok I do, but you get my point. Start small and help it grow as you never know when you’ll need to tap it.
Have a backup plan: Just like a Lannister always pays his debts, a good politician is going to have a backup plan. It may be thought up on the fly, but the point is to have one. This may not fit perfectly with finances, but it does if you’re considering starting your own business. Not having a backup plan will only expose you to too much risk that may come back to bite you in the end.
Hedge your bets: Frank Underwood is a pro at doing this in my opinion. He’s always playing angles to make sure he puts himself in the best position possible. Admittedly, the hedging in House of Cards is nearly always on the nefarious side, but it can be turned on its side. Hedging can be done in a number of ways, but really comes down to investing and making sure you’re balancing your risk so you can still manage to come out ahead.
Know when to walk away: Just as Frank Underwood absolutely hates to lose, he also seems to know when to walk away. There are times in our financial lives that we simply have to walk away from something because it’d be foolish to do otherwise. Whether it means walking away from a stock that will just not gain back what it has lost or knowing when to give up a side hustle, it’s the wise ones who know when to walk away.
Make good alliances: Many in House of Cards are forming relationships based on what they can get out of it. I mean, after all, it is a show based on Washington politics! 😉 In regards to our money, I don’t think that we should be self-serving, but rather, looking for ways to breathe some altruism into our relationships. Surround yourself with wise financial minds and both are likely to benefit as opposed to being just a one way street.
Do you have a blind spot?: There was a lot of talk about blind spots in both seasons of House of Cards and believe that we can have them financially as well. Are you killing it with your investments, but watching money go out the window each month due to unwise spending? Are you a budgeting god but still carrying a balance on your credit cards? We all have blind spots and it’s those who recognize them that get ahead.
As you can tell, I really enjoy House of Cards and will likely watch it again in the future to pick up on some of the things I missed. I just want to know now, can I justify the hours I’ve watched it this week as research for the blog? 😉 If not, I guess at least it shows I’m always looking for new ways to think about money. 😉
Have you watched the second season of House of Cards yet? What is your financial blind spot? Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?
Photo courtesy of: anntinomy
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.