On the surface, Star Wars is a giant science-fiction comic book. It is great escapism, but as a middle-aged adult, I'm viewing this differently than my son. Today, I watch the film and wonder about things like where the Stormtrooper cafeteria was and the location of the bathrooms in the Death Star. Thinking like a grown-up, I’ve thought of five money lessons I learned from the soon to be 9 movies in the series.
1. Live within your means. Sounds like something Yoda would say, except he’d say “Live your means within”, but when you think about it, most of the protagonists live pretty simple lives, with the exception of Padme Amidala in the prequels and Princess Leia in the original films. But hey, they were royalty. From Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi to Yoda to Rey, they were living a simple life and dreaming of bigger things. On the other hand, Jabba the Hutt was a gangster who lived a bit too large. In “Return of the Jedi”, you see where it got him.
2. Trust Your Instincts. This phrase is directly mentioned throughout the series in relating to the Jedi (and the Sith for that matter.) “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” has become famous thanks to the Star Wars franchise. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” was always proceeded by something pretty bad. If you are doing something financially (or otherwise) that makes you say this, it is time to rethink your plan.
3. Buyer Beware. In the very first “Star Wars” movie, Luke Skywalker originally purchased C-3PO and a droid called R5-D4. The droid’s “motivator” malfunctioned, so Luke went back and was able to exchange it for R2-D2. If you know the movie well, you know that things would have turned out very different if he didn’t take R2-D2 and it is likely the Force had something to do with the other droid malfunctioning. But in life, it is a good reminder to make sure you do homework before making a big purchase.
4. Contingency Planning. The Death Star is quite a sight, but as we all know, the Rebels were able to exploit a small flaw and blow it up thanks to Luke Skywalker’s expert skill. It makes me think about the importance of insurance. You never know when the unexpected might happen. Considering the speed at which the Death Star was being rebuilt in “Return of the Jedi”, one wonders if there was an insurance policy purchased by the Empire. I bet the life insurance rates are astronomical for Stormtroopers. Maybe the “Highest rates in the galaxy.”
5. History Repeats Itself. Each movie follows a similar pattern, with the exception somewhat of last year's one-off "Rogue One.” It’s absolutely exciting but very predictable. If you watch the movies close together, a pattern definitely emerges with the plots, including the re-emergence of the “Dark Side” in the sequel series. When planning anything—financial or otherwise, it is important to remember that things tend to go in cycles.
As you plan out your finances for 2018, may the Force be with you.
My 9-year-old son is obsessed with Star Wars. He’s seen them all. Yes, including the prequels. And he’s seen a lot of the animated series as well. Half the time, I don’t even know which villain he’s talking about, even though I’ve seen all the movies too. Of course, we are looking forward to seeing “The Last Jedi” in the theater very soon.