This weekend, Breaking Bad wraps up its kinetic final season. These last episodes provided a lot of insight about what not to do with your money (don’t throw it out your car window; don’t bury it in the desert). However, there was a time when we found some good money lessons from Walt and Jesse. So, in honor of their final adventure, we’re removing the outlet plate from this blog—not to find a hidden ricin capsule, but rather, a favorite post from our archive.
(This post was originally published on July 13, 2012.)
For some time, I’ve wanted to catch up on Breaking Bad. This summer, AMC reran the entire series over a few weeks’ time, giving me the opportunity to find out what Walt and Jesse have been up to.
While racing my DVR’s storage limit, I was also coming up with ideas for this blog. And like a fly in a meth lab, the show contaminated my thought process.
The result? I overlooked any hidden meaning with the pink teddy bear and instead focused on any hidden money messages I could find in the show.
With the season 5 premiere this weekend, it seems like a good time to outline my findings and answer this burning question: What good money advice can we find in Breaking Bad?
Now, some of these were obvious:
- You need an emergency fund. It can be for something small (like a new water heater) or something large (like medical bills). Either way, we all can’t rely on fantastic chemistry skills or fake rich benefactors to cover us in case we run into financial trouble.
- You don’t need money to be happy. Walt gives Ramen to his former colleague Elliot as a birthday gift. The sentimentality of the present touches Elliot—much more than any expensive gift he received (e.g., a signed guitar from Eric Clapton). And if you are rich? We learned that buying something flashy may blow up in your face.
- You should trust the experts. If you want to learn about money laundering, you better call Saul (his explanation seems much easier than what’s on Wikipedia).
However, one piece of advice stuck out the most to me—and it came from Jesse!
Jesse is easily the least money savvy character on the show, with his sound system-buying and house party-throwing ways (oh, not to forget the drug using). But, after rehab, he’s the most in tune with who he is—and that’s really the best money advice I could find: Accept who you are.
On our about page, we say “your cash, your choice.” This means that we’re not trying to force you to change your financial habits. Rather, we want you to understand them. If you’re spending all your money on geodes, you don’t necessarily have to stop buying them—but you can’t deny that your choices affect you.
Accept them and yourself and then figure out the best way for you to move forward. If you do, you’ll find something that Walt and Jesse probably won’t this season: relief.
Have a better answer to this burning question? Post it in the comments.