Financial Lessons from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S has been one of my favorite shows even after so many years. Watching re-runs of this series is one of my guilty pleasures. Having watched it so many times made me realize that there are so many things that we can learn from the show. Each character teaches us something about life and money. Here are the financial lessons I learned from each of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. characters.

Monica Geller Bing – Prepare for the worst

Monica’s character teaches us to prepare for the worst in our life. She loses her job due to a miscommunication. She accepts 5 steaks and one eggplant from a vendor but gets fired the next day due to an unstated policy of taking bribes at the workplace. Had she known the policy she wouldn’t have accepted the gift. Keeping that aside, she lost her job all of a sudden. Had she saved money as her father told she would’ve probably lived without stress for a few months. But she wasn’t financially prepared to lose her job. She hasn’t saved for the wedding she always desired. Also, she relied on her parents for her wedding money.  But her parents spent her wedding fund on a beach house several years back. Having desired for a dream wedding, she should’ve saved up money for the same. But she didn’t.

Financial lesson

So what Monica’s character teaches us is that we should be prepared for the worst. Uncertainties can knock on one’s door anytime. One should be prepared for any type of emergency. For that, they need to work towards building an emergency fund. Do not rely on anyone for any type of help. Typically an emergency fund should have money that can cover the last 6 months expenses plus the cost of the last emergency.

Joey Tribbiani – Don’t spend out of your limit

Joey was probably one of the most favorite characters on the show. He wants to be an actor and keeps auditioning for various roles. He gets his big break through ‘Days of Our Lives’. Until then he used to depend on Chandler for rent and other necessities. After he got his big break he spent money lavishly and brought unnecessary things for his new apartment without caring about the credit card bill. He soon loses his job on the show as he pissed off the writers. And he is left with thousands of dollars’ worth credit card bill and no money.

Financial lesson

What Joey’s character teaches us is that one should always watch their debt. Credit card debt or any other debt for that matter should be controlled. Joey became prey to lifestyle inflation. With increased paycheck, he increased his spending. Always watch your debt and take advantage of your credit card offers and rewards but make sure to pay your bills on time without being charged interest. If the interest payment starts one will be burdened with the interest payments as credit card loans aren’t cheap. Use your credit card effectively and know when to use a credit card and debit card

Ross Geller – Follow your dreams

Ross is probably one of the most educated and knowledgeable of the group. At the age of 30, he became a professor at NYU. He always followed his dream whether it is career or love. For Ross, it meant dinosaurs which lead him to become a paleontologist. His passion for his career was seen during the entire time the show was aired as he keeps talking about fossils and dinosaurs. Ross always had plans for the future.

Financial lesson

What one must learn from Ross is to have a plan for a future and work towards it. Have goals in life and make a plan to achieve them. Ross chased his dreams and jumped at the first chance to get his love. Make goals and have the zeal like Ross to achieve them. Know what financial goals are and how to set them.

Phoebe Buffay – Hustling

Phoebe is one of the weirdest characters on the show. But she stands her ground and speaks her heart out. She has a set of morals and sticks to them. Phoebe was one person on the show after Joey who didn’t have a stable career or job. She is a masseuse. But she loses her job quite often. She also has an absurd singing talent but that comes pretty handy for her to earn a few extra bucks. She uses her talent (though she isn’t very talented) to earn extra money.

Financial lesson

What Phoebe teaches us is to hustle in life. Have an extra income source. Do not depend on one source of income. The second job can come to the rescue if you lose one. If you two jobs then well and good you can earn extra. There is nothing wrong is working more to earn more. I know people who work two jobs to follow their passion. One job pays them well and other is to satisfy their soul. There are dual benefits to it, one is to earn extra income and the other is to satisfy our self. Who doesn’t want to work on a job that they love and how many are actually doing that?

Chandler Bing – Take a risk

Chandler Bing is one of the funniest characters on the show. He has a sarcastic remark for everything. Chandler works a regular 9-5 job which has something to do with WENUS. None of his friends actually know what Chandler does. Chandler himself hates the job but sticks to it as it pays well. But what Chandler did in his mid-30’s is something most of us don’t think of doing ever. He made a career jump and started off as an intern in the field of marketing. That’s a very bold move considering he was in an excellent position in his previous job that paid very well.

Financial lesson

What Chandler taught us is to take a risk. He took a risk in his career. It doesn’t mean all of us have to leave the current job and start off as an intern. What Chandler did with his career can be done by us with our investments. We should take a risk to earn that extra return. In investing more return implies more risk. It is important to take that extra risk to earn an extra return. But one should always have a cover before taking that extra risk. If Chandler didn’t save a lot from his previous job he wouldn’t be able to survive as an intern in the current job. His saving nature paid off during difficult times. Hence, we should also ensure that we do not risk the entire investment. Maybe a part of the investment can be exposed to high risk.

Rachel Green – Be independent

Rachel is one of the most inspiring characters on the show. Her journey from being daddy’s little girl to a waitress to Bloomingdales and Ralph Lauren is impressing. She is good at what she does (not in the coffee shop though). She was very reluctant to work initially but later joins the coffee shop. After joining the fashion industry, there is no turning back for her. She moved up the corporate ladder pretty quick. She was even offered a job in Paris which she didn’t go. But she has evolved as an independent and successful woman.

Financial lesson

What Rachel has taught us is to be independent and success follows. When Monica tells her “Welcome to the real world. It sucks! You’re gonna love it.” It must have scared her. But that’s didn’t stop her from trying to be successful in life. Always try to be independent in life. Take control of your finances and life. Live life on your terms. Do not depend on anyone for anything. Invest your money based on your decisions and do not let others rub their decisions on you. Stay independent, stay happy.

Who knew F.R.I.E.N.D.S had so much to teach us! Do not forget to take notes the next time you watch the show.

Happy watching and learning!

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