The top 5 money lessons we learned from cartoon characters

The Momentum UK Team 23 January 2014

We all had our favourite cartoon characters as children, and in many ways the TV we watch in our early years shapes our view of the world. But what can we learn from cartoon characters as adults? We're counting down our top 5 animated friends who taught us some valuable lessons about money - mostly through their mistakes!

5. Granny: start saving for retirement

This savvy lady is cleverer than she looks: she successfully thwarts Sylvester at every turn in his attempts to eat Tweety Bird and is clearly making the most of her golden years. She often goes on trips away and enjoys plenty of hobbies - if you plan ahead and save carefully, you too could enjoy a blissful retirement complete with a canary! Check out our guide to retirement saving for beginners for info on how to get started.

4. Wile E. Coyote: stop spending money on pointless gadgets

How many times have we watched this poor fellow’s antics and thought that surely there must be a simpler way to catch a roadrunner? Wile E. spends all his money in the ACME store, on a crazy range of products that almost never work. Our favourites include ACME Dehydrated Boulders, a jet-propelled pogo stick, and ACME Iron Bird Seed - this backfired spectacularly when the magnet he used to catch the Roadrunner actually pulled the hapless protagonist into the path of an oncoming train. Like Mr Coyote, the gadget lovers among us should probably stop and think before we buy the latest techy toy and wonder if it will actually be of any use.

3. Yogi Bear: help each other to stay on track 

The lovable Yogi was certainly smarter than the average bear, but that didn’t stop him from getting into a few scrapes! His schemes always got him the coveted picnic basket, but it was his good friend Boo Boo who usually got him out of trouble afterwards. Sometimes it takes another person’s perspective to help us stay on top of our spending and goals, whether it’s a partner, a friend or a relative. Could Money Hub be your perfect partner?

2. Winnie the Pooh: keep your consumption under control  Track your spending with MoneyHub

Everybody loves Winnie the Pooh, but it’s no secret that he has a bit of a honey habit - he will go to extraordinary lengths to get his paws on the stuff. In one instance, after eating all of his own honey, he visits Rabbit and after eating all of his, becomes so fat that he can’t get out of the door. Luckily there isn’t a system of currency in the Hundred Acre Wood, as it seems likely that Pooh would have a fairly serious debt problem if he actually had to pay for all this honey! Remember to spend within your limits to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of debt (or a friend’s front door).

1. Homer Simpson

The misguided but lovable Homer is the ultimate cautionary tale when it comes to money. Although he always has his family’s best interests at heart, he’s made his fair share of financial blunders which we can learn from.

In one episode, Homer decides to invest using the “buy low, sell high” method. While this seems like a fairly sound starting point, his plan quickly fails when he decides to invest in pumpkins just after Halloween. He struggles to make any money, and makes the mistake of not telling Marge about the financial mess he’s in. In the end he has to resort to getting a loan from Patty and Selma, who agree only on the proviso that Homer does whatever they say. (Perhaps Homer could have done with reading our guide to investing for beginners?)

Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from Homer is that nothing comes for free, and financial security takes some work! Instead of concentrating on saving efficiently, Homer comes up with countless hare-brained money making schemes which promise zero effort and big results - almost always ending in disaster:

    • Mr Plow: Homer’s snow clearing business enjoyed brief success, but his failure to plan ahead meant that the business folded when the snow melted
    • “Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net”: after hearing that Ned Flanders had made money “on the internet”, Homer decided to set up his own online company. Unfortunately the company didn’t actually do anything, and was subject to an aggressive takeover by Bill Gates
    • Simpson and Son’s Revitalizing Tonic: this time the product actually worked, but a big argument between Homer and his business partner (his father) put an end to the venture
    • Happy Dude: this telemarketing scam encouraged people to send Homer cash in the post in exchange for the true secret of happiness. In a surprising show of aptitude for police work, Chief Wiggum shut the scam down and repeatedly shot Homer’s auto-dialing machine

If you know where to look, good money management ideas are everywhere! What money lessons have you learned from TV characters? Tweet us @YourWealthUK or leave a comment below