Everyone loves to talk about movies. I was always the kid that would have the “book vs. movie” discussion with my friends and family after seeing the film latest adaptation of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. But movies can tackle serious topics too. They can serve as a starting point for teaching kids financial responsibility to help them learn about avoiding consumer debt.
Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility Through the Movies
Did you ever think a romantic comedy could spark a discussion about debt management? Think back to the 2009 movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. The main character, Rebecca, is a shopping addict. She has upwards of a dozen credit cards and struggles to pay off her debt. Ironically, she gets a job writing articles for a business magazine giving people financial advice. Her articles instantly become successful (because that’s how real life works, right?).
The movie focuses on Rebecca’s ever-growing credit card debt and being chased by a debt collector who harasses her constantly. In the end, she ends up selling all her clothes she’s bought over the years of being a shopaholic to pay off her debt. Of course, given that this movie is a rom-com, she also ends up dating her boss by the end of it.
Debt in “Reel” Life vs. Real Life
While a bit silly, this movie could be a great way for parents to talk to their children about how credit cards work. Furthermore, it can lead to other conversations teaching kids about financial responsibility. Ideally, this discussion would be most beneficial for pre-teens or young teenagers.
Let’s be honest, kids aren’t going to want to just sit down with you at the kitchen table out of the blue and get lectured about financial responsibility. So how do you start those discussions? This movie could be a good first step. Explain to them after the movie how credit cards work in real life and how it differs from the movie. Talk to them about what you use credit cards for in your own life and how you pay them off.
No one wants their kids to grow up without knowing at least the basics of how to manage personal finances. Schools often don’t teach these topics, so it is up to parents to prepare children for a life of financial responsibility. Education can be informal and still be effective. Who would have thought Confessions of a Shopaholic could be considered educational?
P.S. If you’re in a situation like Rebecca’s before you decided to sell all your clothes and date your boss, take some time to read about American Consumer Credit Counseling’s debt management program and how it can help you!
For more financial literacy resources or to speak to one of ACCC’s certified credit counselors, call 800-769-3571.