Downton Abbey's 8 Money Lessons for All of Us

You can actually learn a lot about how to manage your finances better by watching the addictive PBS series

by Steve Juetten • Next Avenue
downton abbey image
Photograph: Courtesy of WGBH/Masterpiece

Downton Abbey is an entertaining and riveting PBS TV series; my wife and I are hooked on it. But as a financial planner, I’ve also found that the show’s storylines offer eight powerful lessons for managing your money.

Two of them come from this season’s first episode, when we learned that Lord Grantham had invested most of his wife's fortune in the stock of a Canadian Railroad company, then lost that money when the company went bankrupt.

Lord Grantham was in shock because everyone knew the company was going to be a success. The two lessons:

  • Don’t put all your investment eggs in one basket.
  • Just because everyone thinks an investment can’t miss doesn't mean you should stop thinking for yourself. 

Here are six other lessons from Downton Abbey that can help you secure your financial future and protect your family:
Prepare for the unexpected. I always tell my clients that the first rule of personal finance is to protect yourself — and the Downton Abbey characters offer ample evidence of this edict's value.

This year, Mrs. Hughes was worried that she might have breast cancer; fortunately, things turned out OK. Last year, Mrs. Patmore had eye surgery, which also worked out. But neither had medical or disability insurance. Instead, they relied on the generosity of the Granthams to cover their health care costs and loss of wages.

The health challenges of Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore offer good reminders to have adequate insurance and emergency savings so you’ll protect yourself and your family from unforeseen circumstances.

Click here for five more lessons on Next Avenue

Next: Spending to Piss Off My Father

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First Published Wed, 2013-02-13 17:00

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