Money Lessons From TV

Streaming services offer valuable money lessons that can make couch time financially productive for Australians.

Subscriptions to services such as Foxtel, Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime Video continue to rise, and 14 million Aussies now have access to some sort of pay-TV.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said these services were an increasingly competitive marketplace in Australia.

“Going forward, the battleground will be content and cost,” she said.

The phrase “winter is coming” from fantasy series Game of Thrones might mean a time for uncertainty, and for viewers in the real world it is never too soon to financially prepare for what’s ahead.

Know how much is in your superannuation, savings accounts and investments.

Financial research group Canstar.com.au’s spokeswoman, Belinda Williamson, suggests setting aside emergency funds for the unexpected. “This money is unlikely to be touched, however, you’ll want to make sure it’s easily accessible should you need fast access,” she said.

In Game of Thrones, which screens its finale today on Foxtel, the powerful Lannister family taught viewers about repaying debts promptly and not incurring loans that cannot be repaid.

“For anyone managing debt, it’s best to pay off your highest interest debts first, which is usually a credit card balance,” Ms Williamson said.

“This is significant when you think the average credit card debt of $1996 on an average credit card rate of 17.03 per cent can take 11 years to pay off if someone is making only the minimum repayment amount.”

Dirty John, on Netflix, reveals serious money mistakes made by real-life victim Debra Newell, who willingly shares her financial assets with partner and conman John Meehan.

Ms Williamson said people should be cautious when sharing information with a prospective love interest.

“Hasty financial decisions can lead to hefty financial mistakes,” she said.

“You should consider sharing details about your financial situation once a level of trust has been established, particularly if there are assets and debts involved.”

Ms Williamson said the Ozark series, starring Jason Bateman as a financial planner, should be required viewing when looking for an adviser.

“Investing your money in something or someone requires a level of trust, which should be based on an understanding of their credentials and investment history,” she said.

“Make sure the right person or opportunity stacks up and is aligned to your financial goals and ethics.”

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