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This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.
Movies today can rely on special effects, monster marketing efforts, and a few pretty faces (*cough* "Transformers 2" *cough*). In the 1980s and early '90s, movies had to rely on the story and the acting to ach
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ieve success.
Out of that era, which coincided with my childhood, came a lot of classic movies that teach powerful lessons about how to deal with your money, how to approach your career, and how to find success in both.

I thought it would be fun to pick out five lessons from just five movies from that era (one of them is from 2000, but no fancy special effects there).
Be careful whom you trust. Rocky is one of the iconic film franchises of my generation and there is a powerful financial lesson to be learned in the fifth film. If you remember, it's in "Rocky V" that you learn of the health effects of fighting the Russian machine, Ivan Drago. You also learn of Rocky's financial woes when he discovers that Paulie, his wife Adrian's brother, signed over power of attorney to Rocky's accountant. The accountant then proceeds to lose all of Rocky's money flipping real estate.
The lesson here is that you have to be extremely careful whom you trust, especially when it comes to your money. As you acquire more money, you put it into the hands of mutual fund managers, financial advisers and other "experts." You have to carefully vet them and I believe you should never sign over power of attorney.
Fake it until you make it. In "The Secret of My Success," Michael J. Fox plays Brantley Foster, a laid-off financial analyst who sneaks into a new job as a mailroom clerk at his uncle's company. From there, he finds out that most of the executives are making terrible decisions and starts to fake being an executive. The movie is a classic and the iconic scenes include Fox changing from the casual wear of the clerk to the suit of the executive while in an elevator.
The lesson here is that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. Some use the adage "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." In the end, the message is the same: If you behave as if you belong somewhere, then you do. In the end, what's the difference between pretending and being? Nothing, really. (I don't advocate deception or lying though. I believe that crosses the line.)
All we need is the right opportunity. "Trading Places" is an awesome movie and one of my favorites. In "Trading Places," two commodity traders, Mortimer and Randolph Duke, decide to conduct a little social experiment. They want to know if the rich and successful are that way because they started rich and whether a common street criminal could achieve the same given the same starting point. So they take Eddie Murphy's character, street hustler Billy Ray Valentine, and have him swap places with Dan Aykroyd's character, a successful broker.
Life isn't fair, but sometimes two rich guys decide to make a bet and give you the keys to the kingdom to see what you'll do with them. The lesson here is that you should always be working hard, whether it's trading orange futures or street hustling, so that you can take advantage when an opportunity presents itself.
Keep emotions in check. "Bull Durham" is one of the most well-known baseball movies in history. It involves veteran catcher Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner, and a powerful rookie pitcher named Nuke LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins. Crash is brought to the minor league team to try to mold and shape the promising Nuke. In their first meeting, which is in a bar, they almost come to blows as Crash taunts the hot-tempered Nuke.
The lesson here is that you need to keep your emotions in check. Had Nuke struck Crash, he could've broken his hand, ended his minor league career, and never achieved the success he would get to enjoy later. With finances and your career, you need to keep a level head. When making stock investments, don't let your emotions make decisions for you.
Don't do anything illegal. "Boiler Room" isn't quite a classic movie but it does have a powerful lesson to tell. It follows the story of Seth Davis, a college dropout who is running an underground casino in his house. He eventually gets a job at a brokerage, where he's paid to get rich investors to buy into penny stocks his firm is pumping and dumping.
At first he doesn't realize how the scheme works and that what he's doing is illegal. He sees only the lavish lifestyles the more senior brokers are living. Eventually he realizes he's just scamming people of their hard-earned savings.
There are two lessons in this movie. The first is that you shouldn't let greed overcome your decision-making process. The allure of a hot penny stock is like the siren song of Peisinoe, Aglaope and Thelxiepeia; it can make you do some crazy things.
The second lesson is that you shouldn't ever do anything illegal. 
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This guest post from Caitlin of ClutterCubed (a blog about ridding clutter from your life) is part of a new feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Every Sunday will include a reader story (in the new “reader stories” category). Some will be general “how I did X” stories, and others will be examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success.
Back in September, one hour of my time cut 16 years off my mortgage! It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done, but I can honestly (and sadly!)
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say I probably wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for Get Rich Slowly.
However, this is less of a tale of ringing triumph, and more of a story that shows how financially clueless I was, while you all point and laugh how even people who make financial missteps can put themselves back on the right track.
My shiny new mortgage
In mid-2008, my husband and I bought a shiny new house and acquired a shiny new 40-year mortgage. That’s right: a 40-year mortgage. It’s embarrassing to admit now, but the banks we talked to assured us that 40 years was “the new normal” for first-time home buyers like ourselves.
This was, of course, right before the crash and the economic downturn, so at the time our 5.5% mortgage rate looked pretty spiffy. As first-time buyers, we could have gotten away with a 0% down payment, but over the years we’d saved enough for a 7% down payment (thanks in part to a small inheritance my husband received). We felt smart. We felt like we were doing the right thing, like we were ahead of the game.
Unfortunately, as we later learned, there’s a big difference between feeling like you’re ahead, and actually being ahead. We didn’t know about the trick of planning mortgage payments before you have to start making them, so we hadn’t been putting away “a mortgage payment” every month prior to moving in. We also had no emergency fund to speak of.
J.D.’s note: Suze Orman calls the game of planning mortgage payments before you have to start making them “playing house before buying a house”. I think it’s an awesome idea: Before you take on a mortgage, spend at least six months setting aside enough to simulate your mortgage. If you can’t do it, you’re not ready to buy.

By the numbers
We had, at least, planned our housing costs so that they wouldn’t be more than 28% of our gross income. I don’t remember where we got that number, since at the time we did not really read any personal finance books or blogs. I think we just pulled 30% out of Google, as a financial rule of thumb, and then aimed for a bit less than that.
Because of little things like that, we thought we were doing great, but looking back there are a lot of things I wish we had done differently. (I wish I’d started learning about personal finance before buying a house, for one thing!)
Properly taxes were included in our mortgage payments, and they’d been over-estimated to avoid needing to make a big payment once our house was reassessed this year (since the last time it had been assessed was in 2007, when it was still a dirt lot).
This September our mortgage payment came out automatically as usual, but we were really worried when $180 less than normal was taken from the account. I panicked and called the bank, thinking it was perhaps a mistake, and there would somehow be consequences for not making a full payment. The bank assured me everything was okay, and it was just that our property taxes had gone down after a reassessment, so our payment had been adjusted.
A profitable hour
The Old Me would have celebrated having an “extra” $180/month to spend. The New Me, the one that reads Get Rich Slowly and other personal finance blogs and books and is actively trying to improve my financial situation, immediately booked an appointment with the bank. My husband and I agreed that, since we’d been paying our mortgage all year without any problems, we should keep paying the same amount.
At the appointment, we not only bumped our payment back up to what it had been (paying an additional $180 on every payment, or an additional $2160/year), we also switched to a biweekly payment plan, with payments equal to half our monthly payment, so that we would be making an additional full payment (plus an additional $180 on that payment) every year.
In that one hour appointment, we watched our projected mortgage end date shrink down to 23 years. One hour of our time saved us 16 years of payments and interest.
It still boggles my mind.
All it cost us was an hour of our time. Well, an hour of our time and $45 for a one-time payment to make the switch possible. I’m not too thrilled about the $45, but I’m not upset about it, either.
Action beats inaction
I’ve read it dozens of times on PF blogs: overpay your mortgage, make an extra payment each year. Blah, blah, blah. Even seeing the occasional calculated example didn’t really drive it home for me. It always felt like I couldn’t be like “those people” — the ones with enough extra money to do fancy things like prepay a mortgage. I was afraid of screwing up, of doing it wrong. However, like J.D. says, action beats inaction, and in this case, he’s 100% correct!
I say thank you, J.D., for having this blog and inspiring me to get off my butt about my personal finances. Without you, I might not have had the drive to make that appointment with the bank that saved me 16 years. Without your blog and your readers, I may have known intellectually what I should have done, but it would probably have seemed out of reach.
I might have been content with my “found” $180/month. I might have handled it responsibly, and used it to pay off debt at least, but I know I wouldn’t have switched to biweekly payments. It seemed like such a hassle. It seemed like such a pain to set up. It felt like it couldn’t possibly be worth my time and energy to shuffle around my schedule, get my husband home from work early and go talk to the bank. Even though I “knew” it was worth it, I didn’t actually believe it until it happened. It was worth it! I had such an amazing feeling as I left the bank!
Have you had such a big payoff from investing a little bit of your time? Can you beat knocking 16 years off the mortgage in one measly little hour? Let us know in the comments!
Reminder: This is a story from one of your fellow readers. Please be nice. After nearly a decade of blogging, I have a thick skin, but it can be scary to put your story out in public for the first time. Remember that this guest author isn’t a professional writer, and is just learning about money like you are.
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