Happy Friday everyone! First, I need to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for the outstanding warmth and emotional support shown to me after Wednesday’s post. With that said, the tone around here has been altogether a bit too serious for my taste so I thought I’d do a fun post about my favorite (FAVORITE!) show, Downton Abbey. There are a lot of financial lessons we can learn from the privileged Crawley family and I wanted so share them here.
Five Financial Lessons from Downton Abbey
1. Diversify Your Portfolio
Poor Lord Grantham made investing mistake #1: NEVER put all of your eggs into one basket. He used to be one of my favorite characters up until that point, but now I’m left questioning how
inbred intelligent he is. If you happened to catch the season three premier last weekend (if you didn’t, what the f*** else were you doing on Sunday?) you know what I am talking about: he put 90% of his investment portfolio in a Canadian Railway Company that went bankrupt, leaving him equally penniless. If you haven’t begun investing yet, you should. At least a retirement account if not a PBA. Then for Pete’s sake don’t EVER invest in just one company or fund. #endrant.
2. Less is More
I think one of the most scintillating things about Downton Abbey isn’t what the characters are saying, but what they’re not saying. Everything about the show is understated, the costumes, the character’s emotions, the sexuality of it.
Flip this on its head and think about the pure excess these individuals live in daily. Having a house that big seems like such a headache and burden (Lord Grantham has said as much in almost every.single.episode). Even though they have a full staff of servants to take care of things, no one could live like that today-it is just not sustainable. I shudder to think how much food gets wasted after each lavish meal, how much energy they are wasting having to heat and provide electricity for the entire estate.
Houses today are MUCH larger than they were in the 50′s and 60′s. Even those built in the 80′s seem tiny compared to today’s standards. Watching Downton Abbey makes me wonder what is so wrong with living in a small house with a simpler lifestyle.
3. Money Can’t Buy Love
Just because you are the daughter of an earl doesn’t mean you’ll find love…or even a husband. Poor Lady Edith seems to always be unlucky in love.
Even Sybil bucked the trend by marrying WAY beneath her, by running away with Branson, the driver. (Although, he is pretty swell to look at). Her father even had a dalliance with a maid last season.
The lesson here being that just because you have money doesn’t always guarantee a happily ever after.
4. You should probably have some sort of Retirement/Disability Savings….
Mrs. Pattmore nearly escaped a horrible fate when Lord Grantham sent her to London to have eye surgery. Thankfully it was a condition that could have been fixed, but what would she have done if she’d lost her sight? I love the juxtaposition of the show between the family of the house and the servants who work for them. I believe it is what makes the show so riveting. Still, how are the servants preparing for retirement? They can’t work in the massive mansion full of stairs until they are 90 years old (although I’m sure Carson will try….). Where would they go? What would they do? How would they take care of themselves if no longer able to work?
Even Mrs. Hughes had to come to terms with these questions last week as she dealt with a breast cancer scare. You don’t want to be like that. Start saving for emergencies and for your end of days.
Didn’t that just sound SO downton? 5. Get a Pre-Nup
Times have changed since 1920, but nearly all the drama on Downton Abbey seems to circulate around money and marriages. I’m not saying it’s fair that the women who had money didn’t get to keep it and pass it along to their daughters, but look at Mr. Bates. Had he gotten a pre-nup he probably wouldn’t be sitting in prison right now.
In those days, marriage contracts were usually only beneficial to the men, but these days EVERYONE should have one, even if you don’t think you have assets to lose. It doesn’t mean you won’t have assets one day. Back then having a written contract before marriage was just a part of doing business, of joining families. These days it is still considered a taboo topic by some, an affront to romance. Take a lesson from the Brits and be a bit more practical. Or if you are searching for a modern day version of what a pre-nup can do for you just look to Kim Kardashian. Her marriage contract with Kris Humphries saved her MILLIONS of dollars.
Although Kim still might be MARRIED when she gives birth to Baby Kimye. Apparently she and Humphries might have to go to court to settle the terms of their marriage, which means she’d still be legally married to him by the time the baby is born. I don’t have to tell you that is a little trashy and weird, and if this were 1920′s London, she’d be kicked out of Downtown Forever.
I hope you guys enjoyed the silly post-have a GREAT weekend!