I love to watch old sitcoms on TV Land and Nick at Nite. They’re like comfort food for the brain. I’ve seen the episodes already so there’s no suspense, and I certainly don’t expect to learn anything.
But sometimes they surprise me.
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching reruns of The Nanny. In the episode “Close Shave”, Fran is having trouble paying her credit card bills.
Here’s the conversation between Fran and Niles:
- Fran: I have to pay my American Express because if I buy a piece of gum, the S.WA.T. team storms the building. Meanwhile, I pay my MasterCard with my Discover Card, my Discover card with my Optima Card, My Optima Card with my City Trust Visa.
- Niles: But doesn’t that leave a very high balance on your Visa?
- Fran: Exactly! And that’s why they gave me an espresso machine which I sell to pay off my American Express, thank you.
This reminded me of the Cosby episode “Theo’s Holiday.” It’s the one where Theo wants to move out using money from a modeling career (that he doesn’t have). Cliff and the family show him the real costs of living on his own.
For sitcoms, these episodes are very realistic in the way they portray people who are uninformed about money. But, the solutions weren’t realistic at all. How nice would it be if we could solve our problems in 23 minutes just like they do on TV?
Now, imagine you’re a child watching the same episodes for the first time. What would you learn? There’s a telling discussion on TV.com.
How will your kids learn about money? Will they learn from TV, or because you took the time to teach them like Theo’s family taught him? What about yourself? You’re old enough to know that your problems won’t magically go away like Fran’s. Be informed and make informed choices that are right for you.
People want their finances to be perfect – like a TV show. But most of us don’t go from a plan to success by receiving a windfall. There’s usually a long journey and detours in the road. What matters most is how you get yourself back on track. Keep yourself moving forward towards your goal and you will accomplish it.
And, if you need a little comfort, try an old sitcom. They’re cheap, there are no calories and you might learn something… but don’t count on it.