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Financial Lessons From The Movie "Up In The Air"

Tonight, I just finished watching the movie “Up In The Air“.  Of course I borrowed it from the library!  After watching “Men Who Stare At Goats“, I didn’t expect much and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I like it.

Now on to the financial take aways that I gleaned from it.

The protagonist, Ryan (George Clooney) is the ultimate high income, frugal character.  He does his job, doesn’t have any expenses and save everything.  All his meals are charged to the company that he works for.  In fact, he said everything he charges is at the companies expense.  He does this for fame in that once he gets above a certain amount of miles, he gets certain perks and his name will go on a plane in the air industry.  He doesn’t own a home or car or really much of anything, he lives out of his suitcase.  He doesn’t have any friends or relationships other than one night stands.  He makes a ton of money and what the media would consider a huge success, an ideal rich lifestyle.

The problem is he’s over 50 and doesn’t have anything other than his money and his air miles…  It’s really quite sad, seeing someone so rich with nothing to spend the money on.  Oh sure, he is part of the mile high club and has a great time partying, but those are cheap memories that can be accomplished in less than a day.  Having and growing a family takes a lifetime!  While not the typical miser, he is still a sad sight.

The main financial lesson that I learned from the movie is to establish a life balance before it is too late.  There are only certain things you can do for a certain amount of time.  Plan it well, and do it!


13 Responses to Financial Lessons From The Movie "Up In The Air"

  1. I did not see the movie Up In The Air, but I did read the book. Actually, I did not enjoy it, and I think it was because of the reasons you mentioned. The main character seemed so empty and depressing. I kept waiting for redemption or something good and it just never happened. He didn’t even have connections with his siblings. I have to say, I was confused as to how this book ever became a movie.

    However, I think I may be in the minority since the movie won so many accolades.

    You are so right though, focus on life!

  2. I love that movie! But it has such a sad ending. 🙁

    You’re right, airline miles do not replace love and family. Balance is key. I need some of it myself. With trying to do the work of two people out on maternity leave… I feel like a workaholic! And it has to be during summer and spring. *sigh*

    Men Who Stare At Goats was good? Always wanted to see it, but don’t expect much either. Will need to rent now.

  3. @Everyday Tips
    It was sad for my taste too, but I found that it taught a great financial and life lesson. Life is more about money and awards. I kept shaking my head at the bookbag analogy, too bad he figured out that his theory was incorrect so late in life…

  4. @Money Funk
    Nooooo, please don’t get “Men who stare at goats”!!! I thought it was a horrible movie!!!

    Sounds pretty hectic at work… Hopefully, things right themselves.

  5. I haven’t checked this movie out yet, but it sounds like you summed up the main idea of the movie; a life in balance is much fuller than just having money.

  6. @Little House
    Hmmm, trust me it’s still worth seeing! Or at least I enjoyed it. As for what I commented about, hmmm, about 1/4 of the way through the movie or earlier you know the protagonist was what I summarized above.

    The previous week I watched “Men Who Stare at Goats”, so I really expected this George Clooney movie to suck too. I was very suprised when it didn’t. The actresses were great too! Good movie all around.

  7. We saw this on vacation and it is a very good movie. There’s a lot to learn.

    George Clooney did a great job conveying Ryan’s sadness without any words.

  8. @Bucksome Boomer
    So far, this is the best George Clooney movie I’ve seen. I thought he did a great job too. But then again, I think all three of the main characters did a great job in this movie!

  9. I’m not going to read the comments further; going to rent the movie next weekend. From your review, I think the theme is quite old (unhappy rich man, bla, bla) but using the frequent flyer miles as one of the angles is enough to convince me.

    Another airport-related movie I love is The Terminal with Tom Hanks. Well, it does have some lessons in financial savvy-ness, like making money from returning the trolleys back to the bay. Anyway, I’m sure I will rent Up In The Air soon.

  10. @Bytta@151DaysOff
    I liked that one too! But then again, I like a lot of Tom Hanks movies.

    I thought the returning trolleys to make money was clever of him. It’s amazing the opportunities there are out there to make money… Grant it wasn’t much, but it was something. I forgot about that part, thanks for jogging my memory 🙂

  11. […] you see the movie “Up in the Air”? Money Reasons points out the financial lessons in the movie.  If you haven’t seen it yet now you have another reason to rent […]