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The Shawshank Redemption – A Personal Finance Story

Shawshank Redemption – A Personal Finance Story

I just finished watching the The Shawshank Redemption after buying it at Target for $5.00 (money very well spent)!  I’ve seen it many times before, but it’s a great movie and worth watching again and again!

This article about The Shawshank Redemption – A Personal Finance Story will be a spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie.  And if you haven’t seen the movie, please do so…  I think you will find that it’s worth it since it is the top ranked movie of all time (according to top 250 movies).

Unusual Setting

If you were to tell me that I would like a movie about a successful, honest, good person wrongfully accused of killing his wife and her lover, and that during the movie he would repeatedly get brutally gang raped, I would have said you’re nuts!

I would have thought is was a documentary that was going to depress the hell out of me!  But I was wrong!  I watch the move after it was recommendation from a friend that said it was better than it sounded (I missed it when it came out in the theater…).  And she was right!

Hope – The Magic of the Story of The Shawshank Redemption

Andy the main character loses his wife, money, job, becomes imprisoned, get repeatedly brutally ganged raped (which thankfully we don’t see), has a good friend shot, and more than once gets beat so bad that he has to be in the infirmary for long periods.

Doesn’t sound like the typical uplifting movie does it?  But it is.  The thing that makes “The Shawshank Redemption” different is hope, a solid plan and perseverance.  I have to admit, Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors) being in the movie sure doesn’t hurt the story either!

The Center of the Story

All these bad things that happened to Andy and yet in the end, he ended up free, in paradise with more money than at least the top 2% of the U.S. population for that time period.  You’d think being in prison this couldn’t happen to Andy, but in the story it did!  You see, Andy was smart and even in prison, he had value. 

He displayed this value to one of the officers for a bucket of beer to share with friends while doing a roofing job, and eventually he was doing the tax returns for the entire prison, including the warden.  Eventually the warden wanted more from Andy.  So Andy started helping the warren to skim off of the top and make it so that the transactions weren’t traceable to the warden!

Then one day, potential evidence come up by another prisoner that Andy was innocent!  The warden pissed Andy off by ignoring this information and killing the prisoner that was Andy’s one ticket out of the joint.  Andy had a contingency plan, and after a few more months escaped, withdrawing the warren’s corrupt money, and sent the paper work incriminating the warden to various agencies causing the warden to take his own life in the end.

Inspiration from The Shawshank Redemption

  • Always look for opportunities, and if they don’t exist make your own, not matter how far-fetched!
  • Never give up, even when you are living in hell.
  • Always believe in yourself, even when others are saying “No it’s not possible”.  Or tell you to give it up.
  • Focus on your main plan and have a contingency plan!  Meticulously work away at it a small bites (or rock chips) at a time!
  • Make friends, and have a good support system.  It doesn’t have to be huge, just big enough to get accomplished what you are striving to do.
  • Respect others, no matter what their educational, social or intelligence levels.  They can still be beneficial to you in ways unforseen and you can benefit them too.  Not to mention having fun times sometimes.
  • Give the above line, still try to find a group with similar thoughts and ambitions.
  • Sometimes you can make change happen just be being sociable and taking intelligent risks.  But it can be dangerous (Andy almost got thrown off of a roof), but when you don’t have much to lose, it could be well worth it!
  • Andy is the proverbial turtle (albeit with a ball and change attached) in a race with a bunch of invisible, free hares.  Andy found a short cut that enabled him to beat the hares he never sees.  Sometimes, being unconventional works, if it makes sense and you continually work at it.
  • Hope and a solid plan can make a huge difference as you go thru life.  Make the best of it even when the setting is less than optimal.

The Shawshank Redemption, the Perfect Personal Finance Story

Everybody love “Fight Club” (including me), but while a great story, that’s not the answer and if it ever did happen, we all would suffer greatly for it.

No so with the Shawshank story!!! 

You see, indirectly, The Shawshank Redemption is about financial freedom!  The main character goes through hell, but through paying attention and taking advantages of opportunities (and seeking out those opportunities), Andy escape from prison and become financially independent.

Yes, it’s an unconvential way to become financially independent, but isn’t the path of entrepreneurship the same kind of unconventional road?

There are similarities between us working stiffs stuck in a cubicle, or an assembly line, or whatever and the prisoners being in prison!

Even the example of Brooks demonstrates Andy’s superior financial acumen!  Brooks just kind of drifted through prison not trying to improve anything including himself, much like many of us do in our working lived.  We do the status quo and just skim by.  Eventually he retires from the prison, and then retires from life.  Sad, but similar to many that retire later in life and just fade away.

But Andy had a contingency plan, one that enabled him to escape from prison and become financially independent.

If you’ve seen the movie, do you see any similarities be Andy’s story and becoming financially independent?  Or am I in left field on this one?


To read about  The Shawshank Redemption – Lessons Learned, clicking here.

15 Responses to The Shawshank Redemption – A Personal Finance Story

  1. I love Shawshank! Tis one of my top 5 movies ever!

    You are very right, there is a lot of life lessons to learn in the movie. You have motivated me to re-watch it. (I just saw Slingblade again the other day, another classic.)

  2. I love this movie as well. I too wrote about the financial implications of the movie, probably more to discuss the movie than because I saw such strong correlations. That said, there’s something about the movie that truly resonates with the soul. Thanks for the review. FREEDOM!

    • Yeah, it’s a great movie. In the past I blogged about it too, but I didn’t really put the financial independence overlay on top of it as a comparison…

      The kicker is in mexico, the buck even goes further, so really he would be equivalent of over the top 1% of the population with respect to wealth.

      I like Red’s “I hope” speech at the end too, but the post was already getting pretty lengthy. There is a lot of good stuff in that movie!

  3. Hope has got to be one of the most powerful feelings ever. I think that’s why people love my Babci stories. She’s gone through hell and back and you’d never know it given her positive outlook on things. It is a good movie and I love your interpretations of the lessons.

    • Yeah, your Babci stories are the real deal though! Truly inspirational.

      I watch “The Shawshank Redemption” every so often, and each time I take aways something from it. It deserves to be the top movie on IMDB’s list!

  4. Ha ha, classic! I love this movie!! Andy was smart, determined and didn’t let his circumstances stand in his way to freedom!

    • Agreed. The funny thing is I never though about him retiring rich in Mexico! But the story has him doing exactly that! And I’m sure he bought a small hotel down there too! Awesome ending, especially after crawling through the tunnel…