I streamed Blank Check on Netflix the other day.
You remember Blank Check?
The movie from the 90s where a kid accidentally receives a blank check from a bad guy and goes on a wild spending spree.
He hires a chauffeur, buys a mcMansion next door to his parent’s house, and ultimately blows through a million dollars in a few days.
In the end, he realizes that family is what’s important and he goes back to his parent’s house to be a normal kid again.
Well, sort of.
He actually runs out of money, realizes that the 30 year-old he’s trying to date is just not interested, and then the police show up and break up the massive party he’s throwing, sending him running home.
If you want to jog your memory, here is the Thrillist version of what happened in Blank Check – I Watched Blank Check And My Childhood Is Ruined.
The lesson that 90s me learned from this movie was…
I actually have no idea what I took away from Blank Check in the 90s. Maybe just that being a millionaire looks like a blast.
It looked like one of those Toys R Us contests I always wanted to win.
You know, the ones where the kids get five minutes to run through the Toys R Us store and stuff whatever they can fit into their carts.
#90sKidGoals right there
I’m pretty sure they only got to keep the toys if they made it to the checkout line in five minutes.
Although if that was true, no kid in America would have actually won the contest.
Well played, Toys R Us!
That takes me to another 90s kid classic, Richie Rich.
You know, the movie in which Macaulay Culkin is well, rich.
I don’t remember anything about that movie beyond the fact that it looked really fun to have a mansion and a big pool.
Some googling tells me that Richie Rich also had a McDonalds AND a rollercoaster in his house. Epic!
What Do You Think Happens When A Generation Wants to Grow Up To Be Richie Rich?
People harp on millennials being awful but these were the movies we were watching in our childhood.
Instead of learning how to deal with being the middle child from Jan Brady, we were watching rich kids go wild.
We didn’t have the best examples growing up, so give us a break!
We’re All Fascinated With Rich People
It’s not just us millennials though.
America in general is fascinated with rich people.
New York Times – Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV And in the Movies?
Time.com – Have We Become Too Obsessed With the Rich?
The last article from Bloomberg actually suggests that we should make a fantasy football league for billionaires because people are so obsessed.
Interesting, but I’ll pass.
I’m already in one for The Bachelorette! 😉
Seriously though, we’re all very interested in other people’s money.
I know I like reading personal finance blogs that reveal very personal financial information.
Rockstar Finance Net Worth Tracker, anyone?
I’m guilty of sorting by net worth and looking at the million dollar bloggers. Have you? Caught you!
How Do We Reverse the Culture for the Next Batch of Kids?
It’s too late for Gen Z.
It’s just not going to happen for them. We’ve all seen it. 😉
What about the generation coming up behind them though and the generation after that?
What if we idolized and made kids movies about people like Mr. Money Mustache and not Richie Rich?
Could we make frugality cool?
Although, is that kind of like dressing up broccoli in a McDonald’s bag?
Or like when my Mom would put tomato sauce on meatloaf and call it “pizza meatloaf?”
C’mon, Mom. I know what you’re trying to do!
Can we make things that are good for you ‘cool enough’ that kids will want to adopt them?
We Could Scare The Crap Out of Them
I don’t know about you but those 90s anti-smoking commercials were terrifying.
When I was really young, I didn’t understand the concept of aging and thought that the woman just turned old when she had one puff of a cigarette.
When I was a little older, I could only picture my grandmother with a hole in her neck. FRIGHTENING.
Those commercials were effective for me.
Instead of showing the heroes, maybe we need to show kids images of people who have been wrecked by poor financial decision-making.
Scare the consumerism right out of them!
Although, something doesn’t seem right about that, either.
Maybe Times Are Changing On Their Own
If you saw 21 Jump Street, you would see that high school nowadays is pictured a bit differently than it used to be.
It’s now cool to care about the environment among other things previously seen as uncool.
I LOVE THAT.
It’s also cool to be geeky and to label yourself a geek!
(Although, the geeks are getting mad about that. If you want to get fired up about an article, read this one about the “Fake Geek Girls.” Apparently, being a true geek is an exclusive club in 2017. Who would have guessed?!).
What do you think?
How do you instill good financial values in kids?
Do we have to make it “cool” in some way? Scare them? Let it be?
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