10 Money Lessons from The Mouse


Disney has been in the news lately what with their Fantasyland expansion at Disney World and their recent (and first ever!) fan convention. It got me to thinking about the many Disney movies I’ve watched over the years.

The Disney name has long been associated with groundbreaking animation and wholesome family fare–but beyond the pure entertainment there are also great educational opportunities.

Here are ten money lessons I’ve gleaned from watching Disney classics:

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Although many would decry the anti-feminist message of “Someday, my prince will come…,” the takeaway for me was the positive work ethic of the Seven Dwarfs. Even Grumpy whistled while he worked. Today it’s more likely to be “Twitter while you work,” but the idea of maintaining a good attitude on the job is definitely a good one.
  • Pinocchio – I bet millions of moms have used the “Don’t lie, your nose will grow” line on their kids, but it’s the Pleasure Island Amusement Park sequence that sticks with me. With the promise of an endless supply of fun, games and sweets, Pinocchio indulges in laziness and sloth–eventually turning into a jackass. Literally. The lesson here is that short-term indulgences can have long term consequences, so spend your time (and money!) wisely.
  • Mary Poppins – The no-nonsense nanny had many good lessons to impart, but my favorite actually comes from Mr. Banks and his colleagues at Dawes, Tomes, Mousely, Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank who tell young Michael: If you invest your tuppence
    Wisely in the bank
    Safe and sound
    Soon that tuppence,
    Safely invested in the bank,
    Will compound

    And you’ll achieve that sense of conquest
    As your affluence expands
    In the hands of the directors
    Who invest as propriety demands

  • The Jungle Book – Baloo gives Mowgli a lesson in living within one’s means when he tells him about the “Bear Necessities”: And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
    For something you want that can’t be found
    When you find out you can live without it
    And go along not thinkin’ about it
    I’ll tell you something true
    The bare necessities of life will come to you
  • The Aristocats – Edgar’s evil plot to do away with a quartet of high class cats in order to claim their inheritance is foiled by a streetwise alley cat. Moral: Build your own savings and don’t count on inheritances. And beware of hound dogs….
  • Tron – This video game inspired film not only had a groundbreaking visual style, but delivered prescient warnings about identity theft and computer fraud.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – This innovative combination of live action and animation featured cartoon characters fighting to save Toontown from demolition after owner Martin Acme dies without leaving a will. Actually, Acme DID leave a will–but the lesson is: Keep important financial documents in a safe place known to those you trust and don’t write wills in invisible ink!
  • The Little Mermaid – Although Ariel eventually had her happy ending (these are DISNEY films, after all…), she would have been wise to have thought through her deal with Ursula. Moral: Read the fine print in contracts!
  • Wall-E – It’s hard not to be reminded of our wastefulness and need to recycle after watching the little Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class building piles of trash. As a planet, we really need to keep our consumption in line and recycle wherever and whenever possible.
  • UP – Tying balloons to your house and floating away to a remote rainforest in South America won’t work in the real world, so you better make sure you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to retirement planning.

There you have it: ten money lessons I’ve learned watching Disney movies. If reviewing these animated classics has made you nostalgic, you can always add them to your DVD collection–with some assistance from our Disney Store coupons of course!

What lessons have you learned from the Mouse? Post ‘em in the comments!

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