The award-winning Canadian TV comedy Schitt’s Creek showcases the downfall of the wealthy Rose family. After their fortune is taken away, they are left to rebuild in a tiny, ramshackle town. It is there, removed from the ease of wealth, that they learn to love and work with one another.
Though humorous, many can learn lessons from the Rose family, hopefully, before your own finances reach such dire straits. With that in mind, here are four financial lessons from Schitt’s Creek.
Understand Your Finances
The Rose family spent their fortune without regard. Not only that, they had no idea what was happening with their wealth. The trouble that their business manager got into with their money, for example, was prime evidence of their negligence. Don’t be like the Roses, and stay on top of your financial accounts.
Smart financial oversight is easier to achieve than one might think. Organizing your finances starts with a few smart steps. These include:
- Reviewing your monthly financial needs (and adapting your budget to meet the changes).
- Using tech and apps to make it easy.
- Paying bills immediately (and always on time).
- Creating a specific bill-paying account.
Of course, you should always track your finances via a budget, as well. Budgeting allows you to watch and determine where your money is going. It can also showcase unnecessary spending, including subscription services.
Budgeting makes it easy to direct your money where it’s needed the most. There are many apps to help you budget. You can also follow common budgeting styles, including the 50/30/20 rule, or the 30/30/30/10 rule. These, and other budgeting systems, determine how much of your monthly funds go to specific locations.
For example, in the 50/30/20 rule, 50% of your income is used for things you need, including rent, food, and bills. Another 30% is used for wants. The final 20% is used to pay off debts or toward savings. These can be personalized any way you’d like, but make sure you follow them. Before you know it, you’ll have greater control over your spending and your finances.
Own Your Life, and Your Finances
The Roses loved their things. However, they hated losing all of their possessions even more. Your belongings are important to you—and that’s okay. Still, you should try to live a life of perspective. Don’t allow yourself to become so attached to your items that you can’t get rid of them if needed. If you aren’t using something, then resell it or donate it.
Think about moving dusty items out of your house. Start with the storage spaces. See if you can go without that unused futon for a year. If not, bring it back. Otherwise, consider selling it online. If you have valuable items, look into getting them appraised. Or, open an online seller’s account on eBay or similar sites. If you’re decluttering your life, you might as well get paid for it, if you can.
Once your space is clearer, consider turning inward. Specifically, make sure that your job is worth it. Money is important, and finding a well-paying job with benefits is the goal for many people. However, don’t neglect your mental health just for a job. Whenever possible, find a career that is financially and mentally fulfilling.
Switching careers or starting a job can be daunting, but personal wellness and growth should be your focus. First, look for jobs that match your desires and passions. Identify what would make you happy. From there, narrow those jobs down by the pay you desire. Some careers may quickly help you reach financial security; others may take time. No matter the choice, make sure that your decisions make financial sense.
Learn How to Spend and Save
In Schitt’s Creek, eldest son David needed some extra time to get used to his new means. And even though he nearly sent the Blouse Barn (the Rose family business) into bankruptcy, he eventually learned smart spending. Though most of us won’t have such issues, learning to spend within your means is nevertheless essential for improving your finances.
Ideally, if you have debt or other financial obligations, they should be taken care of after the essentials, but before any other wants. The balance of wants vs. needs is crucial for budgeting and smart finances. However, it can be more accessible by following these steps:
- Start a budget (like the 50/30/20 method mentioned above).
- Identify unneeded expenses (including apps and subscriptions).
- Cut out a couple of expensive behaviors (for example, switch to home-brewed coffee).
- Divert those funds toward debts or savings.
- Reassess after a few months (or whenever your means change).
Saving for the future is always important. Even if you’ve paid off your debts, it can be smart to keep your “wants expenses” low. If you’re already trained to keep your spending low, then shift your budget into long-term wealth mode. Consider investment accounts, a stock portfolio, or even real estate. Find a professional advisor and learn the ropes of making your money work for you.
Get Smart About Your Credit
In Schitt’s Creek, David wasn’t going to let the loss of the family fortune get in the way of his skincare. So, he paid for his special Parisian eye cream with credit. The card still worked, after all.
David’s misunderstanding resulted in our laughter. For many, though, credit remains a mystery and a potential financial pitfall. David’s belief of credit somehow being free money is held by many people. And often, it leads to ever-increasing debt. If, like David, you’ve made credit mistakes in the past, then fear not. There are several ways to take control and start recovery.
First, consider a secured credit card. They help build credit like standard cards, but their credit lines are set with an initial secured deposit. This allows you to keep your spending within your means. As well, with a lower credit limit, you’ll be able to stay on top of your credit usage, and use it as a tool to build your credit.
A strong credit score is important for most major financial situations. From car loans to buying a house, you need to have a good credit score. Higher credit scores lead to:
- More favorable financial terms and offerings
- Lower interest rates
- Less money needed for down payments
Good credit will also save money. Lower interest rates will cost less over the life of a loan. Plus, you’ll be able to borrow larger amounts if you are a more favorable lendee. Don’t feel that you need to start fast. Having good credit comes easier once you’ve learned to control your finances.
Take the lessons of the Rose family to heart. It is never too late to reinvent your financial self. Get on top of your finances. Create a budget and track your spending. And clear out the old bits of your life that you don’t need anymore.
Once you’re ready, start trimming away your debt with smart spending and savvy saving. Control your credit usage with smart choices and secured cards. Finally, when you’re back on top, use your new financial skills to harness the power of long-term savings. Now is the time to take back control of your life.