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Top Movies & Shows for Financial Advisors to Watch

Hollywood movies provide more than just entertainment. They give great insight into the human mind about crime, greed, love, or hate. Moreover, watching movies is a great way to relieve the stress of the week and pass the time, pandemic or not! 

Movies related to the financial world predominantly reveal the greedy and corrupt nature of specific individuals. We can watch the lead characters chase their goals by aiming to earn big bucks, fast and easy, and making reckless and high-risk financial decisions. All this eventually led to their downfall. 

The following is a collection of some of the best movies and dramas that may interest financial advisors and provide some life lessons for you to bear in mind as you progress in your career as a financial advisor. 

You will Like: How Advisors Deal With High Net Worth Clients

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street Movie banner

Apart from having the dashing and charismatic Leonardo DiCaprio as the male lead, this movie has a lot to offer. Not only does it offer you a good time, but it also holds the fascinating aspect that movies based on true life events usually hold. 

Based on the true-life story of a stockbroker by the name of Jordan Belfort (played by DiCaprio), this movie reveals the enticing nature of the stock market though with a dramatic twist.

Directed by one of the best directors in the industry, Martin Scorsese ensures that amidst the extravagant life of mansions, expensive cars, private jets, and alcohol, the audience is well aware that wealth stems from illegal activities and cheating off clients will always lead to dire consequences. 

Initially, Belfort starts off as a stockbroker who after a major market downfall and loss of employment joins a small business selling penny stocks. Deciding to chase after bigger commissions and targeting high net worth clients, he begins his own firm selling penny and IPO stocks. Greed leads him to rip millions off wealthy clientele while living a life of luxury. However, eventually, this leads him to be noticed by the FBI which starts closing in on his antics.

Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call Movie Banner

One of the most outstanding movies of the financial industry to this time, which was inspired by true events, Margin Call will take you on a roller coaster ride that spans over 24 hours.

One of the few movies which portray the 2008 financial market crisis in the most accurate way possible, this thrilling movie’s inciting incident begins when a risk-management division head is laid off due to the company's downsizing. 

However, the true reason is the major analysis that he had been working on, which reveals how the company could be headed towards a major downfall. The rest is a roller coaster ride with the senior management revealing to take unethical steps to limit their company’s exposure meanwhile, few individuals with a conscious struggle to keep themselves on the right side of the moral boundary lines. 

The message to be gained from the movie is that investors should well understand where their money is being invested. Rather than investing in a single product, your portfolio should be diversified. Moreover, be aware of assets sold at a heavily discounted price (also known as a fire sale.) The “buy low, sell high” mantra doesn’t always end well and you might want to ask “Why exactly are they selling so low?” Also, expect the highs and lows in the financial industry. Most of the time, a crisis can be managed by being in it for the long game and holding out with patience rather than making impulsive decisions.

Boiler Room (2000)

Boiler Room Movie Banner

Although a work of fiction, this movie is based on very realistic “pump and dump” schemes carried out by advisors who love selling hard and earning high commissions.

As like in most movies related to the finance world, it shows how greed and corruption can lead even 19-year-olds with only the desire to prove themselves to their fathers, to get involved in illegitimate trading activities. 

The movie stars Giovanni Ribisi as Seth Davis, a college dropout, who is attempting to live up to his father's expectations and in doing so decides to put an end to the illegal casino he has been running from his apartment and instead gets hired as a broker. His charisma and talent for “sweet talk” led to him being highly successful at selling products hard and fast.

However, he eventually begins to question the legitimacy of the business while placing himself in a tough position with his father again. Will Seth be lured by the big commissions he finds himself raking in or will he take the high moral ground for you to find out. 

Ozark Drama Series (2017 - 2022)

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If watching a one to the two-hour-long movie for entertainment about the temptations of greed and questionable morals of the financial world isn’t enough, you can always opt for drama series to binge on for hours.

One of the most popular drama series currently running would be Ozark. Although, this series instead of highlighting the shady schemes and corruption often carried out by the advisors and traders, is about “shady” clients. However, which eventually does lead to “shady schemes” carried out by Marty Byrde, the financial advisor.

Although the scheme is almost borderline unrealistic (though it makes for a highly entertaining dark comedy,) both financial advisors and clients can take away certain lessons from the series. 

Where money is involved, always make sure to vet the other party, and no, seeing a passport as a reliable credential isn’t enough. Furthermore, look for warning signs. Cash should not be exchanged between client and advisor. An advisor is meant to act as an intermediary during trade, so any requests for cash should raise alarm bells. In addition, know where your money is going.

It is your advisor's duty to explain and inform you exactly where and what is happening with your money. Perform your due diligence and do some side research, after all, it is your life’s savings that are on the line. 

Billions Drama Series (2016 - 2022)

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This series has much to offer in terms of realistic scenarios as certain plot lines are inspired by true-life events. The drama revolves around the life of a hedge fund manager named Bobby Axelrod who, much like the protagonists of most television entertainment related to the finance world, is captivated by the wealth and power of the finance industry. However, this means conducting business mostly through questionable means. 

As Axelrod accumulates wealth, he frequently crosses paths with United States attorney Chuck Rhoades who aims to use the power of law to bring down the hedge fund manager. The drama series is all about a struggle for power between the two main figures as one uses money while the other laws bring the other down. 

This drama series was inspired by Preet Bharara, an actual  United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan from 2009 to 2017. In 2013 Bharara led the prosecution of the hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen of S.A.C Capital Advisors. 

This show combines the world of wealth and law to demonstrate that even in the real world, corruption and influence have serious consequences. Certain invaluable lessons can be gained throughout the various plotlines of the drama for financial advisors to make a note of. 

For one, it doesn’t matter if you studied finance at Harvard or law at Stanford, in the end, whoever knows more is the winner. In simple terms, knowledge is power and if you lack the right knowledge you will be left behind. Therefore, as an advisor, you should be well informed of where you are planning to invest your client’s money.

Also, know that in the end, it is the long game that is important. A few small losses will be nothing more than a speeding ticket if, in the long run, you win the big game and for that, you are required to be patient and not allow your client to make decisions based on emotions. 

Final Remarks

Whoever said, “Money makes for great television” was absolutely right. The life of a financial advisor can be tough and exhausting. However, the hard work and strong dedication towards ensuring their clients are provided with the best services possible should require that advisors enjoy some downtime over the weekend. 

All Movie/Show information and posters are taken from