I love watching television. Some people consider it low-brow but I think that there are some great educational, informative shows on the little screen, especially coming out in the past few years.
I’m the first to admit that I love reality TV and docuseries. Yes, they can be over-the-top and ridiculous. I don’t necessarily think that they’re “true” in the sense of being unedited or exact. However, I do think that they give us an overall true picture of a variety of different topics. Money is one of those topics.
There are so many great TV shows about money. These are not your Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman educational shows about money management, but you’ll be surprised to discover that you can learn a lot from them anyway.
TV Shows About Financial Crimes
These are TV shows about money and how it can go wrong. More specifically, they’re about how greed can lead people to commit financial crimes that ruin not only their lives and the lives of those closest to them but also unsuspecting victims. These television shows can teach us about how to avoid problems with money by sharing the warning signs of scams.
Somehow I had gone years without hearing about American Greed. My brother had the show on at his house and as soon as I saw it, I was hooked. I headed online and watched all eleven seasons in short order. This is about the dark side of money. It’s a true crime show and each episode shares 1-2 stories about someone whose greed has caused them to commit scams, fraud, or even violent crime.
Many of us want “a little bit more” or occasionally feel the pull of a “get rich quick scheme.” American Greed shows us what can happen if we give in to those urges. Watching it can help keep our own greed in check. Plus it can make us aware of the most common types of scams out there so that we can avoid them. That may help protect our own finances. After all, if you know the warning signs for Ponzi schemes, religious investment scams, and other types of financial fraud, then you’re less likely to become a victim.
If you like American Greed then you’ll probably also like Pink Collar Crimes. They’re similar tv shows about money in many ways. This one, however, focuses specifically on the stories of average women who end up committing financial crimes. This is another true crime TV show that reveals what led up to the woman committing the crime, how the crime played out, and what happened next. In one episode, a financial planner convinces almost everyone she knows to let her “help” them with her money only to end up stealing it from them. There are also stories about embezzlers, fraudulent psychics, and coupon scams.
This is a Netflix Original and each episode reveals one striking example of corporate corruption. For example, one episode tells the story of how big pharmaceutical companies, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals, immorally hike the rates of important medications up to exorbitant prices that regular people simply can’t afford. Watching shows like this can make me angry sometimes. However these TV shows about money help me better understand important national and global issues related to finances. With more information, consumers can call for change.
TV Shows About Finding a Deal
There are a lot of docuseries or reality TV shows out there that involve spending money, usually in an effort to get a really good deal on something. Each one takes its own slant on the topic.
People store their things in storage lockers. Then they fail to pay the bills. When they do, the items inside those bins go up for auction. There are people all around the nation who go to those auctions. They implement a variety of tricks to figure out what to bid on. Sometimes they get great deals. On the other hand, sometimes they end up with a bunch of junk. This reality TV show lets us see all aspects of that.
When people need money, sometimes they pawn their items. If you’ve never thought much about this before, the history of pawn shops is actually a pretty interesting aspect of finance. It’s basically a form of credit. This particular TV show is about one family-owned pawn shop. They come across some interesting things, and we as viewers get a chance to see what different material items are “worth.”
Thinking about Pawn Stars automatically makes me think about Antiques Roadshow. It’s probably the longest-running TV show about money out there. Like Pawn Stars, it’s about the worth or value of things. Specifically, this one is about antiques. People dig into their attics or buy things at estate sales hoping they are worth a lot of money. The folks at Antiques Roadshow appraise the items.
These people take grocery shopping with coupons to the next level. They stockpile. They buy hundreds of items and barely spend a penny. It’s astounding. And although most of us won’t make couponing a full-time job, we can certainly learn a few tips about money-saving from each episode.
If you want to learn about taking frugal living and minimalism to the extreme then this is one of the best TV shows about money for you. From dumpster diving for wedding decorations to using test-ride equipment at sports stores to forego the gym, these people do everything possible to pinch a penny.
TV Shows About Rich People’s Lives
I don’t watch too many tv shows about how rich people live. However, there are a lot of them out there. If you’re interested in seeing how people with wealth and status enjoy their money then there are plenty of options out there. Almost any reality show about celebrity lives will show you that.
I will make note of one specific show in this category because it’s one I’ve watched: The Real Housewives of New York City. I mention it because what I like isn’t just that it’s about their fancy lives. It’s also about how these women earn their own money. Several of the women start or run their own businesses during the duration of the series. While they certainly have connections and opportunities that not all of us may have access to, I do think it provides insight into some aspects of entrepreneurship. I haven’t seen the other Housewives shows but I assume some of them offer this type of insight as well.
Other TV Shows About How Rich People Live
Just a few additional examples of these types of shows include:
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians and all of the family’s spin off shows
- Vanderpump Rules
- Shahs of Sunset
- Southern Charm
- Basketball Wives and WAGS (about people married to famous athletes)
- #RichKids of Beverly Hills
- Below Deck
Plus, of course, we can’t leave this category without going old school and mentioning the 1980’s show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Other TV Shows About Money
Some tv shows about money don’t fall into any of the above categories.
Hoarders isn’t about money per se. However, it touches on money in several ways, not the least of which is the problem of consumerism. Hoarding is a mental health issue, and the people in this show are severely mentally ill. They literally hoard themselves out of their homes because they can’t bear to get rid of their stuff. Sometimes they are compulsive shoppers so there is a debt element to the show. Other times, they have plenty of money, but they simply can’t ever let go of anything. It speaks to important questions about material items, consumption, what we consider valuable, and so forth. It also digs into the psychology of “stuff” and how that impacts (and is impacted by) our closest relationships.
This is a new reality TV show. It somewhat falls into the category above because it does showcase the lives of some very rich people. But it’s really more of a relationship show so it’s not quite the same as those other reality TV shows. This show is all about people who are super rich and are in relationships with people who aren’t. Usually the poorer person is also much younger. So, this reveals a lot about the power dynamics of money in relationships and what our culture values in terms of money in marriage.
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