5 Life Lessons From ‘Blue Jasmine’

I’ve been waiting to check out Sundance Cinemas’ newest addition here in Seattle. I’d been looking forward to seeing what they’d done to the lobby, the screens, the seats, the amenities.

I wasn’t disappointed.

No expense was spared: Leather couches, gas fireplaces, nice lighting, food and wine, original works of art, etc.etc. Grown up amenities (it’s 21+!!).

The film I chose to see seemed innocuous enough; Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine‘.

I learned it’s actually a psychologically brutal film. It’s about a Manhattan socialite whose lifestyle and associated means evaporate when her husband is convicted of Fraud and all their assets are seized.

The viewer watches our heroine Jasmine’s life devolve bit by bit until…the ending. A wholly altogether unraveling of her identity, her life, her sanity.

Many Life Lessons here.  These are the ones I walked away with:

1) Know Your Money:  Do you know what you spend money on? Do you know what you are invested in? Do you know where all of your accounts are? Do you know how to access them?  Jasmine, our heroine, did not have the answers to any of these questions.  She had no budget. She had no concept of how much things cost.  She just bought whatever she wanted indiscriminately.  She had no idea what her money was invested in.

2) Never Keep Yourself In The Dark: Jasmine knew something didn’t add up (literally and figuratively) with her husband. But she chose denial.  She just signed whatever her husband put in front of her to sign, without question. She knew the money was too easy and there was lots of it, but she never took the initiative to better understand her husband’s business and resulting income.

3) Stay Relevant:  Jasmine’s world fell apart, taking with it all her assets. She was left trying to figure out how to earn an income for herself.  She hadn’t worked when married.  She had no skills relevant to any occupation.  She didn’t even have the most basic of technology literacy. Please don’t let this be you.  You must, must, must stay relevant in your field or in a new field.  You don’t know what life is going to throw your way.

4) Know Your Needs From Your Wants: When Jasmine flies to San Francisco to stay with her sister, she flies first class.  She has no money.  When her sister asks how she could afford that, Jasmine replies ‘You know me, I just splurge’ .  Oh, Jasmine.   If you don’t know what you need to spend money on vs. what you want to spend money on, you need to start some serious self assessment now to discover the answer to this. I don’t care how much money you make, the rule still applies: Know what you need in order to know what  your discretionary is to buy the fun stuff.

5) Never Put Your Future In Someone Else’s Hands: Investing intimidates you? You don’t understand how it works? You feel stupid asking questions? You leave it up to your husband? Please stop this.  Each of us, as grown ups, are responsible for knowing how to take care of ourselves. That includes financially.  It is critical that you understand how investing works and why to invest. It’s critical that you know where all your marital assets are and how much there is.  There are no stupid questions here only stupid silence and acquiescence. Every day a woman becomes a widow or her husband leaves her. She then is left not only dealing with her new reality, but left exposed with her illiteracy around money because she ‘always left it up to my husband’.  Please don’t be this woman! Please find someone you trust that can walk you through how investing works and that can help you build confidence regarding money.

None of these 5 Life Lessons are difficult, but they do require discipline and courage.

The film had a psychologically brutal ending.  Even though her husband had gone to prison for financial fraud, she still owed it to herself to protect herself to some degree by learning the Life Lessons above.  Once she realized it, it was too late.

 

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