Harry Potter is a wildly popular fantasy book series written by British Author J.K. Rowling. My fourth grade teacher started reading it to us and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve read every book, some in the matter of only 3 days, and have literally grown up with the characters. The final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, will be premiering Friday, July 15, ending the chronicles of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger.
As much as I’ve learned from these 3 friends, I’ve learned some personal finance lessons from every book or movie. Here are 7 lessons I learned from the 7 installments of Harry Potter
- Sorcerer’s Stone teaches us to leave an inheritance to your children in case you pass away: When Harry was preparing for his first year of Hogwarts, Hagrid took him to Diagon Alley, the shopping area not visible to Muggles (non-magical people). In the wizard bank, Gringotts, Harry found that his deceased parents left him quite a bit of money, which helped him afford his school clothes and supplies. No one knows when they will meet death, and it’s good to have a will and life insurance in place to take care of your kids when you’re gone.
- Chamber of Secrets teaches us to copyright our work: The replacement Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, got fortune and fame from writing books about his battles with dangerous creatures. He admitted to Ron and Harry that he didn’t actually perform the tasks he wrote about in his books, but instead, stole the stories from other wizards who actually fought these creatures. He erased their memories and stole their stories. This happens to a lot of people who don’t properly copyright their work. To protect yourself, make sure you get proper protection for your ideas.
- Prisoner of Azkaban teaches us time is money: In the third part of the series, Hermione has such a full course load, she needs a Time-Turner to get to all of her classes. Although she wasn’t making money, as she was a student, this taught us that you only have a limited time to get things done. Us muggles don’t have Time-Turners so we have to use our time wisely. Don’t waste your time doing something you loathe; do something you love and that will benefit you.
- Goblet of Fire teaches us small entrepreneurship can go big: Two of Ron’s older brothers, twins Fred and George, were known around Hogwarts for their many practical jokes and tricks. They decided to pursue their small business and take entrepreneurship to the next level by starting their own business called Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. The business took on a mail order model where they sell trick items that help students get out of class and even Defense Against the Dark Arts products. Even if you have a small business idea that can service a targeted population like university students, it can be a hit.
- Order of the Phoenix teaches us to find investors to expand your business: During the fifth book, the Weasley twins stormed out of Hogwarts and decided to expand their business. They were able to secure a storefront in Diagon Alley thanks to Harry’s winnings in the Triwizard tournament. If you find the right investors, you can take your business from the kitchen table to its own location! Find people who believe in your vision and you can find the best investors.
- Half Blood Prince teaches us to protect your belongings: Near the end of the sixth book, Dumbledore and Harry set off to destroy some of Voldemort’s belongings in order to destroy pieces of his soul. Voldemort made it quite difficult to get their hands on his possessions by setting up potentially dangerous obstacles around the items. Although it’s our job to hate He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, he teaches us to protect your most prized possessions. You don’t just have to protect them from people, but from natural disasters as well. Find a safety deposit box where you can keep original copies of important documents and family heirlooms.
- Deathly Hallows teaches us to have a good support system: In the final installment, Harry doesn’t even return to school. Instead, he and his friends forgo their last educational year to protect the wizarding world as a whole. Not only Ron and Hermione join Harry on his quest to defeat Lord Voldemort, but more good friends were so supportive, they even lost their lives in the battle. Not saying your friends should put their lives on the line for your finances, but you can only accomplish huge feats like getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, and choosing the right career if you have a support system of family and friends.
Harry Potter has brought joy to the lives of millions, and the end is definitely bittersweet. It’s good that we have some takeaways from the stories, even when it comes to personal finance lessons with our money.