Documentaries can provide us with both education and insight. The best documentaries give us new information that is thought provoking enough to inspire us to change our own habits. If money is something that matters to you then the following documentaries may have a powerful impact on your way of life.

  • Maxed Out. This 2006 documentary discusses debt from a variety of different perspectives. Debt is the most difficult money issue that we struggle with as individuals as well as collectively as a nation. There is a lot to be explored about it and this film touches on many of the most important aspects.
  • In Debt We Trust. This is another valuable film about debt. It shows how in the past we relied on help from our communities whereas now we rely on financial assistance from a group of people. It also highlights how that group of people is getting smaller and smaller and how this has big implications for our personal and collective futures.
  • What Would Jesus Buy? This is a funny film by Morgan Spurlock (the documentary filmmaker known best for his film Super Size Me). It provides a great silly look at American consumerism particularly around the Christmas holidays. Those holidays are coming up so now might be a good time to let this film put you in your place!
  • Born Rich. This film is all about young adults who are on the verge of inheriting millions of dollars from their rich relatives. We often imagine that if we had enough money we wouldn’t have problems. This film serves as a reminder that everyone has issues to deal with. The real key is to solve your own situation with money rather than to try to gain more of it!
  • Capitalism: A Love Story. One of the most well known documentary filmmakers of all time is the controversial Michael Moore. This is his documentary about capitalism. Although it has a political bent instead of a personal one it definitely provides some thought provoking information about money.
  • The End of Poverty? This is another political movie that discusses the issue of poverty in developing nations. This may not aid you in personal finance issues but is an important money topic nonetheless.
  • I.O.U.S.A. If the issue of the nation’s debt interests you then this film is one to watch.
  • The Ascent of Money. This PBS documentary (which you can stream for free online) provides a concise history of the evolution of money. Money is a powerful political tool and understanding this can be beneficial to each of us.
  • Bling. This is a film about the how important “bling” is in hip hop and yet how terrible an impact diamond harvesting has on people around the world. Although this topic may not be particularly appealing to you it does serve as a very powerful reminder about how the consumer choices that we make have an impact on others.
  • The Amish: A People of Preservation. Although this PBS documentary isn’t specifically about money, it does show a simpler way of life that is often appealing to people who choose to live a frugal non-consumer lifestyle.
  • Hoarders. This documentary television show is all about people who have a mental health problem that causes them to hoard items. It discusses shopping compulsions and the difficulty of letting go of material things that we think that we need. Even if you don’t have this problem, you may discover some useful tips and tricks to help limit your shopping, spending and compulsive keeping of things. Additionally, the messes this show documents can inspire a desire for minimalism in you!
  • Hoarding: Buried Alive. This is another television show that is strikingly similar to (and just as powerful as) Hoarders.
  • Secrets of Money. This film hasn’t yet been released but it looks like a promising film if it does eventually come out. It’s about financial illiteracy in America and what roles schools should play in educating us about personal finance issues.

Have you seen any of these money films? Do you have any others to add to the list? Contribute in the comments!