Larry Crowne is a movie starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, as the duo take roles that give the movie its romantic tone.  Larry encounters what seems to be the most devastating of his midlife crisis – he lost his job as a storekeeper at the Umart mall. Prior to his job at Umart, he had served in the Navy as a cook, not having attended college. His lack of college degree left him with quite slim chances of getting some job in the competitive labour market. The movie unravels how he takes up the challenge of attending college to widen his opportunities and ensure a better life. It turns out he would be getting a lot more than he bargained for when he decided to go to college for the first time in his experienced age.

 

I’m actually really surprised that a lot of reviews described the movie as a romantic movie. Well, maybe there’s a bit of romance here and there in the movie as is in most Hollywood movies. But I would like to see the movie from its motivational effect. It shows that one could learn at any stage in life and I think I share that view. I believe we have the right and maybe an obligation to pursue our dreams regardless of age, gender or race. It takes great courage to do so and that’s why those who do stand out as heroes, inspirations and record-bearers. I mean, what else is life about if it’s not about having goals and striving to fulfil them. I believe that’s what gives life meaning and is there anyone who shouldn’t live a meaningful life? And you know sometimes children look at adults as if they’ve got it all figured out. I know sincere adults know how things are that they only strive to go through life with courage and bravery – hoping to overcome their challenges and secure a better future. As Larry soon found out, that it’s not all the bravery and camouflage that solves problems but adequate knowledge. With the things he learnt in college, he was able to make the right decision and get himself out of a long standing debt, even against his financial adviser’s wish.

 

Shortly after Larry lost his job at Umart, he realised that getting a job would be a lot more difficult than he thought, he had to go through personal financial restructuring. He already got himself enrolled in college. On his way back from the college, he stopped by the gas station to fill his car. After he has been filling his car for a while, a couple of scooter riders came into the station. The sound of their scooters attracted him and he kept observing them as they filled their scooters. They left him there still filling his own tank. Then it dawned on him – that’s probably what he needs now! You know that feeling you have when you have always been taking the 40 years-journey route and then you realise that there’s actually a 40-days route some people take and gets them to the same destination. Yeah! That sort of feeling. It seems to me that this kind of realisation can only be made by a man who has been forced by life to keep his mind open, consider all available options and be down-to-earth objective about his choices. Do we have to be in a difficult place before we choose to be discrete about our finances and how we spend what we have?

 

Financial intelligence suggests that you save first, and spend the rest. But it further states that savings isn’t an end in itself but a means to an end. And it is important to ensure that you spend your savings wisely. You must ensure that you acquire more of assets than liabilities. Assets are acquisitions that earn you more money or help you save while liabilities are properties that continually take money from you. Financial intelligence is basically the ability to make right choices and distinctions that will ensure our financial stability and prosperity. And sincerely, look around you, every day you will find people making poor choices regarding their finances. In fact, you could be one of those people who aren’t making the smart financial decision. The big one, being not saving. Not saving means that there would be limited opportunities to make purchases (capital purchases) and investments.

 

One of the mistakes that people make with purchases is buying things they don’t need. But one that is more subtle and easy to fall victim of is that of buying what you don’t necessarily need. In this case, you definitely have a need which you want to satisfy and you have a set of options that could serve that purpose. Although what you choose solves your problem, it is just more useful than you need it for. And in most cases, it costs more than another option which also serves your purpose. Something like a bachelor who lives alone renting a 3-bedroom apartment when he could easily have got a room apartment. Or a lady that goes to buy a 17” Alienware (a very sophisticated laptop) just because she wants to be able to watch movies when she could easily do that on a mobile device. Aside from the fact that these cost more money, they cost more space, take more time and energy to manage and maintain, the properties have been deprived of the ‘more’ that they could offer. The above examples might seem a little extreme, but there are more subtle instances. Instances that have to do with the purchase of dresses, electronic gadgets,  vehicles, etc. You can imagine some people don’t even realise that there’s more they can do with their phones asides making calls, sending texts, checking their favourite social media and snapping pictures. Yet, they use one of the most expensive types of phone. What an expensive waste! Learning to make the best use of the resources at our disposal is a discussion for another day. But if we really want to live the best quality life we need to start being objective and prudent with the things we buy and where our money goes.