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    11 Great Documentaries That Might Change The Way You Think About Money

    BRB, I'm bingewatching my way to riches.

    1. The Most Important Class You Never Had

    Teacher lecturing high school students on personal finance concepts
    Next Gen Personal Finance / Via youtube.com

    What it's about: This 35-minute film follows eight personal finance educators around the country as they talk with high school students about important financial concepts. Plus the students and teachers also share personal stories about their relationships with money that are honestly super relatable. If you've ever wished you learned more about money when you were in school, this film is a great place to start. 

    Where you can watch it: YouTube

    2. Money Explained

    Life boardgame with square that says start college, borrow $40,000
    Netflix

    What it's about: This limited documentary series by Vox explores five financial topics: get rich quick schemes, credit cards, student loans, gambling, and retirement. And it covers a lot of ground quickly, with super digestible 22-minute episodes. Plus it features narration from celebs like Tiffany Haddish and Jane Lynch. TBH my only critique is that I wish there were more episodes!

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    3. Thinking Money: The Psychology Behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions

    Diagram of different parts of the brain
    PBS

    What it's about: This PBS documentary is all about how our emotions and beliefs impact the decisions we make with our money. This field of study is called behavioral economics, and I think it's absolutely fascinating. The more I learn about how my brain works and how I make decisions, the better I've been able to steer towards positive choices and get past some of my money anxieties — and this doc is a great intro to all of that.

    Where you can watch it: PBS

    4. The Minimalists: Less Is Now

    Computer screen with a pop up that says buy now
    Netflix

    What it's about: This documentary looks at how we can be happier with less stuff, and it really makes you think about how (and why) you're spending your money. While adopting this minimalist lifestyle definitely requires a certain level of wealth, the message I took from the film is to be more mindful about what I buy and ask myself, "Is this something that's meaningful to me?" before I spend. If you're looking for some inspiration to help you cut down on impulse spending, this documentary is worth your time.

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    5. Dirty Money

    Person standing in shadows
    Netflix

    What it's about: This series is all about corporate corruption and greed, so if you're anything like me you'll have to pause frequently for rage-breaks. But with that said, the episode about a shady payday lender in the first season should be mandatory viewing. It shows the devastating effect that these high-interest loans can have on regular people and looks at who's profiting. It's hard to watch, but so important.

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    6. 30 For 30: Broke

    Within two years of retirement, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. Within five years of retirement, and estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke
    ESPN

    What it's about: This installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 looks at professional athletes who made tremendous fortunes and then lost it all. It's unbelievable how many successful athletes later face bankruptcy and other financial issues, but when you hear their stories, it's also totally understandable. This doc really drives home how important it is for everyone to get a solid education in money management.

    Where you can watch it: ESPN

    7. Explained

    Computers linked together from part of an animation showing how bitcoin works
    Netflix

    What it's about: The second doc on this list, Money Explained is actually a spinoff from this series. The original Explained isn't specifically focused on money, but it still has some excellent episodes on financial topics like the rise of cryptocurrencies, the effect billionaires have on the world, and the stock market. 

    Where you can watch it: Netflix

    8. Inside Job

    Foreclosed homes in 2008
    Sony Pictures Classics / Via youtube.com

    What it's about: Curious what really caused the Great Recession back in 2008? This Oscar-winning documentary from 2010 breaks down exactly what happened and why, and it's narrated by a very angry Matt Damon. Many Americans are still feeling the effects of this crisis today, so this documentary feels so much more current than 2010.

    Where you can watch it: Prime Video

    9. Maxed Out

    Couple sitting on their couch looking upset
    Magnolia Home Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    What it's about: This 2006 documentary about credit card debt breaks down how credit card companies make massive profits by preying on lower- and middle-income people, and much of the storytelling comes from regular people sharing how their credit card debt has affected them. There have been some changes to the credit card industry since this movie was released, notably Obama's 2009 credit card reform bill, but many things remain the same. If you're ever tempted to treat your credit card like it's free money, this documentary will make you see credit in a very different light.

    Where you can watch it: YouTube

    10. Leaving LuLaRoe

    Woman talking about her experience with LuLaRoe
    Vice

    What it's about: Multilevel marketing companies lure people into their schemes with promises of financial freedom and the opportunity to "be your own boss." But as these women's stories show, very few people actually see that kind of success, and most people who get involved with MLMs wind up losing money. This documentary from Vice focuses on women who've been involved with LuLaRoe, but their experiences are sadly not unique to that company. 

    Where you can watch it: YouTube

    11. Freakonomics: The Movie

    Magnolia Pictures

    What it's about: Based on the book of the same name, Freakonomics looks at the hidden, psychological motivations that drive our economy. From stories about sumo wrestlers fixing matches to an experiment to see if you can bribe students to get better grades, this doc gets into some interesting subjects and might change the way you think about your own financial decisions.

    Where you can watch it: Prime Video

    Do you know of another great documentary about money? Share your faves in the comments!

    And for more money tips and tricks, check out the rest of our personal finance posts

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