It’s A Wonderful Life (Financially?)

in Advent, Christmas, Index Fund

When the holiday standard It’s A Wonderful Life was first released it was pretty much panned as being too treakly sweet, and having no substance. The movie languished for many years, but thanks to a disinterest by its distributor, it started being played by local TV stations at Christmas time, and thanks to that it is now the Holiday Standard that it is today.

Amazon

If you wish to purchase this classic from Amazon Click Here


Now the main reason the movie became popular was due to its distributor not charging TV stations to air it, and thus the Local TV had free content to play during Christmas (and thus they made good coin off it with their own advertisements). The rest is history (right Uncle Willy?). There is a great deal to learn about banking in the USA in this movie if you look closely, but that is not the point of this piece. My favorite quote is from Nick talking to

“Hey look, mister. We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint “atmosphere”. Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?”

What does this have to do with Personal Finance and Investing? Indulge me this one is another one of my “Hail Mary” stretches of thematic premise.

Strangely Index Funds have been around for many decades (in one form or another), but it is only in the past 10 years or so (maybe less) that they have suddenly come into vogue.

If you are to believe the media Index Funds started with John Bogle and the Vanguard Group, in fact:

Bogle started the First Index Investment Trust on December 31, 1975

So almost 40 years ago Index Fund investing began. The beginnings were inauspicious, but as with “It’s a Wonderful Life” after many “experts” scoffing at the idea, Index Fund investing (or Couch Potato Investing, or one of its many other names) is mainstream and beloved by investors all over the world (OK, now I am pouring it on a bit thick).

{ 6 comments }

  • D Leonhardt December 3, 2014, 10:31 AM

    That is one of the more memorable quotes from the movie. And right after, as he rings the cash registrar, “Look, I’m making angel wings!” (I probably got that quote somewhat off, but that’s the idea.)

    Reply
    • bigcajunman December 3, 2014, 12:33 PM

      As played by Sheldon Leonard, what a great tough guy! 🔝

      Reply
  • michael December 3, 2014, 2:05 AM

    Speaking as a financial advisor, I know why the financial services industry loves index funds so much, they certainly cut down on work required. They also allow unskilled labor to function semi-efficiently. Notice all the 22 year old financial advisors knocking on your door, they don’t have a clue about finance or investing, but by the magic of index funds, their advice beats most hedge funds.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman December 3, 2014, 5:54 AM

      So what you are saying is that if you are an Index Fund Investor you shouldn’t use a Financial Advisor? Didn’t realize the financial services world loved Index funds that much.

      Reply
  • My Own Advisor December 2, 2014, 8:28 PM

    Yes, a bit thick but your point is well taken 😉
    Mark

    Reply
    • bigcajunman December 2, 2014, 8:33 PM

      Given the movie is a morality play, maybe not as thick as the movie.

      Reply

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