Financial Lessons from Breaking Bad

breaking-bad-logoSPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t watched through season four of Breaking Bad, proceed with caution. There may be information land mines ahead.

Breaking Bad follows the life of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to cook and sell crystal meth to have something to leave his family. He teams up with a wayward former student and together (with Walter’s genius chemistry) they unwittingly become drug kingpins. Breaking Bad pulls no punches and can be brutal to watch, but it never glamorizes its world or characters and instead plays as a modern morality tale about greed, deception, and the perils of drugs as Walter spirals out of control and brings everyone with him.

Be Content With What You Have

Walter is never satisfied and it gets him in hot water every time. When Jesse comes back with their first haul, instead of being happy, he starts doing business with Tuco, a crazed maniac who nearly gets them killed. When that money isn’t enough, Walter seeks out a connection with Gus, the unassuming manager of Pollos Hermanos who also happens to be the biggest meth dealer in the southwest. Things inevitably go south when Walt is struck by the grass-is-greener syndrome once again, this time narrowly escaping with his life. By this point, Walt has turned into a greed monster, willing to do anything for just a little more money.

Learn to count your blessings and be content with what you have. The grass isn’t always greener.

If it sounds too good to be true…

Even with all his smarts, Walter is the kind of guy who might fall for a get-rich-quick scheme. Yes, he’s motivated initially by helping his family, but then his own ego and greed usurp any altruistic motivations he may have had. When an opportunity comes along to make more money, Walt ignores the red flags and steams ahead into what everyone else can see is a disaster. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.


Through the first few seasons, Walter lies to his family about his new occupation, but keeping his dual lives a secret becomes too much of a burden and it eventually tears the family apart. The lesson is this: always keep an open line of communication between you and your spouse about your financial situation. Hiding expenses or debt will only lead to suffering.

Better Call Saul (or Someone Better)

Walter and Jesse almost always find themselves in over their heads thanks to Walter’s avarice, so they wind up calling in the pros. Saul Goodman, attorney to the dregs of society, finds a way to rescue them every time. Now, I wouldn’t recommend calling Saul, but we have someone better we can call on when we need help and He will never let us down.

Make Yourself Indispensable 

Walter and Jesse mastered their “jobs”, making themselves invaluable, and that kept them from dying several times over the course of the show. Find a niche at your job that makes you hard to fire. Becoming an irreplaceable asset will give you job security that can’t be beat.


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