Let’s face it…some of us don’t like to read. We have found some seriously amazing Financial Independence Documentaries and Videos that we consider the best. We’ve also collected numerous motivational Shows and Movies related to business, happiness, personal finance, and investing that you won’t want to miss…especially if you haven’t seen them since discovering FI. These films may finally be speaking a language you understand.
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Best Financial Independence Documentaries
An in production documentary where viewers will travel with Scott and Taylor as they leave a once perceived “dream life” in California and transform their lives into a new one which costs 70% less. They will examine FIRE’s practical spending and investment philosophies and its underlying goals of optimizing happiness, fulfillment, and meaning in life. “Playing with FIRE” will capture the truths and dispel the myths of what it feels like to embrace FIRE – the elation, stresses, joys, fears, realities, etc.
Minimalism is about living with fewer material possessions and how the philosophy can help you achieve a sense of freedom by focusing on what truly makes you happy. Dan Harris, Ryan Nicodemus, and Joshua Fields Millburn take you on an adventure about life as a Minimalist. It’s a Documentary about the important things in life and gives you an inside look of families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and Wall Street brokers that have adopted the lifestyle.
A documentary that blends comical animations with real world American struggles related to retirement savings. They also interview economists, policy makers, and financial experts to evaluate why many are unable to build a “nest egg” that will support them in their twilight years.
Best Investing Documentaries
How to Win the Loser’s Game
A documentary serialized on SensibleInvesting.TV that interviews some big names of the investing world. The film talks with Vanguard’s founder John Bogle, Dimensional Fund Advisor’s founder David Booth, and even economist Nobel Prize winners. “How to Win the Loser’s Game” provides practical investing advice with staggering evidence as to why passive index investing is the go to strategy to attain financial independence.
A documentary of Enron’s massive scandal and collapse in 2001 which put thousands out of work and vanishing $60 Billion into thin air. So many shady activities are detailed, such as the California electricity crisis and duping Employees to only invest in Enron stock. This is a great example of Executive stock manipulation and why diversification is so important. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature and was the muse for the hilarious movie Fun with Dick and Jane.
Pam Krueger of the PBS series MoneyTrack, interviews the legendary Vanguard founder and innovator of low fee index funds. Bogle reviews the 2008 financial crisis and what occurred on Wall Street. He provides valuable advice for the everyday DIY Investor. Bogle is renowned throughout the FIRE communities and loathed by high fee Money Managers. His philosophy on investing appropriately dubbes his followers “Bogleheads“.
Each Season provides an inside look of those looking to make it on Wall Street. This includes hedge fund managers, brokers, hustlers, rookies, commodity traders, bankers, and more. Witnessing the intense competition and cut throat nature that defines Wall Street should make us all the more motivated to stay on theFIway to wealth. However, it’s an entertaining look through the eyes of those trying to thrive on Wall Street. As of this listing, Season 1 is on Youtube.
A 3 episode British reality show, set during the 2008 global financial crisis, follows a group of rookie day traders. Investing guru Lex Van Dam supplies $1 Million dollars of his own money and challenges a group of beginners to manage a hedge fund during one of the worst market conditions in recent history. Although not a recommended practice in the Financial Independence movement, this show is entertaining and clearly demonstrates why day trading is so difficult to master.
Best Personal Finance Video Shorts
SIMPLES is an animated web series created by the Minimalists that show the negative side of consumerism and putting more value on the important things and people in one’s life. The minimalism movement is growing and has similar tenants to financial independence.
This short film by Steve Cutts uses a rodent to depict a typical human’s unrelenting pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. This analogous vision of our society brings to light the self defeating attempt to find joy through consumption.
In the Fall
Another relevant short film by Steve Cutts showing a man falling from a building and reflecting on his life. This has been the path for generations now, but there’s a better way to live. If this poor guy achieved Financial Freedom, I’m guessing the ending would turn out differently.
Best Money Motivation Shows
Gail Vaz-Oxlade helps a variety of people get out of debt with simplistic exercises that focus more on mindset alteration than practical application. We’re not sure how much this show is staged, but the budgetary fundamentals are there. Gail cracks the whip like a mother of each participant and tries to make them understand how they got into debt in the first place. She then creates challenges to reinforce the fundamental tactics to get out of debt and repair any family problems resulting from financial hardship.
This Netflix original primarily focuses on British residents facing one of the most costly real estate markets in the world. Home ownership in London and many other cities in the U.S. and Europe have become extremely expensive. If you wish to reside in a high cost of living area, then this show is for you. Sarah Beeny interviews many people that have hacked the system and found ways to live in high cost of living areas for pennies on the dollar. These are some of the most creative and affordable houses in existence.
President Donald Trump hosted this top rated show in 2004 that continued successfully for many years. It eventually migrated to a Celebrity focused charity show, but the earlier seasons detailed various entrepreneurial challenges that are inspiring. You’ll see contestants with competitive personalities going head to head in Side Hustle competitions and board room debates. Sometimes you need to fight to succeed and Trump’s proteges deliver.
Ex Patriots is a very inspirational 13 episode series from Reserve channel in cooperation with Travel + Leisure. The show chronicles Americans chasing their dreams and earning a living abroad. Sometimes you can’t wait until you are financially independent to pursue your passions. These Americans did just that showing the highs and lows and pros and cons of living outside the United States.
Best Finance Movies and Films
HBO’s riveting account of the 2008 financial crisis based on the bestselling book by Andrew Ross Sorkin. The film provides an inside look on how the crisis began and what the powerful people involved accomplished to ensure the world’s economy remained in tact. The movie centers on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his efforts working with Wall Street to avoid a total collapse of the market and investment banking system.
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up for a recounting of the life of New York Stock Broker and founder of Stratton Oakmont Jordan Belfort. This docudrama shows how Belfort went from scamming folks on penny stocks to manipulating Stocks and IPOs. He takes advantage of investors through charisma and mastery of the sales pitch. After watching this, you’ll never trust a hustling stock broker again.
A similar story to the “Wolf of Wall Street” and also inspired by Jordan Belfort, but completely fictitious. Boiler room shows how young stock brokers can manipulate average investors into buying worthless securities. The film follows a college dropout who joins the ranks of a small stock brokerage firm and witnesses the blatant exploitation of investors.
A heart warming biographical drama of Chris Gardner overcoming adversity and homelessness with his son. His journey from struggling salesman to risking it all on an unpaid stockbroker internship, with minimal chances of success, is truly amazing. His inspiring story will motivate you to bust through life’s struggles, achieve your goals, and find your path to happiness.
No Finance movie list would be complete without the original classic “Wall Street”. Many first time watchers nowadays may think it’s boring, especially if you don’t understand the terminology or how the markets worked in the 80s. If your a Gen X or older, rewatch this movie and it’ll instantly become a classic. Wall Street is the tale of a rookie stockbroker taking on a well respected investing tycoon. The film has become the archetypal portrayal of 1980’s investing.
An unnecessary sequel to the Academy Award Winning “Wall Street” movie, but entertaining nonetheless. Part 2 of this story follows Gordon Gekko’s release from a 23 year prison sentence and focuses on the 2008 financial crisis. This time Gekko takes the well deserved role of the antihero rather than a villain, and tries to fix the relationship with his daughter and her fiancé after the ending of the first movie.
Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star as Bernie and Ruth Madoff in this Hollywood depiction of the investment advisor that defrauded clients out of nearly 65 Billion dollars. Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities created false backdated trading reports to produce required profits for their clients. His manipulation of unregulated financial markets finally caught up with him in 2008.
A talented ensemble cast teams up to tell the story of the global collapse of the 2008 economy from four different points of view. The banking crisis was the largest financial misstep in recent memory and has resulted in so many pop culture reconstructions of events. The Big Short is at the top of the list in that regard. Director Adam McKay retells the complex problems of mortgage backed securities and collateralized debt obligations in an entertaining way. A mishmash of excellently scripted drama and comedy with sprinkles of documentary make this film ideal viewing for those wishing to understand what the hell happened.