Financial Lessons from Charlie Sheen and Other Odd Sources

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It’s time for more financial lessons from unusual sources—including Dungeons & Dragons, your own full bladder, and a certain Twitter superstar.

Just look at the financial wisdom that can be gleaned from …

Dungeons & Dragons
Writing for Salon, Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, says that the complexities of D&D prepare players for all sorts of careers and all sorts of twists and turns you’ll encounter in life (other than girls, of course):

If you can run a D&D campaign — a months-long series of adventures requiring infinite attention to detail, exacting execution and on-the-fly problem-solving — you can run an advertising campaign. Or run an IT company.

The Airplane In-Flight Safety Manual
Originally post on Enemy of Debt and reprinted at Budgets Are Sexy, this post argues that—in the same way that, in the event of a plane crash, you’re supposed to secure your own mask first before helping others—the wise approach to finances is to secure your own mask, metaphorically speaking, so that you’re in a position to help and/or not be a burden on others:

Save an emergency fund for yourself before you start passing out money like you don’t need it. Secure your own future first because before you know it, that oxygen mask won’t be enough, and retirement will be right around the corner.

Charlie Sheen
I’ve run across not one, but two posts listing the money lessons to be learned from the Charlie Sheen drama we’re all being subjected to. A WiseBread post offers “7 Frugal Lessons I Learned from Charlie Sheen.” Turns out Charlie is something of a role model, in a very bizarre, twisted sorta way. For example:

Don’t pay someone to do something you can do yourself. Sure, some people may say that his publicist quit after outrageous comments in interviews. Maybe it was the fallout from erratic behavior. Or maybe, Charlie just realized he needed to get smarter with his cash. Newly unemployed, Charlie can be his own publicist and save all that money he was using on Stan Rosenfield. If you’re out of work, learn from Charlie. Who needs an electrician? You can re-wire your own lighting. Tire center to fix your brakes? Get a couple of loaner books from the library and fix them yourself.

And BudgetsAreSexy gives five more lessons, including:

Don’t have kids if aren’t going to be responsible for them. Financial contributions do not equal parental responsibility. This may be a reason that I am still a DINK. I am not yet 100% certain that I am ready to put my child’s well being before mine; this is why I am currently childless.

A Full Bladder
Science Daily sums up the research findings of an odd study conducted by Mirjam Tuk, a psychological scientist at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. In the experiments, participants drank cups of water, and then, 40 minutes later—when they would be feeling like they had to “go”—were asked to make choices. The choices basically involved receiving either a small reward in the near future ($16 tomorrow) or a larger reward later down the line ($30 in 35 days). The people with full bladders tended to be better at fighting off the desire for near-instant gratification, selecting the latter option more often than control groups. The takeaway?

“You seem to make better decisions when you have a full bladder,” Tuk says. So maybe you should drink a bottle of water before making a decision about your stock portfolio, for example. Or perhaps stores that count on impulse buys should keep a bathroom available to customers, since they might be more willing to go for the television with a bigger screen when they have an empty bladder.

Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
BrokeProfessionals suggests financial life lessons from Oscar-nominated films like “The Social Network” (“Making money means making enemies along the way.”); “Black Swan” (“There is more to life than work.”); and “The Fighter”:

The Fighter teaches us there are times in one’s life when one must make a choice: Continue to drag around excess baggage or dump those who bring you down and clear the way for success.

A Norwegian Gas Station

Think it costs a lot to fill up your tank? That’s laughable in Norway, where a gallon of gas costs over $9. For that matter, because of taxes everybody in Europe pays way more than we do in the U.S.:

Most Europeans, including the British, the Irish, the Germans, the Italians and the French, pay somewhere between $7.50 and $8 per gallon, according to the International Energy Administration.

An Online Game in Which You’re Poor
The WellHeeledBlog digs into the experience of playing PlaySpent, in which participants get a virtual sense of what it’s like to be the working poor—starting out with a decision to get a no-benefits job with a restaurant, warehouse, or temp agency. Guess what? As in real life, it seems impossible to win at this game. Here’s one of the tough lessons players will encounter:

You cannot afford to give your child a head-start or a leg-up. This is probably the most heartbreaking part of the game. My imaginary child gets selected for the gifted program at school, which costs $50. The cheapest thing to do is to decline the opportunity. It is so sad when $50 is too much to give your child a push in the right direction.