I have a confession to make:
I’ve been binge-watching Gilmore Girls in an effort to re-watch the entire series before the revival comes out.
The revival which everyone thought was going to come out July 1st, but actually won’t be done until Fall. They totally psyched us out.
But still, even with the misguided anticipation, I can’t even contain my excitement. I mean, Lorelei Gilmore just speaks to me.
I watched the series when I was younger, but never did it have as big of an impact on me as it does this time through.
Because I’m seeing tons of personal finance lessons in this (dare I call it) classic TV show. Sure, Rory, Luke, Lorelei, Kirk and the whole gang taught us tons of lessons about life, love, and friendship, but who knew they snuck in some good, solid PF lessons in there too?
I sure didn’t.
As if you needed one more reason to re-watch them…..
The Best Schools Won’t Always Launch Your Career
Loralei made sure that Rory only goes to the best schools, starting with Chilton in high school, then on to Yale for college, even borrowing money from her estranged parents to do so (more on that later.) However, as we see Rory graduate, even among the incredible pride from her family, Rory doesn’t do much with her life.
We’ll have to see what has become of Rory in the Gilmore Girls revival – coming in December, hopefully – but Gilmore girls ended with Rory leaving to take a journalism assignment.
Borrowing Money Always, Always Has Strings Attached
Loralei borrowed money from her parents to be able to afford Rory the best education, but that doesn’t mean it was easy for her. Her parents never approved of her, but because they wanted time with Rory forced her into weekly Friday night dinners during which she had to endure their sly digs at her job, her choices, and even her parenting choices.
The Fine Print Can Get Even Loralei
In one episode, there is a fire at the Dragonfly Inn, Lorelei and Suki’s business, but Lorelei doesn’t sweat it, because she had her father (an insurance executive) take care of making sure they were protected with insurance.
However, they find out they were duped. Not by Lorelei’s father, but by the insurance company, because of a loophole. This can happen to anyone, which is why it’s so important to have an insurance plan.
Small Business Owners Don’t have to be broke.
In the series, we see Luke, the local diner owner in Stars Hollow bail Lorelei out again and again. Whether she needs money, when she needs to borrow his truck, or when she needs help fixing things around the Dragonfly, Luke is there, always willing to lend a hand.
But because this is an article about what Gilmore Girls taught us about money, the thing I’m going to focus on here is how he bailed Loralei out financially. As someone who was self-employed, he made the smart decision to put money away in the bank for a rainy day, rather than drive a new truck, move the restaurant to a fancy new location, or buy a house. Instead, he lived above the diner and fixed his old truck so he could have a safety net – or so he could help out the love of his life when she needed it most.
Kirk Is The Man
Originally, Kirk was supposed to make a single cameo in the series. However, the audience loved him so much, that the writers decided to give him a recurring spot. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, then you’ll know that Kirk is king of the side hustle. Selling T-Shirts, teaching fitness classes, installing home internet and security systems, and much, much more, Kirk is always working, even if he dosn’t d the best job.
Later, we see Kirk and Luke battling it out in front of the city elders (in a steam room full of naked old men, no less) for a historic Stars’ Hollow house, and Luke is dumbfounded that Kirk has more than $400,000 in cash to purchase the historic house Luke wants.
Kirk’s answer? He’s worked literally hundreds of jobs over the years, and with not significant other, children, or significant living expenses, he’s been able to bank nearly every penny he’s made.
Your Success Doesn’t Matter To Anyone As Much As It Matters To You
We can all agree that Rory is quite the overachiever. Between getting into Chilton (and graduating as is Valedictorian), getting into all the Ivies, working for the all-star school paper, and more, I think we can also agree that she didn’t get her obsessive mannerisms (or focus) from Lorelei.
Speaking of Lorelei, she worked her way up from a housekeeper to the general manager of the Independence Inn without any of her family’s support.
What this means to you is that no one ( or least very few people) care if you succeed or fail – in life or finances. So if you want to cut costs, pay off debt, or sock away millions in the bank, you’re going to have to buckle down, drink copious amounts of coffee in true Rory & Lorelei form, and get it done yourself.
You WILL Make Mistakes
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your life back on track.
Loralei got pregnant at 16, left home, moved into the Independence Inn, and made a life for herself.
She must have been BROKE, but she did it, and eventually saved enough money to purchase, renovate, and run the Dragonfly Inn. If she can get back on her feet having a baby at 16, nearly any financial choices you make can be rectified.
Changing Your Goals is Ok
Rory changed her mind about Harvard, Lorelei changed her mind about Christopher, and both of them changed their minds about So. Many. Things.
I’ve written about this before, but let me reiterate: your financial goals may change. Even your emotions may change, and that’s ok.
Just make sure that your reasoning for changing your mind is solid, and that you have goals and plans to back them up/make them happen.
Sometimes Passion Has To Take Precedence Over Money
The original Gilmore Girls ended with a very important decision from Rory. While not everyone was happy with her decision, it did teach us that following your passion is more important than nearly everything.
Your Mom Taught You A Ton
Like it or not.
Not everyone’s mom will have taught them the same things, but recognizing the financial principles your mom taught you, then applying (or discarding) her advice is a start to being set up for success.
The Unexpected Will Happen
And by nature, you won’t be able to anticipate it.
During the series, the Independence Inn burns down, Rory changes schools, babies are born unexpectedly and many more zany events.
The same things (well, not exactly the same things) will happen to you at some point. They’ll be devastating, and they may even give you a full blown panic attack. But if you’re prepared for the worst, you’ll weather the unexpected like a champ.
Stand On Your Own Two Feet
Loralei is a great model for making your own way, having worked for everything she has.
And even though standing on your own two feet (financially, of course) is the biggest lesson here, there is also one of underlying importance: self-sufficiency doesn’t happen at any certain age. It happens differently depending on the individual.
The bottom line: don’t depend on others for your bills to be paid.
Most of my generation can agree that the Gilmore Girls were pretty darn entertaining. I mean, Lorelei was basically my spirit animal.
I wanted to be her and Luke when I grew up.
Well, I married my Luke, and as time has gone on I’ve realized that the Gilmore ladies taught us more than how to handle life, love, work, and more.
They taught us a ton about money.
Through the good times and the bad, the unexpected and what they planned for, Rory and Lorelei taught us some crazy awesome lessons about how to manage your money amidst all the busyness of life.
Are you a Gilmore Girls fan?
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