Deep Dive

Netflix shows that focus on the issues of debt

Emma Nunes-Vaz
September 12, 2023

Netflix provides entertainment for millions of people, however, it is also a great source of education relating to topics such as personal finance. Some shows in particular focus on debt and we have compiled a list of some of these shows/films if you are ever in the mood to enhance your knowledge. 

1. Squid Games

Squid Games graced the Netflix scene nearly 2 years ago and to put it simply, it blew up. Not only was it a great source of entertainment with some brilliant acting from the cast, but you can actually learn a thing or two from it. It managed to open up the conversation around debt by outlining the stress it can take when debt becomes overwhelming - an extremely common feeling for those who have built up debt over a period of time. Similarly, it explores how paying off your debts should be a top priority.

2. Money, Explained

‘...... Explained’ is a series with multiple different themes focusing on personal finance. Whilst it is an American series, the core facts are still relevant over here in the UK. In May 2021, a 5 part mini-series was released that helps break down important topics covering personal finance. An episode we’d particularly like to call out is episode 2, ‘credit cards’ which teaches the mechanics behind how credit cards work, their origins such as their inception to society which is described as ‘the boldest experiments in capitalism’ and focuses on different individuals and how they utilise credit cards to benefit their everyday.

3. How to Get Rich

Whilst this docuseries isn’t a playbook in teaching you how to make lots of 💰💸, the first episode follows three families, with one couple that struggles with credit card debt. It explores their spending habits, and the host Ramit Sethi intends to turn people’s lives around by deep-diving into their credit cards, bank accounts and entire life relating to money. He attempts to give this couple a makeover by advising them with these tips:


1. Get comfortable talking about money 

2. Be honest about your finances (with yourself and others)

3. “Fight for simplicity” (don’t have too may current accounts and credit cards)

4. Organise your accounts so you know how your money is flowing

5. Make a plan to pay your debt off

Obviously this is only a starting point for “how to get rich” but Ramit makes some valid points in this episode that everyone should definitely take some advice from.

4. Get Smart with Money

This documentary is all about…yes, you guessed it - getting smart with money. It follows 4 different people, struggling with certain aspects of their money management, one that has a particular issue with debt. It features multiple financial coaches that share lessons on how these people can improve their finances. One character in particular, Ariana, opens up about her struggles with emotional spending as well as her fear of money. The result is that she racked up £45,000 in what she describes as a “mountain” in credit card debt whilst starting her own family. The financial coach that was paired with her provided some helpful tips that will prevent any emotional spending as well as a plan on automating her finances so she is less stressed (If only Incredible existed when Ariana appeared on this show 👀)

5. 97% owned

An important aspect of taking control of your finances is understanding the mechanics behind it all. The documentary, “97% Owned” is all about the financial systems that are in place and explores the inner workings of creating money and the role banks play. They focus on things such as “The spending cuts agenda” which is an attempt by the government to shift debt from its account to the publics as well as the ripple effect on society when the interest rates increase by 1-2%. It strips it back to basics and highlights who actually creates money and where it originally comes from. You know what they say, money makes the world go round and understanding the inner workings of money and banks might teach you a thing or two about best money management practices.

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