I suppose most of you might be wondering what on earth Breaking Bad and its main star Walter White (Bryan Cranston) have to do with Financial Planning. I’ll be the first to admit I am a big fan of the show but it really only struck me towards the end how much financial planning Walter does throughout the course of the series.
For anyone not all that familiar with the show, Walter, a chemistry teacher, husband and father with another on the way is struck down with cancer. This prompts him into action on all levels. He is sick and fed up with the way his life had been going through the motions, living a mundane existence with most people in his life stepping all over him.
He is also extremely concerned that he will be leaving this world far too early and won’t be able to help provide for his family. Walter is an extremely proud man and even when others offer to assist he declines as he feels this is a responsibility that is on his shoulders.
Walter decides the only way to raise the capital he needs for his family in a fast and efficient manner is to step outside the boundaries of the law and begin manufacturing meth amphetamine using his chemistry experience. Using an ex-student as an assistant he begins to create an empire to run his drug business.
While the way Walter set out to make the money is not something we can recommend the similarities I found with financial planning were as follows.
• Walter started to make a plan in his mind of exactly where he was now and where he needed to get to. He also knew the timeframe he was working with and was working on the basis that he had very little time left in this world.
• He began to start setting some goals and had worked out exactly how much time and money he needed by a certain date.
• He had also calculated the amount of work (e.g amount of drugs) that would be required and how much they would need to be sold for.
• He began to say aloud the things he was planning and put pressure on himself to achieve those goals.
For any fans of the show you’ll be aware things get a little out of hand towards the end. Walt certainly became capable of achieving everything he set out to. The show does illustrate the power of actually making goals and setting out to achieve them. While we are dealing with a fictional television show here, its worth noting that the most successful people make plans about where they are now and where they want to get to.
They write down things about where they would like to be now and in the future then set themselves a target to achieve. It’s certainly no guarantee of success, but instead of living day to day wouldn’t you rather map out the future you want to live in then start taking steps to begin living it?