TomorrowMakers

These money lessons from your favourite sitcom sheroes can help you pivot your life to financial freedom.

What can Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe teach you about money?

The FRIENDS TV show first aired 27 years ago! We must have watched it a gazillion times, but it seems impossible that so much time has passed. The show made us laugh, shed tears of joy, and navigate life. It made us feel that we too had these six best friends who taught us about finding love, following our passions, becoming independent, and more.

The mistakes they made and a few smart financial decisions they took imparted some serious money management lessons as well. Let’s take a look at how the women of FRIENDS taught us about achieving financial independence.

Here’s to Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe…

Monica was a classic example of what not to do

Considering that Monica was so organised, it’s a mystery why she did not take charge of money matters. Over and over, she made money blunders and needed to be rescued. To start with, she was jobless and had to take up a catering gig for her mom (with whom she didn’t get along). She did not have cash to pay her rent even though it was miniscule due to rent control. She later unknowingly took a bribe at work and got fired, again landing into money troubles. When it was time to tie the knot with Chandler, she wanted a big, fancy wedding but did not have the money to pay for it. She had been depending on her parents who spent the Monica wedding fund on a new beach house. She then pressurised Chandler to spent all his hard-earned money on a ‘party’ for which he famously put his foot down. Later on, when Chandler quit his job to try his hand at advertising, they realised that they were spending more than they were making and had to borrow $2000 from Joey!

Lesson learnt: Create a monthly budget for living expenses and stick to it, make saving a habit, put in placegoal-based investments for events such as a wedding or buying a house, and always have an emergency fundto dip into during tough times.

Related: 3 Must-watch sitcoms for women entrepreneurs

Rachel taught us to rise to every challenge

From a spoilt Daddy’s Girl who was gifted ponies and boats, Rachel transformed into a high-ranking fashion executive working for the biggest fashion houses such Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton. Having never worked a day and always relying on daddy’s credit cards, she took her first step towards financial independence by cutting the cards in half. Monica’s prophecy did come true; Rachel entered the real world! Yeah it did suck, but she absolutely loved it. Rachel paid her dues by working at Central Perk and then rearranging hangers at Fortunata Fashions, before finally landing a real fashion job at Bloomingdale’s. She soon became the only daughter her father was proud of! Not willing to be satisfied with acing her professional life, she went on to become a responsible single mother to Emma and provided the very best to her.

Lesson learnt: Take up a job so you can be financially independent, curb your shopping or spending habits, learn to live within your budget, and work hard to achieve your dreams.


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Phoebe showed us what hustling is, baby!

Having to live on the streets as a teenager made Phoebe a tough cookie. She had to fend for herself, which made her a fiercely financially independent woman. Phoebe was a freelancer for most of her career and still always managed to pay her bills on time and live well. That requires some serious money management skills! She took up every opportunity to make extra dough. When her brother needed money, she decided to sell knives. When her roomie Denise went on vacation, she invited Rachel to come live with her so that they could spilt the rent. When Monica was jobless, she encouraged her to start her own catering business, gave her the seed money, and partnered with her. While she played her guitar and sang for free at Central Perk, when the opportunity came to make a music video, she jumped on it and made some serious moolah from her passion. She then took up a job as a telemarketer, and even became an extra on the sets of Days Of Our Lives. Phew – if that’s not hustling, we don’t know what is!

Lesson learnt: Take up any job you can so you have financial freedom, try to convert your passion into a paying job so you enjoy what you do, be disciplined with your money, make sound financial decisions, and follow your heart to live a full life.