The last Indiana Jones franchise film – Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – was released June 29, 2023 and it’s time to learn valuable money lessons from a hero created by George Lucas and sold to Steven Spielberg (he directed the first four films) as an American James Bond.
But Indy, as he’s lovingly known, is one of the best heroes created. And we can learn so much from him, especially when it comes to our money. Indy is always himself which means when he gets bashed up by villains, he gets hurt (can’t see Bahubali bleed from a baddie’s sock to his jaw, or James Bond’s dinner jacket tear or get dirty, no?).
He’s a professor of archeology and gets involved in all sorts of adventures (something you and I dream about sitting in our cubicles!). He has fears of snakes (lizards and flying cockroaches for most of us!) and he admits to them. Yet he faces them. Plus, it’s the awesome Harrison Ford, so you want him to outrun the boulders! But here are the Indiana Jones films and money lessons they offer.
First film: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
In this first Indiana Jones film, he’s off on an adventure in South America, in search of a golden statue. That’s when we meet Marcus Brody who tells him about the Ark. The biblical Ark of the Covenant. Indy has to get there before Nazis do. Now Nazis make for a great evil enemy, and in the superb action you hear yourself rooting for this new hero. His girl Marion is being kidnapped by agents of evil and you realise how he deals with it. In a now iconic dialogue Indy tells us: I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.
It’s all right for Indiana Jones to make up things on the fly, but when it comes to your money, you’d better not be putting your money in shiny schemes. You’d best have a plan of action, and proceed accordingly.
Plus, this is the first time we get to watch Indiana Jones make his way to the Ark in the tomb through live snakes inside. A minor lesson here but so necessary: in our money life, if we want to succeed, then we must learn to face our fears.
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Second film: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1989)
Who do we have here? It’s Amrish Puri as Mola Ram – head priest of a secret religious cult – has stolen the sacred Shankara stones and Indiana Jones has to steal it back. Sounds easy, right? But we have to watch strange Indian feasts where monkey brains are served, and children are being sacrificed. But there’s a silver lining to this high-octane adventure through Nepal and India, and he’s called Short Round. This sharp, sassy little kid who becomes a partner in adventure and we all love him (he grows up to receive an Oscar, he’s Ke Huy Quan). More than Indiana Jones mouthing funny lines, you should remember Amrish Puri’s scary warning: Bali mangti Kali Ma!
When it comes to your money, you too will have to sacrifice a lot. Don’t be alarmed. It will be mostly the unasked for advice that people will offer you the moment they know you are putting aside money every month. You will sacrifice your pennywise pound foolish attitude and yes, give up on silly ideas of making instant fortune and invest wisely.
And yes, keep an open mind. Who knows there could be a smart young person who might offer you advice beyond their years.
Third film: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
This is the most fun film to watch. This time Indiana Jones is persuaded to search for the Holy Grail itself. Supposed to be the chalice from which Jesus had had a drink and would give the one who drank from it, eternal life. Indy meets the archeologist who had been missing for many years in this quest for the Grail. Turns out it’s Indy’s father, Henry Jones Sr. ! Of course the Nazis are also after this chance for an eternal life. Indy and his dad have to save the world.
When the Nazi officer dies dramatically, the ancient knight in the film says, ‘He chose…Poorly.’ Now that’s a lesson we all need to learn when dealing with money. When you watch ads that talk about investing in mutual funds or other financial instruments, we hear someone rapidly rattling off, ‘Remember that investing in mutual funds is subject to market risks’ and so on. It’s important that you read the fine print, or get someone to explain the details and the risks before you put in your hard earned money.
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Fourth film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Indiana Jones is being chased by the Soviets! This time this cat and mouse chase is a stolen crystal skull purportedly belonging to a species of super intelligent beings. First the covenant (said to contain the ten commandments), then the Holy Grail that promised eternal life, and now knowledge about the universe. Indiana Jones discovers a young lad (who turns out to be his son) and their adventure is as much a father-son adventure as much as it is an adventurous journey to return ancient artefacts to a lost temple.
Indiana Jones yells out advice to students buried in books while a fabulous motorbike chases through a library, ‘If you want to become a good archeologist, you gotta get out of the library!’ isn’t that the advice you need in your money life? Take that first step and put your money to work. You cannot sit and read about stocks or funds and never have the courage to put your theories to the test!
Fifth film: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)
Took them 15 years to create this offering that has just been released in the theatres. Steven Spielberg is missing but the film is directed by James Mangold of the Creed fame. And yes, though Harrison Ford is 80 years old, they have de-aged him to show him his younger grouchier self. The Nazis are back! But this time Indiana Jones has to make someone understand that the time travelling device belongs in a museum and not with the bad guys. The film has action packed scenes, one in a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw for us Indians) in Tangiers and the other underwater.
And one of the many money lessons we can learn from this time-travel adventure is simple: If you want to make your money work, you had better do it now. No point saying, ‘I knew this stock would do well’, ‘I should’ve invested in that scheme’ and so on. We don’t time travel just yet, but if you invest now, you can watch your money go far and well.
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. She can be reached on Twitter at @manishalakhe.
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