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How to get Un-Broke by Watching TV

I just watched a great show on ABC Friday night called Un-Broke. In case you missed it, this was a special that included stars Will Smith, The Jonas Brothers, Rosario Dawson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cedric the Entertainer, Seth Green and many others.  The show was hosted by Mellody Hobson, a contributor to Good Morning America and President of Ariel Investments.

The show contained a series of skits that highlighted responsible personal finance and the wise management of money.  The show was created to be humorous and educational.  The humor seemed to fade in and out, but the show was definitely educational.

What was Covered

Most personal finance topics were covered, including mortgages, debt, emergency funds and retirement planning.  The content was very basic and designed for people who were unfamiliar with finance.  The general theme was to live below your means and prepare yourself for a secure future.

My favorite part was the spoof of Cribs, where Seth Green is bragging about his 2-bedroom house that he can afford on a third of his income.  The comment that he slept like a baby was priceless.  I also enjoyed the skit by Samuel L. Jackson called “I’m Broke as Hell”, where he portrays a personal finance guru, who has no money.

I applaud Mellody Hobson and all of the artists for their contributions on this project.  This show is truly something to be proud of.

Why this Show Matters

This is the first prime-time special dedicated to responsible personal finance that I have seen on television.   There are plenty of financial guru shows, such as Suzy, Dave and Robert.  But, these shows are practically infomercials for their products.  Un-Broke was reminiscent of a public service announcement, like the singing cartoons of the ’70s.

Personal finance is quietly becoming a mainstream issue in America.  Like the environment, people are starting to question the sustainability of our debt and consumption lifestyle.  As the layoffs, bankruptcies and foreclosures take their toll on our economy, some consumers are starting to realize there is a much better way to live.

After the Great Depression, an entire generation of Americans became frugal for the rest of their lives.  And, their baby-boomer kids learned this lesson from their parents and were fiscally conservative.  Hopefully, this recession will help America get back to financial reality for the benefit of our future generations.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it’s great to see “Money 101″ featured on prime time television. It’s about time Hollywood accepted responsibility for promoting their over-the-top lifestyles.  Advertising and consumption have always profited the media circus at our expense.  A little financial payback is long overdue.

Don’t be a hamster on a debt-treadmill just to enrich others.

Recommended Reading

This post was featured on the Carnival of Personal Finance. There are lots of great articles from many of the best personal fianance bloggers. Check it out.

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