A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
…every species from here to the end of the universe was trying to get ahead and make a buck. Or, in this case, a credit.
In between the pod racing, planet destroying, and patricide, the Star Wars series contains a number of valuable lessons (beyond the horror of sand).
Cool story, Anakin.
So if your finances are looking a bit ‘sith’ and you feel you need to strike back against the dark side of your money habits, then stop being a half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder and let this article help awaken the force within you.
After all, Obi-Wan Kenobi shouldn’t be your only hope!
(Please note that all images in this article are © Lucasfilm Ltd.)
- The Definitive Guide to Getting Out of Debt
- The One Principle That Will Guarantee Your Financial Future
- How to Think Like a Future Millionaire
- The Only Tip You Need to Reach Financial Freedom As Soon As Possible
- FAQs on Getting Out of Debt ASAP
1. Adding small amounts regularly can allow you to build an army
Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, acting without the authorisation of the Jedi Council or Galactic Senate, commissioned the Kaminoans to create an army of clone soldiers to ensure the defence of the Galactic Republic. Within ten years and despite the death of Sifo-Dyas, the first 200,000 clone troopers were ready with one million more in production. By the time Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered this in Attack of the Clones, he was too late; there were too many and, before long, the clone troopers became the Grand Army of the Republic and the Empire assumed control.
Jedi mind trick
Starting with small investments – such as one Clone Trooper – and regularly adding to this can easily result in your own army-sized investment portfolio. All you need to do is make your money work for you.
For example, saving $500 per month may not sound like a lot, but invest it for ten years with an annual rate of return of 7% and you’ll have $88,701.60.
Want to turn that into $1,000,000? Regular investments of $500 per month can turn you into a millionaire after 36.3 years.
Work at increasing it to $500 per week and suddenly you’re looking at less than 20 years to reach a seven figure sum.
And before you know it, your portfolio is generating passive income at a scale that even Obi-Wan Kenobi couldn’t stop.
2. Debt is not the path you are looking for
Han Solo spends a large portion of the original trilogy trying to escape bounty hunters who have been dispatched by Jabba the Hutt, to whom Han owes money. He is ultimately caught and handed over to Boba Fett. We subsequently begin Return of the Jedi with Han frozen in carbonite to warn others who may also owe a debt to Jabba.
Jedi mind trick
Debt is absolutely the dark side of any effort to achieve financial freedom. You can very quickly find your debt spiraling out of control, especially when coupled with high interest rates that can make repayments difficult, if not impossible, to meet.
Every effort should be made to get rid of your debt (especially if it is owed to someone like Jabba). While it can be difficult, the short term pain of sticking to a firm budget and strictly limiting all of your expenses in pursuit of paying off your debts is definitely worth the long term gain of, say, not being frozen in carbonite.
3. Whenever you gamble, my friend, eventually you lose
In The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker is a slave of Watto, leading to Qui-Gon Jinn betting his spaceship that Anakin will win a podrace. If he is successful, young Anakin will be freed. When Watto ultimately loses, his complaints that he was tricked fall on deaf ears as Qui-Gon wisely advises, “Whenever you gamble, my friend, eventually you lose.”
Jedi mind trick
So-called financial “experts” frequently like to tell us about “the next sure thing” that you can put your money into. Whether it be a stock that will “definitely” sky rocket or the latest investment fad, the only guarantee provided by such investment methods is that there is no guarantee at all.
Instead, index funds have proven time and time again to be the best investment vehicle over the long term. Returns are consistently steady and research has shown that more than 92% of large managed funds (and more than 95% of mid-sized funds) have performed worse than a simple S&P 500 index fund. This is absolutely why Warren Buffett has advised that an index fund is “the thing that makes the most sense practically all the time”.
So don’t gamble with your investments, my friend, or else you will eventually lose.
4. Patience you must have, my young Padawan
Luke is frustrated at the start of his training in the Force in The Empire Strikes Back, however Yoda counsels him to have patience – with some assistance from Obi-Wan Kenobi, who notes that this is something that Luke will learn in time. However, it turns out that this is not the first time that Yoda has provided such advice, as we find out later in Revenge of the Sith where he observes, “Patience you must have, my young Padawan”.
Jedi mind trick
Most supposed ‘get rich quick’ schemes will soon lead you to the Dark Side. The best, most proven way to ensure your future financial freedom is starting early to benefit from the power of compound interest over many years. Some may advise you to invest in more speculative investments, such as stocks in a company that they “definitely know are about to take off!” or cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. However, as mentioned above, regular investments into index funds have been repeatedly shown to be the most reliable, consistently performing investment strategy and the clearest path to wealth.
It will take some time (although the exact amount of time is up to you!), will require you to maintain regular investment habits and may even test your nerves during economic downturns. However, the benefits of being financially free and, dare I say it, perhaps even being able to retire early will be more than worth it.
5. Always make sure you get the best deal you can
Negotiating has served very well for several major characters in Star Wars. In A New Hope, Luke and his Uncle Owen choose to buy C-3PO and R5-D4. However, mere moments after the latter is taken by Luke, a malfunction occurs causing smoke to erupt from its head. Owen accuses the Jawas of trying to push a bad droid on to them. After some heated discussion and on the advice of C-3PO, they end up taking R2-D2 instead.
Similarly, in The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn is forced to haggle with Watto regarding equipment that he needs to repair his ship, as well as over the terms under which Anakin, at that time still a slave, would be released.
Jedi mind trick
It’s often said that no one has your financial interests in mind more than you and so you should always ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
A classic example is with bank fees. It’s hardly breaking news that banks will happily charge you fees for the pleasure of you having a bank account or a credit card with them.
However, did you know that if you call and (politely!) threaten to move to the bank’s competitor – especially when you have proof that said competitor offers lower or no fees – the bank is often extremely accommodating at matching the offer to retain you as a customer?
After all, it costs far more for a bank to gain a new customer than to retain you as an existing one.
Similarly, before you sign on to any long-term financial commitment, whether it be as large as a mortgage or something smaller like a phone contract, always do your research and ask for a better deal than what is being advertised. Companies will often take a hit of a few dollars to ensure they get or keep you as a customer, so take advantage of this and ensure that you get the best deal that you can.
6. Size matters not
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke escapes from the Empire in an X-wing fighter, which crash lands on the swamp planet Dagobah. There, he meets a rather unassuming creature called Yoda who, after seeking Obi-Wan Kenobi’s counsel, agrees to train Luke as a Jedi. However, Luke struggles in his training, ultimately declaring it “impossible” to raise his fighter from a swamp using the power of the Force. In response, Yoda observes: “Size matters not. Look at me? Judge me by my size, do you?”. The point is made as he succeeds in using the Force to raise Luke’s ship himself.
Jedi mind trick
Starting small when getting your finances under control is absolutely not indicative of any lack of financial power on your part. After all, if you regularly invest a few hundred dollars per month, it can easily grow to over $1,000,000 over time.
Similarly, trimming down your regular expenses is imperative to accelerating your path to early retirement.
You can even add small amounts to your income through earning money on the side, whether it be a few dollars here and there through doing surveys on sites like Swagbucks (which currently has a $10 sign-on bonus at that link!), earning a side income through driving for Uber or Lyft, or getting creative and selling things on Amazon Handmade or Etsy.
You may not earn a fortune through these sources, but they all help to increase your income. And Yoda can certainly attest that size matters not in such cases – as long as you’re further contributing towards building your wealth.
7. A piece of junk?
While the Millennium Falcon has a place in every fan’s heart, Luke’s first encounter with it was not quite as positive. Upon spotting the ship in A New Hope, he tactfully declares it to be “a piece of junk”. Han Solo, however, has other ideas, pointing out, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.” We soon see in action just how wrong Luke was.
The poor ship cops it again in The Force Awakens when Rey and Finn are looking for an escape route from an airstrike launched by the First Order. Finn points out an abandoned rusty-looking ship near them, but Rey dismisses it as “garbage”. Lo and behold, this ship is soon revealed to be the Millennium Falcon, which ends up doing a pretty good job at getting them out of a fairly explosive situation.
Jedi mind trick
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Do you have any so-called “pieces of junk” lying around your house? Why not sell your unwanted goods on sites like eBay and make some extra money instead of cluttering your house.
Similarly, if you have old technology gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, instead of leaving it to rust like the poor old Millennium Falcon, check out Gazelle. This website will pay you for your old phones and computers, even if they no longer work. And, if you sign up through that link, you’ll earn an extra $10 for your first trade-in.
8. Beware of the Dark Side
More wise words from Yoda. In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda counsels Luke to “beware of the Dark Side”, noting, “If once you start down the dark path, forever it will dominate your destiny, consume you it will”.
Jedi mind trick
There are a number of ways that this can be applied to your finances and, indeed, to life in general. One such way is to keep in mind that seeking to maximise your wealth and accelerate your path to financial freedom should not equate to being miserly or a penny pincher. While you should absolutely seek to get your expenses under control, you should also not forget to live your life – within your means, at least.
Don’t blow off a dinner with friends because you don’t want to spend money at a restaurant; instead, suggest having a pot luck at someone’s house where everyone contributes a dish.
When setting your savings goals and planning your budget accordingly, try to include some leeway for a small getaway somewhere, if possible. It could simply be camping at the national park up the road, but it’s good for your mental health to escape the daily grind sometimes. This will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your next financial hurdle.
In addition, if you can, consider even a small donation to a charity. A few dollars to a charity in your area, such as an animal shelter or school fundraiser, will be highly appreciated by the recipient organisation while being great for your own well being. Don’t forget to check if it’s tax deductible!
Essentially: Be financially conservative, but don’t be miserable. After all, you don’t want to go to the Dark Side, do you?
9. A Jedi’s training in the Force never ends
After graduation from a Jedi academy, Padawans continue their training in a variety of ways. They may, for example, be sent with their masters on journey-missions or brief assignments. Similarly, once a Jedi is a Knight, they have the option of studying further as either a Guardian, Consular or Sentinel, and could even specialise further as Watchmen or Seers. Eventually, a Knight can take on their own Padawan so as to pass on their knowledge, while also in turn learning from their younger partner.
As observed by Vodo-Siosk Baas, “A Jedi’s training in the Force never ends.”
Jedi mind trick
One’s education is never complete. Whether it be advancing your learning in your field of expertise or immersing yourself in a whole new area of interest, continuing to expand your understanding of whichever topic you choose is immensely valuable to your future.
In particular, make sure you never give up on furthering your financial knowledge. Ensuring that you have a solid understanding of key financial foundations is critical but once you have mastered those initial principles, consider further developing your wisdom from a variety of sources.
There are, for example, a range of excellent books for expanding your financial knowledge. As a starting point, consider reading The Millionaire Next Door, The Richest Man in Babylon and The Simple Path to Wealth, which all provide simple, straightforward explanations of just how to set up your financial future.
After all, you don’t want to be The Last Jedi to figure all of this out, do you?
Now go forth, young Padawan! And may the (financial) Force be with you.