The Financial Lessons We Can Learn from Game of Thrones

‘Who will sit on the iron throne’, how many times have you heard that in the last couple weeks, probably one too many. Game of Thrones currently has the world at a standstill as we have collectively become obsessed with the fantasy world George R.R. Martin has created. And while the world of Game of Thrones contains Dragons, Giants, and White Walkers, funnily enough in Westeros, money is still what makes the world go round. With all its differences, Game of Thrones couldn’t escape from the very real realms of personal finance. As the seven kingdoms have constantly been at war, money is as powerful an asset in the show as it is in real life, making it no surprise the richest family in Westeros has sat on the iron throne for seven seasons. Looking north of King’s landing, do you think it would be possible for the Night King to be defeated if the Stark’s, Targaryen’s and Lannister’s didn’t have their finances in order, I think not. There might even be an argument to say the finances of the realm may be the decisive factor as to whether or not the living survive the fight against the dead. Only time will tell, In the meantime here are a number of personal finance tips the show has taught us.

1. Winter is Coming

The most famous quote in the series, ‘Winter is Coming’, for a long time people didn’t know when it was coming but even from season 1 no one acted as if it wasn’t just around the corner. Ser Davos Seaworth, personally one of my favourite characters, put it very well ‘Don’t be so sure. Safety is never a permanent state of affairs’. The financial lesson to be taken away from this is that one should always have an emergency fund, safety is never a permanent affair and winter is always around the corner. Make sure you have money tucked away for when you might need it most.

2. Trust no one

What keeps Game of Thrones so enticing is that you never know who to trust and what people’s true intentions are. The sheer amount of backstabbing and side switching makes us nervous about getting attached to any one specific character. While I am not suggesting you live a life where you trust no one, one must always be cautious, especially on the internet. In the same way that ‘A girl has no name’ neither do hackers, fraudsters and identity thieves. You can never be too careful on the internet and remember, never trust a get rich quick investment scheme!!!

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There is no shame in leaning on a friend in a time of need. I can think of two times that the show’s most beloved and honourable character Jon Snow pleaded for help in a time of crisis. Firstly to the Wildlings when he needed reinforcements in his fight against Ramsey Bolton. Secondly and more importantly when he travelled to Dragonstone to ask for Daenerys Targaryen’s help in the war against the White Walkers. If you're in need of money calling on a friend is generally a better option than reaching out to a payday lender.

4. Shortcuts will only backfire

You can’t take shortcuts if you want to succeed at something. Take Theon Greyjoy for example, he tried to take control of the North and Winterfell when it was practically unarmed. Dishonouring the family that had looked after him so well, he paid the price for trying to take a shortcut in his quest for power. Ramsey Bolton made sure he would not take any shortcuts again. When looking at your budget one should follow in the footsteps of Lord Vary’s and be patient, intelligent and disciplined, ensuring you make the most out of your money.

5. A Lannister always pays his debts

You don’t become the most powerful house in all the kingdoms if you don’t command a certain level of respect. The Lannisters always pay their debts, a phrase said all too often yet one that has ensured the Lannister’s reign of power hasn’t ended. While the Lannisters have been described as many things, when it comes to holding up their end of the bargain they always deliver. The fact that they are known for always paying their debts ensured that Walder Frey and Roose Bolton held up their end of the deal, when it came to the Red Wedding. May I remind you, Rob Stark never paid off his debt when he promised to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters. You will always have to pay back your debts so make sure you never bite off more than you can chew when it comes to a loan. Be more like the Lannisters and less like the Starks.