Feb 24, 2021

Useful Personal Finance Movies and Documentaries with Worksheets

Looking for more movies you can use with your students to learn more about personal finance topics? Here is a list of personal finance movies and documentaries with ready-to-use classroom worksheets.

In order to access the answer keys for the worksheets, click on the button at the top of the Video Library page while signed into your NGPF Teacher Account.

Also, NGPF has two documentaries highlighting the national momentum that is increasing access to financial education: The Most Important Class You Never Had and Real World Class.  


The American Nightmare: 10 Years After the Financial Crisis

Primary Topic: Managing Credit

Synopsis: Ten years after the housing crisis, many people were forced to change their plans for their financial futures -- and redefine their ideas of the American dream. Find out what they learned and how experts say you can prepare if another crisis unfolds in this two-part documentary.

Duration: 42 min

Movie Website

 

The Ascent of Money Part 1: From Bullion to Bubbles

Primary Topic: Types of Credit

Synopsis: Economist and historian Niall Ferguson examines the current global financial crisis in the context of the financial history of the West, Topics in this episode include: the beginnings of moneylending, stocks, bonds and credit.

Duration: 56 min

Movie Website 

 

The Ascent of Money Part 2: Bonds of War

Primary Topic: Investing

Synopsis: Niall Ferguson documents the rise of modern finance in Europe and its expansion into the Far East, including the ascendancy of the Rothschilds and bond markets, and the decline of Europe's landed aristocracy. 

Duration: 56 min

Movie Website 

 

The Ascent of Money Part 3: Risky Business

Primary Topic: Various Topics

Synopsis: Economist and historian Niall Ferguson examines the roots of the insurance industry in Europe, disasters like Hurricane Katrina that expose problems in risk management, and the history of hedge funds. 

Duration: 56 min

Movie Website 

 

The Ascent of Money Part 4: Planet Finance

Primary Topic: Various Topics

Synopsis: Niall Ferguson chronicles the spread of good -- and bad -- financial practices across the globe, and the consequences for all of us.

Duration: 56 min

Movie Website 

 

Broke, Busted, and Disgusted

Primary Topic: Paying for College

Synopsis: Broke, Busted, and Disgusted is a pro-education documentary covering the true cost of college. While many issues contribute to the student loan crisis, we believe the most immediate action we can take is to educate the next generation about their options, the consequences of student debt, and the financial decisions they face. 

Duration: 53 min

Movie Website 

 

Broken Eggs: The Looming Retirement Crisis in America

Primary Topic: Investing

Synopsis: Happily ever after is quickly becoming... working ever after. Taking a rare look at one of the gravest social issues facing an aging America, Broken Eggs showcases the grim irony that as we live longer, a growing number of Americans are falling short of retirement security. Sadly, the prognosis is even worse for future generations. Unlike any documentary of its kind, Broken Eggs blends comical animations with unforgettable portraits of everyday Americans reckoning with their inability to retire.

Duration: 79 min

Movie Website 

 

The Card Game

Primary Topic: Managing Credit

Synopsis: As credit card companies face rising public anger, new regulation from Washington and a potential perfect storm of economic bad news, FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman examines the future of the massive consumer loan industry and its impact on a fragile national economy. In a joint project with The New York Times, Bergman talks to industry insiders, lobbyists, politicians and consumer advocates as they square off over new regulation and the possible creation of a consumer finance protection agency.

Duration: 56 min

Movie Website 

 

ESPN Broke

Primary Topic: Money and Me

Synopsis: Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Broke digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature carried them to victory on the field yet seemed to ruin them off the field.

Duration: 78 min

Movie Website 

 

Explained: Stock Market

Primary Topic: Investing

Synopsis: A soaring stock market doesn’t necessarily mean the economy is strong. What’s good for corporations isn’t always what’s best for its workers and consumers. And only about half of Americans own stock, meaning millions are left out when the market surges. In this episode, VOX measures what the stock market is actually measuring.

Duration: 17 min

Movie Website 

 

Inside Job

Primary Topic: Investing

Synopsis: The global financial meltdown that took place in Fall 2008 caused millions of job and home losses and plunged the United States into a deep economic recession. Matt Damon narrates a documentary that provides a detailed examination of the elements that led to the collapse and identifies key financial and political players. Director Charles Ferguson conducts a wide range of interviews and traces the story from the United States to China to Iceland to several other global financial hot spots.

Duration: 108 min

Movie Website 

 

Maxed Out

Primary Topic: Managing Credit

Synopsis: Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Hilarious, shocking and incisive, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us. 

Duration: 86 min

Movie Website 

 

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

Primary Topic: Money & Me

Synopsis: How might your life be better with less? Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.

Duration: 79 min

Movie Website 



Money, Explained: Student Loans

Primary Topic: Paying for College

Synopsis: Higher education helps society. But paying for it can be ruinous. What led to the U.S. student debt crisis, and is there a way to fix it?

Duration: 22 min

Movie Website 

 

Playing with FIRE: The Documentary

Primary Topic: Budgeting

Synopsis: Filled with inspiring stories and the influencers who make up the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement. Playing with FIRE is one family's journey to acquire the one thing that money can't buy: a simpler ― and happier ― life.

Duration: 75 min

Movie Website 

 

The Retirement Gamble

Primary Topic: Investing

Synopsis: Whether your IRA or 401K will assure a safe retirement is largely a gamble. Building off reporting from the groundbreaking special Money, Power and Wall Street, FRONTLINE's special raises troubling questions about how America's financial institutions protect our savings and answer them as reinforcements for what personal finance teachers are instructing students to do, starting with being considerate of investment fees. 

Duration: 52 min

Movie Website 

 

The Secret History of the Credit Card

Primary Topic: Managing Credit

Synopsis: In “Secret History of the Credit Card,” correspondent Lowell Bergman uncovers the techniques used by the industry to earn record profits and get consumers to take on more debt. Some experts argue the profitability of credit cards began when the banking industry successfully eliminated a critical restriction: the limit on the interest rate a lender can charge a borrower. Deregulation, coupled with a revolution in technology enabled the almost real-time tracking of personal financial information and the emergence of nationwide banking, facilitated the widening availability of credit cards across the economic spectrum. But for some, the cost of credit is often far greater than it appears.

Duration: 55 min

Movie Website 

 

Spent: Looking for Change

Primary Topic: Checking

Synopsis: A film about everyday Americans without the financial options most of us take for granted, and the movement giving them renewed hope. Turning to pawn shops, check cashing services, and payday lenders to meet basic financial needs can be costly for many.

Duration: 40 min

Movie Website 

 

Thinking Money: The Psychology Behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions 

Primary Topic: Behavioral Economics

Synopsis: Host Dave Coyne leads viewers through an exploration of what behavioral economics reveals about why we spend, save (or don’t save) and the way we think about money. Dave meets with innovative thinkers who mix economics with psychology. Their experiments and insights into our financial behavior teach us to recognize how our brains and the marketplace can trick us into spending money we shouldn’t. 

Duration: 57 min

Movie Website 

 

Your Life Your Money

Primary Topic: Managing Credit

Synopsis: Featuring compelling real-life stories of young people finding their way through a variety of economic challenges, "Your Life, Your Money" delivers basic financial advice in a simple and relatable manner. This one-hour special raises fiscal consciousness on everything from banking and credit to investments, budgeting, insurance and self employment.

Duration: 57 min

Movie Website

 

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