Valar morghulis financial fiends! Welcome back.
As a book reader, I’ve been a Game of Thrones fan since – well – before the First Men arrived on premium cable. So, as the show charges toward this season’s finale (and next year’s series finale), I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the program’s most memorable quotes.
Of course, these can’t be just any quotes. This is a personal finance piece, after all!
To help make the most of your money, I’ve compiled my own Seven-Pointed Star of the most spectacular Game of Thrones money quotes I could find. Even if you haven’t seen the series, you can still put them to good use. So, hold on to your smallclothes because these financial tips might ignite your financial success faster than a barrel of wildfire to a sept. Enjoy!
(Warning: Mild spoilers may lie ahead…)
“A Lannister always pays his debts.”
This common phrase comes with some serious subtext on the show, but it’s actually great financial advice for the rest of us common folk. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize how big a problem our debt has become until it’s too late. Debt has the ability to cripple your finances, dash your dreams, and even topple dynasties. Heck, even the wealthiest family is Westeros is forced to walk on eggshells when dealing with the Iron Bank.
If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: Debt is the single biggest obstacle standing between you and the life you love. It forces you to work longer and harder for things you don’t really need and can’t afford. Pay off your debt as quickly as possible. Then, vow to stay out of debt for good.
“Any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king.”
Everywhere you look, people are sporting ridiculous jewelry and wearing designer clothes. They drive $50,000 SUVs and build starter castles that would put Harrenhal to shame. “Look at me!” they’re crying out. “I’m rich!” Except, they’re not… not usually, anyway.
Most of what you see is an illusion. Their “wealth” is a trick. These status symbols are almost always a mummer’s farce backed by a mountain of debt the size of Dragonstone. Generally speaking, people who feel the need to live like a king rarely end up owning anything at all. They just trade one giant payment for the next.
On the other hand, the wealthiest people you know are more likely to look like a pauper than a prince. Instead of being flashy with their wealth, they typically live like the people next door. They’ve learned the value of a dollar, have built passive income streams, and refuse to waste their money on things they don’t really care about. That way, they’ve always got enough to spend on the things that matter to them most.
“Winter is coming.”
The stock market is going gang-busters right now, and it seems like everything is coming up Gilly, right? Trust me, everybody feels like a genius when things are going well. But, as the ominous words of House Stark so often remind us, winter is definitely coming.
If you’re a child of summer who has never been privy to an economic downturn, it’s natural to think this run of luck might go on forever. Even those who have experienced tough times start to forget, believing that tales of economic doom are just stories of grumpkins and snarks. But winter always returns… so you better start preparing for it while the weather is warm.
Your best defense against he unknown is, and always has been, an emergency fund. Like a 700-foot wall of ice holding an army of the dead at bay, an emergency fund of 3 to 6 month’s expenses can help you make it safely through the Long Night to come. So, get to it and start building yours today!
“Chaos is a ladder.”
You may not always agree with Littlefinger’s tactics, but you have to admit that the guy is as sharp as a Valyrian steel dagger. This master planner is always prepared for anything, constantly fighting every battle in his mind and laying the groundwork for his next move. That way, when an opportunity presents itself, he has the ammunition to boldly exploit it.
Winter is definitely coming. It may not be today, tomorrow, or even this year. But, for those who have prepared, it won’t catch them by surprise. In fact, while everybody else is panicked, smart money managers can use the chaos to improve their positions over the long-run. Even the great Warren Buffet advises people to “…be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” Lay your plans now so that you can buy at a discount when the opportunity arises. Those who do will usually emerge from the chaos as a winner.
“Safety is never a permanent state of affairs.”
Ser Davos gives us this quote, and I think it’s a gem. Many of us fail with our finances because we never learn to adapt. Instead of adjusting to the times, we hold on to old ways of thinking, crushing our ability to get ahead. At one time, investing in a blacksmith shop would have made you bank. Just 20 years ago, investing in the Yellow Pages may have seemed like a good idea. How did that work out for those who refused to adapt?
Remember, everything runs in cycles. What was once a safe bet may eventually become obsolete. The Onion Knight understands this and has lived to a ripe old age because of his ability to adapt to the current conditions. Although you don’t want to overplay your hand, constantly trading investments in sheer panic mode, you should never grow overly comfortable with your situation either. Nothing is permanent, so it is important to play the long game.
“The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.”
Once again, this quote comes courtesy of the incomparable Tywin Lannister. At first glance it probably seems a bit aloof (Tywin has that effect), but lemme ‘splain.
As you attempt to improve your finances, everybody around you will have an opinion. They’ll tell you that paying off your mortgage is silly. They’ll roll their eyes and shoot disapproving looks when you mention your investment strategy. Even the blood of your blood may call you a cheapskate, a fun killer, or penny pincher. Don’t listen to them.
You see, the vast majority of people are terrible with money. One look at the U.S. household debt statistics will show you what I mean. In reality, most of the money opinions offered by others are as helpful to you as nipples on a breastplate. While you’re busy building a stash of gold dragons, they’ll continue digging a debt ditch bigger and deeper than the Trident. Ignore the opinions of the sheep. Find your inner lion (or dragon, or direwolf) instead.
“The only people who aren’t afraid of failure are madmen…”
Imagine if Thomas Edison allowed his 10,000 failed attempts at creating a working light bulb to stop him. What if Bill Gates had given into fear after his first business failed? Suppose David Beinoff and D.B. Weiss never brought Game of Thrones to life because they felt so overwhelmed that their show wouldn’t live up to the novels. What a shame that would be!
Tyrion Lannister tells us that everybody fears failure, and he’s right. The night may be dark and full of terrors, but the most successful people in the world learn to push through their fear and try anyway. In fact, successful people fail far more than they succeed. Eventually, they come to recognize failure for what it really is: The greatest teacher of them all.
So, there you have it! While sound money management may not help you seize the Iron Throne, it can definitely help you live the life you’ve always wanted. By taking care of the money you already earn, you’ll end up with more to spend on the things that are really important to you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun financial look at my favorite Game of Thrones quotes. Better yet, maybe you even learned something along the way. Thanks so much for reading, and seven blessings to you all!
Are there any great Game of Thrones quotes I missed? Let me know in the comments below!