This article was originally published on 21 June 2017 and updated with new recommendations.
For those who are sick of the usual Hollywood blockbusters or chick flicks, but can’t bear to stop watching television, it’s time for you to consider watching something more useful.
In today’s article, we have compiled a list of some of the top shows that you can watch in order to better understand the world of finance, while not missing out on the entertainment value that you desperately crave. If you have enjoyed watching shows like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room”, our recommended list will not disappoint you.
Apart from the awesome casting in this TV series, be thrilled by the day-to-day work of the hedge fund king, Bobby Axelrod as he conquers the industry in the process of making his billions.
The TV series follows the extravagant life of Bobby Axelrod while the U.S. district attorney finds ways to pin him down for insider trading. We shall not go on any further to avoid leaking spoilers to you. Netflix has recently released its fifth season earlier in November 2020, making it a total of 55 episodes for you to binge-watch during this festive season.
#2 Dirty Money
Corporate malpractices and corruptions aplenty, this Netflix documentary TV series is on its second season now. It exposes well-known brands like Volkswagen on a fraud of staggering proportions (Season 1’s Hard NOx), and even a trail of suspicious transactions led to the shocking reveal of banking giant HSBC and its ties with Mexico’s drug cartels (Season 1’s Cartel Bank episode).
Unlike a TV series with a storyline to follow through, this documentary series wraps up each case within one episode – which also means you can skip the ‘less interesting’ episodes without missing a thing.
#3 The Laundromat
Bribery, corruption and money laundering, a woman was left widowed when her husband died in a tour boat accident. Her attempts to get the insurance settlement led her into an unexpected reveal of insurance companies, shell companies and offshore accounts corruptions.
The TV series unfolds in Sandbox, a utopian start-up incubator in Seoul, revolves around Seo Dal-mi, played by K-pop idol Bae Suzy, an ambitious millennial who dreams of becoming a successful start-up CEO. If you enjoy following Silicon Valley success stories, the 17-episode Korean drama series will give you a glimpse of tech start-up life – the late night hustle and charismatic pitches to investors.
#5 Money, Explained
A fun and fast-paced documentary series on money and the minefields we can potentially find ourselves in. Narrated by celebrity narrators (Tiffany Haddish, Bobby Cannavale, Edie Falco, Jane Lynch and Marcia Gay Harden), each episode covers a single finance topic with clever narrative, animations and expert interviews. Even if you are an expert on personal finance, there is something to learn in each short 20-minute episode. Ever wondered why people fall for scams, why rack up credit card debts, why there is a student loan crisis, why people gamble? It’s time to find out.
Bonus: while our previous picks are no longer available on Netflix Singapore, we still recommend them for your viewing pleasure.
#6 All The Money In The World
A true story based on John Paul Getty III’s kidnapping. In 1973, kidnappers demand $17 million from billionaire J. Paul Getty, in exchange for his grandson’s release. Getty refuses to pay a single cent despite the desperate pleas from his former daughter-in-law, Gail. Instead, he got his adviser and an ex-CIA agent, Fletcher Chase to plan out a rescue mission to save his grandson without complying with the ransom demand.
A little fun fact here which we later found out after watching the movie. Apart from the Getty Oil company, the Getty family also owns the well-known Getty Images, founded by his other grandson, Mark Getty.
Starring Ashton Kutcher as the college dropout, Steve Jobs, together with his friend, Steve Wozniak, spark a revolution in home computers. The movie follows the rocky entrepreneurship journey of Steve Jobs from getting investors down to Steve’s home to view the first prototype to the invention of the iPod.
#8 The Big Short (Not Available On Netflix Singapore)
If you want to learn more about the exciting life of a trader and hedge fund manager, this award-winning movie will blow your mind away.
The movie focuses on the global financial crisis meltdown in 2008, starring Christian Bale who acts as a hedge fund manager. His character found some astonishing data on the structure of a large number of mortgage bonds and he decided to bet against it.
#9 Betting On Zero (Not Available On Netflix Singapore)
The 90-minute documentary covers a balanced side of Mr Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Capital Management that went short against Herbalife, betting $1 billion against its stock. Though Herbalife did not participate in the documentary, it includes some interesting footage of former CEO, Michael O. Johnson sharing his insights on the entire saga.
#10 Inside Job (Not Available On Netflix Singapore)
If you enjoy watching ‘The Big Short” movie, you will definitely enjoy watching this award-winning documentary that takes us through the growth and downturn of the 2008 housing and banking financial crisis.
The documentary gives you a good perspective of what exactly happened during the financial crisis and the aftermath.
#11 Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy (Not Available On Netflix Singapore)
This documentary will give you shocking insights from several of Steve Job’s former partners and close friends. It also covers the beginning of the Apple computer, how the idea came about, to the devastating moment when Steve Jobs got fired from his company in 1985.
The documentary also features the growth and key lessons from each setback that “hippy” Steve Jobs encountered through his entrepreneurship journey.
#12 The China Hustle (Not Available On Netflix Singapore)
Suitable for the mainstream viewers with little knowledge of how investments and stock market works, the 2-hour documentary investigates the collusion that occurred between 2008 and 2016 with some US-based Wall Street investment firms and small companies based in China.
As investment firms in the United States look for ways to improve clients’ investment performance, they chanced upon the idea of selling opportunities to unsuspecting American investors who want to get rich by selling them the China growth story. Small companies in China were merged with shell companies in the United States. If you are into the real exposé of financial fraud cases, this movie might be just right for you.
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