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 sixth season earlier in January 2022, making it a total of 60 episodes for you to binge-watch over the weekends.
#2 Dirty Money
Corporate malpractices and corruptions aplenty, this Netflix documentary TV series has launched a second season. 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).
Season 2 continues to shed light on money laundering and fraudulent practices across different contexts including banking, politics and environment. 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.
Read Also: How Do Criminals Use Money Laundering?
#4 Start-Up (Korean)
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 Start-up (American)
Prior to the release of Korean TV Series, Start-Up, there is an American series by the same name aired in 2018 with a completely different narrative. Highly relevant to the investment landscape in recent years, the series is centred on the emergence of digital currency. This may be a topic close to the heart of many millennial investors.
#6 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.
#7 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.
#9 The Big Short
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.
#10 Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates: Limited Series
This three-part Netflix documentary uncovers the basics of Bill Gates’ life, from going into his childhood life to running Microsoft and his married life with his wife, Melinda and the charity foundation they co-manage.
The Netflix documentary gives us a closer view of who Bill Gates is as a person, what he has accomplished and what forms one of the world’s wealthiest man.
#11 Money Heist
Money Heist was undoubtedly one of the most hyped series upon its release on Netflix. It is an unusual yet intriguing Spanish heist crime TV series on eight robbers who attempt to carry out the biggest robbery in history, stealing 2.4 billion euros from the Royal Mint of Spain – backed by a criminal mastermind called ‘The Professor’. Discover how the characters use mind games and negotiation strategies to manipulate one another.
#12 Inventing Anna
Inspired by the real-life story of Anna Sorokin, a make-believe wealthy heiress who was convicted of larceny, the series narrates how the female antagonist manages to con the higher society of New York City into believing her prestigious status and financing hundreds and thousands of dollars into her exclusive art club.
#13 Tinder Swindler
A British true crime documentary series that tells the story of the Israeli conman (Simon Leviev) who used Tinder, the popular online dating app, to manipulate females into believing their romantic relationships and financially supporting his lavish lifestyle on the pretext of escaping from his business enemies. It may be hard to believe that Simon Leviev has swindled an estimated amount of over $10 million from females around the world, and continues to live scot-free.
Bonus: while our previous picks are no longer available on Netflix Singapore, we still recommend them for your viewing pleasure.
#14 The Pursuit Of Happyness (Not Available On Netflix Singapore)
Inspired by a true story, a smart salesman (Chris) was scammed into spending his family savings on some bone-density scanners, an apparatus twice as expensive as an x-ray machine but with a slightly clearer image. His wife eventually left him and his son. Without money or a wife, but committed to his son, Chris sees a chance to fight for a stockbroker internship position at Dean Witter, offering a promising career at the end of a six-month unpaid training period.
He went through a whole journey of ups and downs, but he held on to his belief to never give up no matter how challenging life is. Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.
#15 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.
#16 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.
#17 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.
#18 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.
This article was originally published on 21 June 2017 and updated with new recommendations.
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