Groundhog Day: The 5 Bill Murray movies that offer financial lessons

Brian Acton


Brian Acton

Brian Acton

Contributing Reporter

Brian Acton is a contributing reporter at Policygenius, where he covers personal finance and insurance news. His work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, USA Today, MarketWatch, Inc. Magazine, and HuffPost. 

Published January 28, 2019 | 3 min read

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Groundhog Day is the 1993 classic comedy film that asks the question: What happens when a TV weatherman, played by Bill Murray, starts reliving the same day over and over again? The repeating time loop helps the protagonist learn lessons, over the course of the movie, that ultimately drive personal growth.

With the actual Groundhog Day approaching, we wondered what other Bill Murray roles contain valuable financial lessons. There are more than you may think — here’s five of the best.

1. "What About Bob"

The movie: In What About Bob, psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin is driven to the breaking point by obsessive, clingy patient Bob Wiley, played by Murray. But Dr. Marvin’s book, Baby Steps, provides Bob a framework for improving his life. Bob follows this strategy and ends up getting married, becoming a psychologist and writing a book of his own.

The lesson: The “baby step” philosophy advises people to set small, reasonable goals for themselves on a day-to-day basis to achieve their goals. Most financial goals seem overwhelming when you only focus on the end result. But you can use realistic, short term goals to make progress toward long term financial plans such as establishing an emergency savings fund, paying down debt or improving your credit score.

Don't know where to start? Here's a guide on how to conquer those new year resolutions.

2. "Rushmore"

The movie: Rushmore follows student Max Fischer and wealthy businessman Herman Blume, played by Murray, as they compete for the affections of an elementary school teacher.

The lesson: Though the plot itself isn’t exactly money-focused, the behind-the-scenes is a solid financial lesson. Despite his starpower, Murray reportedly loved the script so much that he agreed to work for scale, which was around $9,000. Sometimes taking a chance on something you’re passionate about, even if the initial compensation is low, can yield great returns in the long run.

3. "Scrooged"

The movie: In this updated take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, successful TV executive Frank Cross alienates his love interest and staff with his cynical, self-serving attitude. Soon, a trio of ghosts come to show Frank the error of his ways.

The lesson: The message in this one is simple: be careful who you step on and neglect as you chase money and success. You may end up hurting the people you care about.

4. "Ghostbusters"

The movie: The original Ghostbusters is a wildly popular comedy about a team of scientists who band together to fight the paranormal and save New York City. It’s launched a media franchise including sequels and reboots, video games and even a cartoon series.

The lesson: Ghostbusters is a plucky story about starting a small business, with lessons throughout: The scientists find a niche that no one else is filling, keep their overhead costs low by renting an abandoned fire station and create a strong advertising campaign to market their services.

5. "Groundhog Day"

The movie: Weatherman Phil Connors is stuck reliving the same day. Only through repeated attempts at improving his behavior and outlook is he finally able to break free.

The lesson: Groundhog Day’s financial lesson is simple: never stop trying. Despite being stuck in a repeating loop for years, Phil Connors never stops trying to break out. Even if you feel stuck with bad credit, low income or poor financial habits, you have the ability to improve your situation given enough time.

Looking for more movie lessons? Here are some money lessons from your favorite holiday movies.

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