8 Marvelous Money Lessons We Can Learn From "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

·11 min read

There are countless reasons to love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Midge's limitless supply of hats, her countless comedy club zingers, and the prospect of her someday, maybe finally, ending up with Lenny Bruce...

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Currently streaming its fourth season on Amazon Prime, Maisel remains a quippy, witty, endearing work of art in true Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of the equally quippy Gilmore Girls) fashion.

Even if you aren't a housewife-turned-stand-up-comedian living in 1960s New York City, a hidden gem of this series is its surprisingly relatable commentary on money management.

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Money, which has already played an integral role in Midge's journey during the first three seasons, is playing an even greater role in the fourth installment.

*SEASON 4 SPOILERS AHEAD!*

We're brought back into the marvelous world of Miriam "Midge" Maisel just in time to be reminded that she was fired from Shy Baldwin's tour and left penniless due to manager Susie's gambling problem. Oh, and she unwittingly bought back her lavish apartment just hours earlier.

So before you get on a Ferris wheel and start screaming about your money problems to your in-laws, here are eight financial lessons we can learn from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel:

1.Be prepared for the unexpected.

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The importance of an emergency fund goes all the way back to the show's very first episode. As a seemingly well-to-do and happy couple, the hardships that strike Midge and Joel Maisel seemingly come out of the blue.

Joel has decided to up and leave his family, taking his marriage, dignity, and Midge's suitcase with him (the audacity!). On top of this devastating news, we soon find out that the Maisels don't actually own their grandiose apartment — and the owner, Joel's father, wants it back.

Midge has now lost her husband and her home, and must come to terms with the fact that her in-laws have been paying for, well, pretty much everything! In this day and age, Joel neglecting to share the full truth of their finances would be considered a big old case of financial infidelity. Yikes!

Midge's circumstances are the definition of the saying, "when life gives you lemons..." If she wasn't a housewife living in the 1960s, having a nest egg saved could have softened the blow of these unexpected hardships at least a little.

While the amount of money saved for an emergency is going to vary person-to-person, experts recommend saving around three to six months worth of expenses to ward off those lemons. You can find tips for building your emergency fund here.

2.Sometimes "money jobs" are necessary while pursuing your passions.

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Fortunately for Midge, her personal tragedies make for great comedic content — at least while on stage. Her split from Joel is the start of Mrs. Maisel becoming the hilarious comedic genius that she is, but Midge quickly finds out that being a newbie in the stand-up comedy industry isn't all that lucrative.

To start earning a little money, Season 1 Midge takes a department store job at the cosmetics counter, on top of booking gigs at nightclubs with Susie. We see her doing this until she's able to make a living off of the career she really wants.

Sometimes, making a living off of what we love just isn't possible right away. Even this season, with a new set of financial hardships rearing their ugly head, Midge has taken up selling Tupperware to make a bit of extra cash.

Whether you're living in the 1960s or 2022, these storylines are a good reminder that there is no shame in the side hustle game (or in a full-time hustle while you pursue your passion on the side!)

3.Growing your savings account takes time.

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All good things take time...like becoming a famous stand-up comedian, for example! Mrs. Maisel's jokes have always been marvelous (truly, she was showing Joel up with her wit from day one), but it takes patience and dedication for Midge to move past the Gaslight Cafe onto bigger and better things.

Not only does this series take us through the highs and lows of building a notable career from scratch, but we also see this reflected in her finances as well. After the split from Joel, Miriam is essentially left with nothing — and is fortunate to have her parents' luxurious pad to stay in for the time being.

In order to get her life on track, both personally and professionally, Midge has to start saving. A retail job and a few local comedy gigs don't make her rich overnight, but they are a launching pad for the start of becoming financially independent.

While the mess with Shy Baldwin last season (plus Susie's gambling problem) threw a wrench in Midge's progress, we can still take away an important lesson: growing substantial savings takes time, strategy, and a well-thought-out budget.

4.Know how to identify a financial scam.

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In this day and age, staying vigilant against financial scams and fraud is of the utmost importance! From knowing how to identify spam phone calls and emails, to keeping your online bank information secure, financial safety is a big part of good money management.

Back in the '60s, you might see this problem manifest a little differently. Perhaps you've booked your client a comedy gig only to have the venue's manager refuse your paycheck and lock you in a closet.

Okay, this example might be Susie Myerson-specific, but it does showcase a money-swindling scam! Don't make the same mistakes as Susie. Whether you're kickstarting entrepreneurial endeavors, or simply managing your money online, always make sure you're working with credible and trustworthy resources!

A sidebar lesson learned from the misfortunes of Midge's sharp-tongued manager would be to always keep track of the money that you're owed. Even if it's not as intentional as being refused a paycheck, it is good practice to monitor your paystubs for any accidental discrepancies.

5.Everyone's financial situation is different (and it does no good to compare!)

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From the get-go, there is a glaring difference between Midge and Susie's lifestyles. While our comedy queen has a closet full of hats and shoes that rival her quippy modern NYC counterpart Carrie Bradshaw, Susie lives in a questionable studio apartment that has to be 300 square feet max. Both women are hard workers with a drive to grow their careers. The difference, we quickly see, is that Midge has been born into a life of financial privilege — even if it's not without hardship.

Even more prevalently, we see this privilege in Joel, whose father has basically handed him his career, purchased him an apartment, and provided him with a loan to start a new career after falling into a quarter-life (ish) crisis.

It's hard to say how much money Joel actually has to his name, since his parents, Moishe and Shirley, are a permanent safety net. By Season 4, Joel, Midge, and Susie are all working hard at their respective dreams, but their financial situations are strikingly different.

In the age of social media, it's especially easy to get down on ourselves when we see others' financial accomplishments. Maisel reminds us that when it comes to money, everyone's situation is different. Need a little encouragement boost? Here are 12 signs your finances are in better shape than you think.

6.Lying about money always leads to consequences.

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When Susie agrees to manage Midge's comedy career, she brings a little bit of bookkeeping experience from her time at the Gaslight Cafe. Dealing with her client's rising fame is a new challenge, however, and we see Susie begin to develop a gambling addiction.

Her slippery slope of poor money management implodes during the Season 3 finale, when Susie loses all of their tour earnings in a bet, and then commits insurance fraud with her sister.

Rather than coming clean to Midge, Susie keeps these skeletons hidden away in a closet, so to speak, and asks Joel to lend her money at the start of Season 4.

As if Susie's illegal activity isn't bad enough, every episode this season is a ticking timebomb until Midge (who is experiencing financial hardships of her own) finds out the truth about her manager's deception.

Coming clean wouldn't bring back the money lost, but the dishonesty is almost certain to make things more difficult for both Susie and Midge down the line. Lesson learned? Don't gamble away your life's savings and don't lie about it!

7.Know how to manage your own money.

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In light of Susie's money issues above, our next tidbit of Maisel wisdom is this: know how to manage your own finances! Since the series is set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it makes sense why Midge is so hands-off with her money.

Until her comedy career, she's never really had any money to call her own. Midge has always been financially dependent on her parents or the Maisels, and is now, in Season 4, finally learning how to balance a checkbook.

While Susie is technically in charge of her comedy show earnings (unfortunately), Midge is finally learning the importance of a good old-fashioned budget!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel might be MC'ing at a strip club and selling plastic kitchenware, but by golly, she knows just how much money is coming in and how much money is going out toward bills and expenses. Go, Midge! We can all take a page out of her joke book and remember to keep tabs on our assets, investments, and budget!

8.There's truth to the old saying: money doesn't buy happiness.

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This theme is prevalent throughout the series from day one. Joel and Midge, who had access to wealth (even if it wasn't their own) weren't happy together. During Season 2, Rose abandons her cushy life, fleeing to Paris to join a free-spirited art commune instead of dealing with family problems.

Season 4 has Midge's father, Abe, starting a new job as a theatre critic for a local newspaper, The Village Voice. The position is about as lucrative as it sounds, with his weekly paycheck good for covering "an egg or two" or "maybe half a carrot." Eek!

However, in a tipsy heart-to-heart with his daughter, Abe confesses that he is really, truly happy: "The both of us pursuing our art," he says. "Though one of us pursuing banking would've been smart."

Despite this little joke (and the family's dip in income), we can see that both Abe and Midge feel their cup is the most full when they are doing what they love. Yes, there is an element of privilege in the fact they can both pursue their passions without going completely destitute, but the lesson rings true all the same: money doesn't buy happiness.

This sentimental scene ends with Abe and Midge making a powerful toast: "to art".

While Midge might still be grasping at the basics of money management, we have to hand it to her: our comedy queen is stepping up and defying a system that wasn't created for women during the 1960s.

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It's safe to assume most of Midge's housewife friends have never created a budget, let alone know how much money their family has saved.

In fact, it wasn't until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 that women could even be approved for credit without a male co-signer. In almost every facet of her life, Midge Maisel is marvelously ahead of her time!

We still have a road ahead of us when it comes to full gender equality in the financial realm. But we've sure come a long way and could take a page out of Midge's book as we move forward!

Are there other financial tidbits you've found in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Share them in the comments below!