We love our favourite TV characters like they’re our besties: sometimes we get our hair cut like theirs, we drop their trademark expressions into conversations…

But they’re not always the greatest financial role models. When it comes to these six famous TV characters, you’d best copy their haircut and leave it at that.

Stringer Bell, The Wire


We’re all for getting more financially literate, so it’s excellent to see drug lord Stringer Bell studying economics. And how handsome is he! But the hero worship needs to stop there, because peddling heroin, organising murders and laundering money are ultimately not going to be good for your finances, whether you land in the slammer or end up like Stringer does.

George Costanza, Seinfeld


George is a classic example of a miser, whether he’s skimping on tips or grafting money from his friends. As opposed to being frugal (good), George is just plain cheap (bad). So when he buys discounted envelopes for his wedding invitations, they turn out to be toxic and kill his fiancé. It was a relief for him, admittedly, but for the rest of us… cheap doesn’t pay!

Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City


An obvious one, but Carrie gets a rude shock when she realises she’s invested $40,000 in designer shoes, yet can’t scrape together a house deposit, and is considered an undesirable candidate for a loan. Two things, Carrie: shoes do not count as an investment; and the golden rule with budgeting is to put the savings away FIRST and then leave a modest amount for splurging.

Earl of Grantham, Downton Abbey


Patriach Robert Crawley invests his wife’s inheritance in a single stock, a Canadian railway company that promptly goes bankrupt. A sobering lesson here folks: diversify. And do your own research when you’re investing (don’t rely on the assurances of your peers).

Rachel and Joey, Friends

These guys are textbook bad with money. Rachel buys clothes using credit cards paid for by her parents and has to cut up the cards to finally assert her financial independence. When Joey the struggling actor scores a part in Days of our Lives, he spends big on things he doesn’t need. When he loses his job he can’t meet his credit card payments and his stuff gets repossessed. So many lessons here, but the main ones are: spend within your means, and always put a little away for a dry spell.

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