Pop Culture

What Rachel Green from ‘FRIENDS’ taught me about financial independence

. 5 min read . Written by Vanshika Goenka
What Rachel Green from ‘FRIENDS’ taught me about financial independence

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the cult sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

The show holds great value for us desi folk. Many of us have learnt and perfected our English through the show (including that popular BTS guy), and have had our first tryst with American pop culture. It is an understatement to say that F.R.I.E.N.D.S has had an impact on us.

Among the many relatable characters in the show (who doesn’t have a Monica in their friend group?), Rachel Green has arguably had the best character arc, going from a rich, spoiled woman with a princess complex to a manager at her dream job. But it wasn’t easy for her – she had to shed several beliefs and venture into the unknown to become successful. And a lot of those lessons had to do with money.

Here are some money lessons we learnt from Rachel Green from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.:

1. Save and invest differently from your parents

“What if I don’t want to be a shoe? What if I want to be a purse? Or a hat?”

Rachel knew the life she was expected to have – marrying a rich man and living off his money – was unfit for her. And to get to the life she wanted to lead – that of making a living through fashion – she had to choose a different path. It was often difficult, but she ultimately made it.

Whenever I talk to my parents about saving or investing money, their response is the usual, “FD kara lo, beta. Your money will be safe.” Our parents have had very different financial journeys than us – for them, things like FDs and buying gold were safe options because their jobs and the economy promised them that. But today, with so many more beneficial investment opportunities and a tumultuous economy, we need to think about our money differently. Let Rachel inspire you!

Image credits: YouTube

2. Sometimes, you’ll have to start from scratch

“Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re going to love it.”

Monica’s golden words have never rung truer. To be able to finally work towards her dream, Rachel literally had to cut herself off from her parents – the glorious moment of her snipping her father’s credit card in half made way for some great character development.

When considering quitting your boring corporate job for your dream career, there’s often an air of doubt – should I quit my cushy job for something that will force me out of my comfort zone? Often, it is money that pushes us back into our safe space. But had Rachel clung on to family money, she would never have realised her true potential. And of course, money followed!

3. Pick up a side-hustle to supplement your dream job

“Everyone I know is either getting married or getting pregnant or getting promoted. And I’m getting coffee – and it’s not even for me!”

It was during Rachel's time as a waitress that she started applying for jobs in the retail industry – she got several rejections and also even went back to waitressing to stand on her feet. But it didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream.

Your side hustle – or in some cases, your current job – can provide respite when you’re trying to make a career switch. While we’re all for leaving your comfort zone, don’t do so without a backup plan. Do not expect your bank balance to rise immediately after you start chasing your dream job; it is practical to keep your steady source of income, well, steady.

Image credits: Twitter

4. Sometimes, you can be paid in exposure

“I’m going to get one of those…job…things!”

Rachel started her dream career as an assistant to a terrible boss. But she knew it would help her move ahead, so she stuck it out – it taught her important skills that she would use in the future.

It’s a given that labour should be compensated, but the world is unfair. In the case that you aren’t getting paid at that internship, remember to learn everything you can from the job so that you can make a case for yourself in the future.

5. NEVER accept the first offer

“I got off the plane.”

Perhaps what is overlooked in the last season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S is just how indispensable Rachel had become in her organisation.

As she was preparing to leave for Paris – having gotten a job offer from Louis Vuitton – Ross contacted her former boss at Ralph Lauren, begging him to offer her a raise. Things take a twist when she gets bigger counter offers from Louis Vuitton and then again from Ralph Lauren.

While we’re focussed on the love story, let’s not forget that Rachel got an incredible pay raise simply because the first offer was rejected (even though it was unintentional). This is a lesson for all of us: always know your worth and never settle for the first offer.

Image credits: Twitter

6. Plan your life around your ability to spend

“Hi Emma, it’s the year 2020. Are you still enjoying your nap?”

Had Rachel not been successful in her career and continued to be a waitress, her decision to become a single parent to Emma would probably have never played out. We tend to make split-second decisions when we come into more money than expected, but saving for what matters in the long run will help you plan your finances better. You never know – your dreams might change!

Rachel Green has had an impact on women in how she carries herself through the show. But these finance lessons are a pleasant by-product of a loveable character!

What lessons did you learn from Rachel Green? We’d love to know.

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