On July 31, 2017, J.K. Rowling will turn 51, and the odds are good that she’ll celebrate the big day in style. After all, Rowling isn’t just the creator of the famously successful “Harry Potter” franchise, she’s also one of the richest authors in the world with a net worth Forbes estimated at $95 million.
The story of a young wizard with the strength and savvy to save the world, “Harry Potter” has captivated fans of all ages, and with good reason. However, along with magical mythology and witchy humor, the series offers thinly-veiled teachings about financial matters.
Whether you’re reading “Harry Potter” for your own enjoyment or introducing the tale to a younger muggle, take note of its subtle tips for managing your money.
1. Believe in Yourself
When she first submitted “Harry Potter” to publishers, J.K. Rowling received numerous rejection letters, but she didn’t give up because she knew she had written something truly special — and she was right. Before earning her riches from “Harry Potter,” the British author was flat broke, but now she’s laughing all the way to the bank.
2. Don’t Gamble With Your Wealth
Of course, it’s not just Rowling herself whose story offers financial lessons. Her characters also provide money management tips.
Once an illustrious businessman, Ludovic “Ludo” Bagman got into serious financial trouble due to a gambling problem. After losing bets on the Quidditch World Cup, he tried to pay off some of his debts with disappearing Leprechaun gold, but was quickly cornered by goblins outside the stadium. He didn’t have enough to cover his debts, so in an attempt to cover his losses, he made another bet on the Triwizard Tournament — which he lost.
Bagman ultimately lost his job as the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, because he had to flee from his goblin creditors.
3. Know That Money Can’t Buy Respect
Members of the wealthy Malfoy family have power, influence and so much money that they don’t have to work for a living, but the meaning of their surname — “bad faith” — hints at their less-than-favorable reputation. Known for their cunning, the Malfoys are in a seemingly never-ending pursuit of power and riches, willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. The Malfoys frequently fund the elections of candidates they support and have even been accused of hexing the competition to get their way.
4. Realize Easy Money Is Too Good to Be True
At the Quidditch World Cup, spectators got excited when it started raining gold because they thought they were getting free money, but it was just a hoax.
“The Irish had brought Leprechauns, who made it rain gold. Everyone seemed mad, trying to get as many gold as they could, although it was obviously fake. Leprechaun’s gold disappears overnight,” reads “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
5. Plan for the Future
James and Lily Potter were murdered by Lord Voldemort when they were just 21 years old. Thankfully, they had already planned for the unexpected by keeping their fortune of bronze Knuts, silver Sickles and gold Galleons intact in a vault at Gringotts for their only child. By leaving Harry money in their will, the Potters ensured he would never have to worry about finances.
6. Keep Your Money in a Safe Place
Gringotts — the bank used by everyone in the wizarding world — has impenetrable security. Owned by goblins, the facility has only suffered two known break-ins since it was established in 1474. The first was an unsuccessful attempt by Quirinus Quirrell, and while the second was a success, this was probably only because Harry Potter himself was behind the robbery.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” reads, “Gringotts was the safest place in the world for something you wanted to hide — except perhaps Hogwarts.”
In present day, this lesson can be applied to the importance of choosing an FDIC-insured bank — which guarantees each account holder to at least $250,000 per insured financial institution — or an NCUA insured credit union, which offers the same protections.
7. Avoid Obsessing About Money
At one point, the Weasley twins were infatuated with getting enough money to start their own magic shop. After seeing his brothers holding a mysterious sealed envelope, Ron began to suspect them of blackmail.
“They’re… they’re obsessed with making money lately, I noticed it when I was hanging around with them …” Ron said.
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8. Find the Right Investors for Your Business
Eventually, Fred and George Weasley did manage to launch their dream shop. They opened Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, courtesy of Harry Potter, who gave them the 1,000 Galleons he won from the Triwizard Tournament. In return for his loan, Harry was allowed to take anything he wanted from the store. And as a supportive investor, he was happy to tell others where he got the items to bring in new business.
9. Live Within Your Means
With seven children, Arthur and Molly Weasley are considered poor by wizarding standards. However, Molly made their tight budget work by purchasing used clothing instead of buying it new — frequenting Second-Hand Robes — and cooking delicious recipes, potentially infused with magic, so no one in her family went hungry.
10. Know That People Will Do Outrageous Things for Money
Known for featuring high death tolls, the 1994 Triwizard Tournament placed a number of restrictions on contestants, including being of the wizarding age of majority, which is 17. Fred and George Weasley were among the students who attempted to lie about their age for a chance to win the prize money, but their attempts were foiled.
11. Don’t Let Money Ruin Friendships
At the 1994 Quidditch Cup, Harry bought three pairs of Omnioculars for 10 Galleons each — one for himself, one for Ron and the other for Hermione. Ron tried to pay Harry back with the Leprechaun gold that was showered over the stadium during the game and was upset when it disappeared; however, Harry didn’t get angry at his friend for this error.
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12. Maximize Your Time
After Fred and George Weasley passed their Apparition tests at Hogwarts, they took full advantage of the ability to travel close distances faster.
“It would have taken you about thirty seconds longer to walk down the stairs,” Ron said to Fred.
“Time is Galleons, little brother,” replied Fred.
13. Don’t Give Up on a Great Idea
The final edition of the seven-book Harry Potter series was published in 2007, and the last movie hit theaters in 2011. To satisfy the ongoing demand for the wildly successful franchise, Rowling collaborated with a British playwright to create the two-part theater production, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which opened in 2016 in London. The script of the play was made into a book, available the same month. Additionally, the prequel movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” opened in November 2016, earning $234 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo.
14. Find Your Niche and Stick to It
By all accounts J.K. Rowling’s first adult book, “The Casual Vacancy,” was a success, selling nearly 125,000 copies in the first two days it was on the shelves. While these numbers were high, they didn’t come close to Harry Potter sales, as the final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” sold 8.3 million copies the day it was released.
Clearly, Rowling’s success is most “magical” when she concentrates on her niche.
15. Know That the Right Connections Are Valuable
Since the Weasleys didn’t have much money, they weren’t able to afford tickets for the Quidditch World Cup. However, Ludo Bagman gave Arthur tickets for the entire family — plus Harry and Hermione — after the Weasley patriarch helped Ludo’s brother Otto get out of a minor predicament.
Clearly, it pays to know the right people.