Scrooge McDuck : Investment Lessons from Cartoon

Yes you read it right. Cartoon character is very much better than any investment GURU. old Uncle Scrooge had a lot of investing wisdom. The reasons are many. We saw him from our childhood, possibly he is the iconic images for many. But what I found is very interesting. The story of this duck is very great. There are many things, which we need to learn from him. I think he is the first teacher for us who teach the subject ‘Financial Literacy’. Scrooge is a wealthy Scottish business magnate and tycoon and within the context of the fictional Disney universe, he is the world’s richest person. He is the maternal uncle of Donald Duck, the granduncle of Huey, Dewey and Louie, and a usual financial backer of Gyro Gearloose ( Venture Capitalist?) A Financial Fable, first published in March 1951, had Scrooge teaching Donald some lessons in productivity as the source of wealth, along with the laws of supply and demand. Perhaps more importantly, it was also the first story where Scrooge observes how diligent and industrious Huey, Louie and Dewey are, making them more similar to himself rather than to Donald. In the end, I have something about this story which will blow your mind. Scrooge had worked his way up the financial ladder from humble immigrant roots. Firstly, he took up a job polishing and shining boots, and was enraged when a ditch digger paid him with an 1875 US dime, which was useless as currency in 19th century Glasgow. However, the coin inspired him to take a position as cabin boy on a Clyde cattle ship to the United States to make his fortune at the age of 13.( Don’t loose hope, use your imagination, isn’t it similar with RICH DAD, POOR Dad?) He keeps a portion of his wealth, money he has personally earned himself, in a massive Money Bin overlooking the city of Duckburg. In the short Scrooge McDuck and Money, he remarks to his nephews that this money is “just petty cash”. ( If you find it non attractive, then read this statement of warren buffet “Cash never makes us happy, but it’s better to have the money burning a hole in Berkshire’s pocket than resting comfortably in someone else’s.” It also teach us the importance of investment.) he regularly forces Donald and his nephews to polish the coins one by one in order to pay off Donald’s debts.( Don’t you remember warren buffet on Leverage here?) Scrooge never completed a formal education, as he left school at an early age. However, he has a sharp mind and is always ready to learn new skills. ( Importance of entrepreneurship?) Scrooge is a firm believer in the saying “knowledge is power. ( Many Business persons believe it. Not a shocking thing). Both as a businessman and as a treasure hunter, Scrooge is noted for his drive to set new goals and face new challenges. ( Perfect Businesses person never stop on one success.) In “Much Ado About Scrooge” (1987) Uncle Scrooge discovers a treasure map leading to a lost play by the famous poet William Drakespeare and sets off on a quest to find it. When he is asked why he has undertaken this crazy journey, Uncle Scrooge effectively says the Drakespeare brand will make anything by the playwright a valuable commodity. In the end, Uncle Scrooge opens a Drakespeare theme park to capitalize on his find.Uncle Scrooge and Warren Buffett are of the same mind with respect to a solid brand. Just like Buffett’s rationale for a stake in Coca-Cola, Scrooge McDuck reasons the public will pay a premium for a taste of the authentic Drakespeare, well above the low cost of creating the product. Here he was teaching us about branding! Going to end this story of a great visionary Investor and great businessman with a story which is similar with Milton Friedman. In an early comic book featuring Uncle Scrooge (“A Financial Fable” from 1951), the plutocratic duck runs a farm with the help of his great-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie and keeps all his hard earned cash in a corn silo.When a tornado hits the silo, it sucks up Uncle Scrooge’s money, then drops it all over the county. Scrooge is not upset, however, knowing that if he and his young nephews keep working, they will get the money back soon enough. Meanwhile, Gladstone Goose, the luckiest goose in the county holds out his hat and ask for money from heaven. A giant pile of Uncle Scrooge’s dollars fall right in it. When Gladstone and his traveling companion Donald want to spend the money, however, they discover the tornado has distributed extra riches equally to everyone in the county. Everyone is now a millionaire! When the newly rich villagers come to Uncle Scrooge for farm fresh food, he informs them that all the prices have gone up: eggs, bacon and milk all costs millions of dollars. Eventually, Uncle Scrooge gets his money back and everything goes back to normal. This story demonstrates economist Milton Friedman’s monetarist theory of inflation. (Did Friedman read Donald Duck comics? “A Financial Fable” is almost exactly the premise of Friedman’s helicopter drop hypothesis.) In the end, tangible assets and value enhancing labor will make money, and profits from get-rick-quick schemes will be illusory.

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About Ashutosh Tilak

Tracking Indian Capital Market since 2010. Finance Student, On this blog I am writing about finance and Investing. You can contact me analystashu@gmail.com or @androidashu & @InsideFinanc on twitter