Over the five seasons that the show has graced PBS’ “Masterpiece”, a number of money lessons have been showcased — mostly what NOT to do!
For example, don’t bet the family fortune on a railroad thousands of miles away (i.e., massive lack of diversification). A professional advisor working in concert with the Earl of Grantham probably would have prevented him from concentrating so much capital in a Canadian railway!
Downton’s money lessons include financial and estate-planning disasters, bad investments, messy trusts, and inadequate business succession plans.
Here are some key takeaways and tie-ins:
- Spell out control and ownership when passing the baton of a family company
(the generational transfer of Downton Abbey from Robert to Matthew)
- Use trusts to protect the family fortune
(to protect Robert Crawley’s from his own poor decisions)
- Make a will before giving birth
(think of Matthew Crawley’s untimely demise)
- Set up a medical directive
(the terrible struggle of how to handle Sybil in childbirth)
We can’t wait for more Dowton Abbey and money lessons as season 5 continues!