Morality in Doubt

Movie: Margin Call (2011).  Starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, and Demi MooreAt a respected financial company, one of the victims of the downsizing is the risk management division head, who is working on a major analysis just as he is given his walking papers.  His protégé completes the analysis and frantically calls his colleagues in the middle of the night to apprise them of the impending disaster.

What follows is a long night of panicked double checking and double-dealing as the senior management prepare to do whatever it takes to mitigate the debacle.  Throughout the process, a handful of conscientious comrades find themselves dragged along into the unethical abyss and must choose between money and morality.

Along with Wall Street, a movie I have seen ~ 150 times, this is my favorite Wall Street/Business/Finance related movie.  Truly a must see!

Margin Call

Available for streaming on Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, and YouTube.

Movie: Boiler Room (2000).  Starring Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Everett Scott, Nia Long, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, and Vin Diesel.  The term ‘Boiler Room’ is often used to refer to a less than reputable call center selling questionable investments.  In this movie, Giovanni Ribisi plays Seth, a college dropout that gets a job as a broker for a suburban investment firm.

Boiler Room

The job puts him on the fast track to success, however, the job is not be as legitimate as it first seems.  Don’t miss the cameo performance by Ben Affleck, channeling Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross another excellent movie dealing with the pressure of being a salesman.

 Available for streaming on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, and YouTube.


Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I have watched Boiler Room and just loved it. Margin Call is just amazing and a must watch for all those finance related people.

    • Yep, I really enjoyed both movies, particularly Margin Call which I thought was really well done. It is going back a few years, but have you seen Glengarry Glen Ross? Another excellent movie that looks at the pressure of the sales game. If you watch it, you will see what I mean by Ben Affleck channeling Alec Baldwin. Thanks for stopping by, Sam.

  2. I’ve worked in the financial industry for over 20 years, and can count the number of shady people I’ve come across on one hand. Its very sad that a handful of people can give thousands of others a bad name. After the financial crisis in 2008 banks and financial services seems to be the industry that people love to hate…which is sad, as it creates barriers to people taking advice to look after their own money.

    The ethos at the firm I work at, is manage the money as though its your mothers and remember that your still scared of your mother.
    People who want to get rich quick have to get rich quick again and again. Those who get rich slowly only need to do it the once.

    • Mike, No doubt that you cannot judge the morality of an entire industry by the actions of a few and no doubt the financial services industry has come under a lot of scrutiny the last few years. It sounds as if your firm is taking the right approach and putting the client first. Great observation that, “People who want to get rich quick have to get rich quick again and again. Those who get rich slowly only need to do it the once.” Thanks for sharing, my friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *