Personal FInance

What The Queen’s Gambit can teach us about preparing for the future.

New York Life | November 30, 2020

 A person making a move In a chess game

In honor of International Chess Day, find out what the biggest Netflix scripted limited series in history can teach us about financial planning.

Everybody’s talking about the personality traits of Beth Harmon, the lead character in the latest Netflix blockbuster The Queen’s Gambit. But her strategic approach also offers plenty of lessons for financial strategies and achieving your life goals.

As the number-one ranked Netflix series at the end of October, The Queen’s Gambit has fast become the latest must-watch mini-series.

The show is a tale of a girl who rises from discovering the game of chess in an orphanage basement to the pinnacle of the chess world – and has got people talking about everything from fashion, to addiction and relationships.

However, the series – and chess in particular - also offers some valuable lessons for life and financial preparations:

Look at the big picture

The best chess players don’t just look at the next move – they anticipate the next few moves and plan their responses accordingly. Taking this approach to your life goals can help ensure you make the right investments, better anticipate how much you need to put aside for the future and understand what sort of life insurance you might need if anything was to happen to you. New York Life offers tools to help you reach your overarching goals.

The first move is crucial

The Queen’s Gambit takes its name from one of the oldest and best-known opening moves in chess. And, like a game of chess, making the right financial moves early on can  set you up for success. Starting early and making informed decisions can really benefit you later. What’s more, it’s never too late to start making that first move.

Make the most of your position

Chess is all about strategies and game-play – including staying focused when you’re on top. As you achieve individual life goals, make sure you continue to look ahead to the next ones and maximize the opportunities in front of you. You may want to think about wealth management, for example.

Review and react to new moves

Of course, chess – and life – doesn’t always go to plan or stick to the course you were expecting. So make sure you review your  plans along the way, especially at different life stages. For example, if you decide to buy a property, have children or change careers, it’s important to review your financial strategies – so meet with your financial professional or advisor on a regular basis to discuss your situation.

It is for everyone – no matter your status or situation

While Anya Taylor-Joy’s lead character in The Queen’s Gambit certainly had many challenges in her life, she didn’t let them stop her from seeing the big picture and chasing her dreams. Financial preparation  is just the same. Whatever your life stage, however far away some of your dreams may feel and whatever your immediate focus, looking ahead to the future and making a financial strategy can help you get where you want to be in the longer term.

While The Queen’s Gambit is a work of fiction, and lead character Beth Harmon’s focus is clearly on issues other than her financial future, there’s plenty the show can teach us in our approach to future planning.

Starting now, with a focus on the long term, could help you beat the clock in securing the finances you need for your future dreams – and ensure you don’t end up in a financial check-mate. 


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937