In this fun, festive season read, we delve into the world of 10 fascinating fictional characters – from evergreen classics and popular fiction. If we explore their unique investment strategies and intriguing financial habits, we find hidden between the pages some enduring truths, cautionary tales and even nuggets of investment wisdom.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl (1964)


Willy Wonka, the idiosyncratic mad-cap genius who has built his candy empire through clever and profitable investments, is not a thousand miles removed from real-life billionaires Richard Branson or Joe Ricketts.

Despite being a character in a children’s book, Wonka is actually a fairly complex character; he combines childlike imagination with unerring business skills.

In his story, passion is a vital aspect of investing as it feeds his dedication and perseverance. With a genuine love for his craft, this chocolatier obviously puts in the time and effort needed to succeed and deliver what his customers want.


You’re more likely get the best long-term yields if you invest with those that you trust and have a passion for what they do.


A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (1843)


Now a shorthand for ‘stinginess’, the character of Scrooge famously puts the pursuit of profit before people – and in the process, loses his sense of humanity in this enduring holiday classic.

Through some ghostly encounters, he undergoes a Yuletide transformation. As he sees the consequences of his greed, he reluctantly embraces the value of compassion and generosity. In the end, he chooses to use his money to help those in need.


Philanthropy and wealth go hand in hand. While being excessively frugal can help you accumulate wealth, it won’t necessarily lead to making friends or gaining social acceptance.


Twilight , Stephenie Meyer (2005)


The adoptive father of glittery vampire Edward in this supernatural romance, Carlisle Cullen has been around for a long, long time – since 1640, in fact.

Although not spelled out in the story, it is implied that his wealth comes from his long life as a revenant and his keen ability to make sharp investment choices over time. 


Time is the real ‘magic’ in investing. You can never underestimate the power of compounding interest (even if you can’t keep it going for almost 400 years).


The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)


In the ‘greed is good’ 1980s, Park Avenue yuppie Sherman McCoy makes a killing in bonds and other financial instruments as a Wall Street trader.

The author’s satirical critique of the financial culture of this gaudy and materialistic decade sees his protagonist blindly caught up in what he terms ‘money fever’.

However, Sherman’s life unravels when he and his mistress crash their car in the Bronx - and he recognises the stark divide between the wealthy elite and the lower socioeconomic classes in New York.


Value and abundance are two diverging concepts – only you can decide what defines your ‘true worth’ within a diverse and disparate world.


A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin (1996)


The patriarch of House Lannister is a master strategist, driven by ambition and not averse to some ruthless tactics in this monumental fantasy saga. In fact, he is often considered the ‘wealthiest’ character in Westeros.

Despite not being on the throne, he controls the largest gold mining operations in the seven kingdoms and funds military campaigns, political alliances and economic ventures.


Investing in gold or silver can be a good strategy and hedge against inflation and economic volatility; it can often help you to diversify and preserve wealth in the long run.


An Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton (1920)


In 19th-century East Coast US society, Old Money clashes with the nouveau riche, as embodied by the ‘scandalous’ Ellen Olenska, who is separated from her husband. Unconventional, striving for independence, she disrupts the social morals of the time.

Ellen challenges the rigid values and expectations of the tight-knit milieu of established wealth – only to find her money supply cut off by disapproving relatives. Privilege, she finds, doesn’t only allow – or deny - access to inheritance but also to social networks


Sometimes it’s best to navigate family wealth carefully. The dynamics of wealth and society change from one generation to the next.


The Darlings, Cristina Alger (2012)


Carter Darling is the scion of the ultra-wealthy and influential Darling family. But their elite world comes down like the proverbial house of cards when a scandal explodes, involving his investment firm (not dissimilar to the Bernie Madoff affair).

The ‘fallout’ is devastating for his entire family, as their reputation and wealth is put in peril, and as each of the Darlings must face up to their own complicity in this financial fraud.


If something is too good to be true, well, it probably is. Ponzi schemes will eventually collapse are there are seldom enough new ‘investors’ to sustain the ruse.


Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)


Although Elizabeth Bennet is the true heroine of this enduring favourite, the domineering, canny Lady de Bourgh plays a significant role, as she uses her wealth to exert influence on others in the story.

The daughter of an earl, she made a strategic marriage to a wealthy estate owner. During the Regency period, women couldn’t accept an inheritance from their fathers; they had to ‘marry rich’ to keep their aristocratic class and wealth.


By making shrewd investments in land and property, you can often preserve your wealth, no matter what your circumstances may be.


Trust, Hernan Diaz (2022)


This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel explores the often insidious power of wealth on the lives of top 1920s Wall Street financier Ben and his ailing wife Helen.

The theme, as reflected in the title, concerns the murky morality and tangled intricacy of keeping trust in a cut-throat city like New York, where the very concept of trust can be ‘twisted’ to align to a different reality.


The bedrock of wealth is simple: trust. Wealth is never inanimate or static; it can be seen as a living, transporting entity and, as such, it can also become 'sick'. 


The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)


Gatsby, the enigmatic bootlegger and romantic hero of Fitzgerald’s Prohibition-era America, is at the centre of this timeless novel.

This character lives obsessively for an imagined ‘tomorrow’, fixated on his vision of a future with the fickle and wealthy Daisy Buchanan. With his grand mansion, extravagant parties, stylish wardrobe and iconic yellow Rolls Royce, Gatsby spares no expense to capture and hold her attention.

Soon his financial situation is dire and he finds himself in serious debt. At the end, his stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality ultimately seals his fate and leads to his tragic demise.


Failure to plan, as they say, is planning to fail. Debt as a way to fund your lavish lifestyle is almost always a mistake.

In the world of fiction, things can get fairly wild and dramatic.
But when it comes to saving and investing in the real world, it’s always prudent to do your own research or talk a trusted financial adviser who can help you make choices based on your lifestyle and goals. 


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