NBC Teaches Personal Finance Lessons On "30 Rock"

NBC is taking the “workplace comedy” concept to new levels of realism, by including a couple of scenes about a major character’s lack of a savings plan in this week’s “30 Rock” episode. After being awarded a $10,000 “GE Followship Award” for being such a great follower, Tina Fey’s character stuns her boss by revealing she doesn’t have a 401(k)—or, apparently, even a savings account.

Jack: So Liz, what are you going to do with all that money? Put it in your 401(k)?

Liz: Yeah, um… I gotta get one of those.

Jack: Where do you invest your money?

Liz: I’ve got 12 grand in checking.

Jack: Are you an immigrant?

At the end of the episode, she asks Jack to teach her to “do that thing that rich people do where they take money and turn it into more money.”

There’s one other great life lesson from the same episode, when Jack says, “Never follow a hippie to a second location.”

“30 Rock: Best Personal Finance Show on TV” [FiLife]

Episode 204: “Rosemary’s Baby” [NBC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. azntg says:

    Plenty of banks and investment firms to be found nearby 30 Rockefeller and even more if you take the subway down a few stops!

  2. Antediluvian says:

    I didn’t think I was going to like the show but I’m totally hooked after watching all the eps from Season 1 on NBC’s web site.

    I also LOOOOOVED Jack’s idea for a reality show: MILF Island. I was on the floor with that one.

    Also, couldn’t believe NBC’s censors would allow them to say “MILF.”

  3. wring says:

    The best part was Carrie Fisher saying Tina Fey’s her “only hope”. I’m easily amused.

  4. motoraway says:

    Personally, the Tracey Morgan line about the US anthem having more words then a Mos Def song made me chuckle.

  5. thepounder says:

    This is so true though. There’s lots of smart folks who are simply ignorant to how to save up for retirement or emergencies. Savings = emergency money (and vacation money). 401k (or 403b if you work at a non-profit) = retire happily (maybe).

    Some folks may not have access to retirement accounts at their work or it might seem too daunting to them to jump on in and invest in some form of retirement account. Anyhow, just ask someone if you want to know how to invest in your retirement… you’re bound to know someone who knows something about retirement savings.

  6. Secularsage says:

    30 Rock is a great show. I love their take on product placement, too. :-)

  7. doormat says:

    So in other words, the 50K I have in the bank in savings and checking shouldn’t be there? How much should I leave in the bank?

  8. Buckus says:

    Leave as much in the bank as you feel you would need on short notice. Put everything else in a high-yield savings account, stocks, mutual funds, or whatever.

    *Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser and you should consider what I say accordingly

  9. new and troubling questions says:

    the most recent GQ (i don’t know the date, but the one with Ryan Gosling on the cover) has an article on this too…the author apparently has $50,000 sitting in checking and is deathly afraid of being a grown-up and dealing with his money

  10. Gopher bond says:

    “Are you an immigrant?”


    I think the lifestyle of living paycheck to paycheck makes it difficult to invest for retirement. It’s not as easy as simply opening a retirement vehicle. People need to change their entire lifestyle. How else can people living paycheck to paycheck, sacrifice 10% of that income without changing their lifestyle?

  11. Granolaheadesq says:



  12. cuiusquemodi says:

    @Granolaheadesq: Wouldn’t surprise me. Why else did you think product placement was so frequently mentioned in the episode? Of course, if the government is subtly advertising to us, would you not rather it be encouraging behavior widely perceived as responsible (as opposed to, for example, having the government pay for the Tracy Jordan dogfighting subplot in that episode)?

  13. RandomHookup says:


    It depends on how one lives paycheck-to-paycheck. Some people have every dollar committed…that’s harder, but can do a little something by cutting their withholding.

    But the folks who see they have money in their wallets and then spend it are greatly effected by any auto withdrawal program. If you don’t see it, you can’t spend it.

    I remember lots of senior enlisted folks from my Army days who had no savings and refused to set up a direct deposit program (even though you can miss major paydays if you are deployed or en route when payday hits). Their net worth was whatever they were sitting on.

  14. TVarmy says:

    @testsicles: I think the easiest trick one could do in that situation is to evaluate where they spend their money on a daily basis. If they’re spending their money on a tiny, unnecessary luxury, like a $3 cup of coffee, they can kick that habit and instead deposit that amount at the ATM every day in an account they will not touch. It adds up over time, and soon they’ll have a decent amount of cash built up.

  15. Hops says:

    @doormat: 3-6 months savings in the bank for emergencies. (That includes rent and all your bills.) Invest the rest.

  16. hapless says:


    On the scale of things the government typically wastes my tax dollars on, this strikes me as a relatively wise policy.