6 money lessons from 'The Sopranos'

In honor of the late actor James Gandolfini, here are some financial words of wisdom from Tony and the crew.

By Kim Peterson Jun 20, 2013 1:54PM
Credit: © Danny Moloshok/Newscom/RTR
Caption: James GandolfiniJames Gandolfini, you left us too soon.

An accomplished actor on stage and screen, the 51-year-old was best known for his portrayal of the tortured mob boss Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos."

His untimely death in Rome sparked an outpouring of support and mourning across the world. Critics noted how Gandolfini transformed and improved television along with the way we watched (and loved and sometimes hated) starring characters.

And although Gandolfini had a number of other great performances -- his recent work in "Not Fade Away" and "Killing Them Softly" comes to mind -- tributes to the actor are also spurring reflections about the show and the role that fit him so perfectly.

In that vein, we'd like to offer our own money lessons from "The Sopranos." Money played a big part in the show, from the garbage bags full of cash that Tony stashed around his property to his fraud involving the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Here are six money lessons from one of the best shows in television history:

1. There's money to be made in any economy.
Tony Soprano, complaining that his captains aren't bringing in more money: "Sil, break it down for them. What two businesses have traditionally been recession-proof since time immemorial?"

Silvio Dante: "Certain aspects of show business . . . and our thing."

Tony: "Now, that's it. That's all I've gotta say. Frankly, I'm depressed and ashamed."

2. Invest in land.
Tony talking to his son: "Buy land, A.J., 'cause God ain't making any more of it."

3. Being the boss is lonely.
Tony: "All due respect, you got no (expletive) idea what it's like to be No. 1. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other (expletive) thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it all."

4. Make up your mind and stick with it.
Tony: "A wrong decision is better than indecision."

5. Delegate.
Tony to one of his men: "It's your job to make my job easier."

6. Pick up the tab and smile.

Tony to Christopher Moltisanti: "You know how many tabs, how many dinners, I've picked up over the years? . . . It's a sign of respect. Why don't you cheer up? One day some kid will be paying for your dinners."

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18Comments
Jun 20, 2013 8:36PM
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Watching the Sopranos and falling in love with James Gandolfini became a sunday night ritual.
We bought cannolis, baked the zitti, poured the wine and enjoyed each episode as though we were guests in their house. We miss the show and especially James and all his great acting in other projects.   REST IN PEACE you wonderful man.        Sheila Hughes and 'family'
Jun 21, 2013 7:08AM
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RIP James Gandolfini ... a REAL Jersey boy!
Jun 20, 2013 8:28PM
Jun 21, 2013 1:32AM
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Gandolfini as Tony:  old Bensonhurst, Brooklyn brought to the screen
Jun 21, 2013 3:10PM
Jun 23, 2013 6:57PM
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Every Sunday night we'd order pizza, and enjoy our favorite show. Watching The Sopranos was more than a ritual, they were our "familia"...We remember  one particular season opening, in 2000...The first episode was sheduled for Sunday, January 16th....I was 9 months pregnant, due on January 15th....We asked  4 different friends to tape the show, should we be in the hospital (why 4?, in case one or more forgot or something happened to the recordding...I couldt risk it...and rememberm there were no DVR's in 2000)...Long story short, I was  intent on watching the season premier at home, the way we always did it.  Kept telling my baby that I would really appreciate it if she could come out a day early, on Friday. That it would be really nice because Monday was MLK day, and Daddy would have the day off, and he can spend more time with us at home...and if she came on Friday, we 'd be home on Sunday, right on time for the premiere..:) ...I went into labor Thursday night, gave birht to our baby Fri. morning, and we were home on Sunday afternoon....That night, our 2 day old daughter watched  her first Soprano's  episode...literally   mesmerized,  not a peep out of her the whole hour....Too bad she couldn't have any pizza....When Sopranos went off the air,  we were in mourning, as if a family member died......we wouldn't see them again ..Grazi Tony, Ciao..R.I.P...,,
Jun 21, 2013 3:35PM
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An instant Goodfella! Truly missed and irreplaceable!
Jun 22, 2013 6:10PM
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"Rest in Peace" I can see him now getting to heaven and putting on that white robe and standing by that crystal sea waiting with loved ones that have gone on before go on ahead give a shout cause its alright now.

Jun 21, 2013 6:52PM
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I only started really watching The Sopranos towards the end, but I can soooo appreciate the greatness of the show, the sterling cast, and of course, James Gandolfini.  The world is a lesser place with him gone.  These money lessons that the show also taught us, especially the one about buying land..."Buy land A.J. 'cause God ain't making any more of it."  Absolutley GENIUS!!!!!!
Jun 20, 2013 4:46PM
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I only saw Mr. Ganolfini in one other movie role, playing a very small part as an army general.  I don't even recall the name of the picture, though it was after his famous mobster role.  It really wasn't his thing and it wasn't much of a story.  I read recently that he picked his roles. It wasn't a good pick.  But he really was incredibly realistic as a mafia boss, Tony Soprano and he really made his mark in providing superior acting in an excellent series.
Jun 20, 2013 5:43PM
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The USA is in permanent, irreversible decline.  Our 2 party political system is a joke and is controlled by the Corporations, Lobbyists and the one percenters thru campaign financing.  They represent them and not the citizens.  Our Government keeps using Elitist, idiotic policies like Free Trade, unrestricted Free Market Capitalism, Trickle down economics, Globalization, Deregulation, Illegal Alien Amnesty, Guest worker programs, Foreign worker visa programs and Militarism which is destroying our country.  Our Government is by far more interested in the plight of Illegal aliens than our own citizenry and more interested in rebuilding foreign countries like Iraq and Afghanistan than rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure in the USA and areas devastated by natural disasters.  The USA has high unemployment yet our government wants to grant millions of illegal aliens amnesty and bring in more foreign workers.   They want to involve us in another war in Syria.  The above policies are a failure. 

To Save the USA we need to do the following:

1.  Discontinue Free Trade policies and implement FAIR trade policies with tariffs and Labor and environmental standards in them. This may bring our manufacturing jobs back.
2. Implement  a national workplace verification system using everify and secure our borders and get the illegal aliens to self deport.
3. Take on massive infrastructure rebuilding projects to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
4. End our current wars, bring all of our foreign stationed troops home and put them on the border, and use them to secure the border and round up illegal aliens and gang members and respond to natural and man made disasters. 
5. Cut the military by 50% to 75%.
6. Implement a National Health Care system so our companies can compete with foreign companies whose health care costs are subsidized.

If this does not turn around the country with in 5 years then we should just implement Socialism.  At least the basic needs of the citizenry will be met.  Free Market is just an elitist theory to justify keeping the status quo, inequality, leaving problems unsolved and making the 1 percenters wealthier.  Our government is a puppet of the Corporations, Lobbyists and the 1 percenters whose goal is to wreak war and poverty onto the citizenry.  Free Trade is a failure, has not run a surplus since 1975 and has since run massive trade deficits and sent our manufacturing jobs overseas.  Trickle down economics does not work in a global economy and trickles down to low paying jobs and adds to the deficit.

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