25 Iconic Quotes About Money
The 25 best money quotes and lyrics that will motivate you, including lines from J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, LeBron James, & more.
Image via Complex Original
We’re all guilty of quoting lines about money.
Whether those lines come from music, movies, TV, or elsewhere, they’ve become part of our lexicon, so much so that we might not even recognize their origins. And it makes sense. Money is something we talk about constantly, so of course pop culture has given us a seemingly endless collection of phrases through which to express our desire for it, disillusionment with it, and disdain for what is a rigged system altogether.
Some—like, say, Drake, channeling Jelleestone and singing, “Money can’t buy me happiness”—are pretty empty, though memorable. Others are platitudes—think, “Money is the root of all evil.” But plenty offer a kernel of truth, sometimes of the capital-T variety. Which is why we’ve compiled the list you’ll find below.
Over the past few weeks, through our Get Money initiative, we’ve published pieces on clothing resale, the resurgent trading card industry, exotic portfolios, and the cost of streaming television. The idea was to demystify money and empower our audience to make educated decisions about it.
These quotes—drawn from across pop culture—speak to the same ideas. This is by no means an exhaustive list of lines about money, but we’ve collected 25 that resonate with us. Some are insightful, others just clever, but they’re all quotes our staff has likely dropped in conversation at some point. And we (probably) didn’t feel any type of way about it.
Here, in no particular order, are 25 iconic quotes about money.
Quote: “Certain money is not always good money.”
Source: Larry King Live (2010)
Speaking on the temptations befalling a superstar, multimillionaire athlete LeBron James explained to Larry King (RIP) back in 2010 that not all of the money that he is offered/could be accepting is “good money.” Taking money from the wrong people can happen to anyone, regardless of whether they’re famous or unknown, wealthy or broke. LeBron was getting millions from his contract and sponsorships, but was still in a position where he had to keep his head on a swivel for seedy characters with deep pockets. Do as LeBron did—avoid the “bad” money! —Maurice Peebles
Quote: “So if I turn up to a photo shoot and you had—you got a $50 clothes budget and some sliced pickles on the motherfucking board, you wanna know what? No, I am gonna leave. Is that wrong? For wanting more for myself? Wanting people to treat me with respect? But you know what? Next time, they know better. But I had accepted the pickle juice, I would be drinking pickle juice right now.”
Source: Nicki Minaj: My Time Now (2010)
Nicki knows her worth and has had to fight hard for her place at the table in rap, probably harder than most of her male rap contemporaries. She’s watched her mentor Lil Wayne be applauded for “bossing up,” while she’s been torn down for carrying herself with the same confidence. Despite the hate, Nicki knows her time is money, and she won’t accept less than her worth (see: the pickle juice). —Lou Delaney
Quote: “You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good. You play good, they pay good.”
Source: The Atlanta Constitution (1989)
Never one to lack self-assurance, Deion was quick to recognize the connection between confidence and success. Looking good, in his mind, led to more than just feeling good—it was the catalyst for his Hall of Fame play on the gridiron and his wealth, which (according to celebritynetworth.com) is currently in the neighborhood of $40 million. —Maurice Peebles
The Notorious B.I.G.
Quote: “Make the money. Don’t let it make you.”
Source: The Players Club (1998)
In 1998’s The Players Club, Diamond, unfortunately, learns this lesson the hard way. It’s easy to get caught up with fast money when things are going well, but fast money often comes with consequences. Making a moderate living on your own terms is worth more than being used and abused for bigger earnings. To Diamond, keeping her dignity and true identity outweighed transforming into someone she wasn’t for extra cash.. —Jocelyn Carrington-Peebles
Omar Little (Michael K. Williams)
Quote: “What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions? Money.”
Source: Vanilla Sky (2001)
It’d be understandable to look at a chaotic world and its billions of different people, partnerships, and personalities and think there must be a corresponding number of motives behind the actions of these entities, but this quote cuts straight through the noise to get to the bottom line: whatever they’re doing, it’s likely in some way because of money. The reason why this politician said this or why this company did that is far less confusing after you drill down to the core of the issue (hint: it’s money). —Maurice Peebles
Quote: “Money is not peace of mind. Money’s not happiness. Money is, at its essence, that measure of a man’s choices.”
Source: Ozark (2017)
It’s apt that this line, taken from the pilot of the Netflix hit, pops up again in a recent trailer for its final season. And while the Byrde family is far from being worthy of admiration, financial or otherwise, the core truth here—that people’s choices on their respective journeys always have an impact—is a universal one. —Trace William Cowen
Quote: “Playing with my money is like playing with my emotions.”
Source: Friday (1995)
In one of the most underrated quotes from the classic film, Big Worm touches on something most of us have felt at some point. There has been real research conducted over the years on the connection between emotions and money, but anyone who’s dealt with being owed some for too long could tell you it’s real. Smokey not only owed this man $200, but bragged to him about how he and his friend smoked that $200 because of a bad day at work. Objectively, Big Perm’s emotional reaction was totally justified. —Maurice Peebles
Quote: “What’s worth doing is worth doing for money.”
Source: Wall Street (1987)
This quote doesn’t come from corporate raider Gordon Gekko’s “greed, for lack of a better word, is good” monologue, but it illustrates the amorality of the moment perfectly, and it communicates one idea succinctly: that you should know the worth of anything you’re doing. —Lucas Wisenthal
Quote: “Money can’t buy happiness. It is happiness.”
Source: 30 Rock (2010)
Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of ultra-capitalist General Electric executive Jack Donaghy in the underrated 2000s sitcom 30 Rock is masterful. Donaghy is the classic American businessman on (figurative) steroids, always believing that the free market and a profit-above-everything attitude can solve all of society’s issues. His whole act is a caricature of these types, of course, as earnestly proclaiming that “money is happiness” is intended to sound as sad and empty as someone who truly believes that quote probably feels inside. —Maurice Peeble
Quote: “Keep your friends rich and your enemies rich, and wait to find out which is which.”
Source: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ultron is one of the more slept-on villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s because of quotes like this. Using one of Tony Stark’s lines, Ultron makes an acute observation on the insidious way money brings out people’s true nature, revealing who’s truly friend or foe. —Jordan Rose
Quote: “Nobody wants to work for it anymore. There’s no honor in taking that after-school job at Mickey D’s. Honor’s in the dollar, kid.”
Source: Boiler Room (2000)
Boiler Room came out in February 2000, basically weeks before the so-called dot-com bubble burst, so wealth seemed readily attainable for college dropout Seth Davis, the film’s protagonist. Why work a job that will earn you a fraction of what the right investment can bring in? Twenty-one years on, the notion of “honor’s in the dollar” persists—only now it’s trumpeted across a certain corner of the timeline each day. —Lucas Wisenthal