Episode 29: Captain America


It’s tough devoting your life to your country, doubly so when you’ve gotten frozen in the Arctic after being injected with super soldier serum and doing your best to save the world from a big ole bomb. But at least Steve Rogers has his back pay to look forward to, right? Right?


Episode 27: There Will Be Blood


Hello, We’re Make-Believe Money, and this is our son and partner, Daniel. He’s here to tell you about oil prices, and how the oil boom was perhaps not quite as impressive as you might guess. Spoilers in this one, but… this movie’s been out for a while, and also, it’s hard to spoil what’s basically a very long tone poem. You’ll be FINE.


Episode 26: Ready Player One (Part 2!)


No Spoilers! You can safely listen to this episode without anything being ruined for you. Except maybe the idea of investing in cryptocurrency. That might get a little ruined for you. That’s right! A half a year of episodes in, and we’ve finally gotten Dan to talk about Bitcoin! He probably will NEVER talk about it again, so get your fill now!


Episode 25: The Legend of Zelda


Imagine if you will, working and scraping and saving all your money, every hard-earned rupee of it, and saving it in earthenware jars that your grandfather made, kept safe in your home, so that one day you can give your son a better life than you yourself had. AND THEN ONE DAY, a man in a too-short outfit shows up, grabs your priceless heirlooms, smashes them into your wall, steals your rupees, and runs off, with nary a grunt of thank you! Later you learn he was trying to save the princess, but like, what good is THAT when Timothy wants to go to college, amirite?

This week, IS Link the hero of this story? And also, how to save your money in a fantasy world run by an evil smokey pig-man named Ganondorf!

Episode 24: Settlers of Catan


Get ready to get hella nerdy up in here, friends. We’re talking board games, the kind that Megan won’t let Dan have more of until they have more space. Not your grandma’s board games, either (although we’ll get to Clue eventually). Nope, we’re talking Settlers of Catan! And also arbitrage. What’s that, you ask? Is arbitrage something a pirate does in court? A feeling that’s a combination of anger and confusion? A country in South America? NOPE, it’s something totally different!


Episode 23: Rampage

Listen here!

What would YOU do if a giant set of monsters with disturbingly ordinary names ransacked your town? What if a bunch of superheroes busted your apartment with their mighty powers, in service of saving the world from an alien invader? Does your insurance cover that? Dan helps us prepare for literal acts of gods.

ALSO! If you would like to donate to help the people of Puerto Rico rebuild and get back on their feet (many people are still in dire need of help), check out this link for donation opportunities. https://hispanicfederation.org/unidos

Episode 17: Blank Check


Seems kinda obvious, when you think about it, for us to talk about Blank Check, the 90’s kids’ movie that was clearly meant to be watched only by children and never scrutinized by their adult guardians. With both questionable moral content AND a poor understanding of how much $1 Million will get you, Blank Check has it all! Listen as Dan gives good non-advice about how to handle your money, and how dang hard it is to buy a house in this day and age!


Episode 15: Pokemon, Part 1!


This week, listen as Damon and Dan slowly horrify Liz as they recount the economic and moral realities of a desolate, post-war apocalypse, where one must trap and ruthlessly train animals in order to survive. Where water is scarce, and there’s no real way to be a pacifist.

Or, you know. Pokemon.

Is this game fun? Liz will have to play it one day to find out.

Episode 14: The Game of Life


Delight! As Dan discusses whether or not this very-complicated-to-assemble children’s board game has any bearing on what actual life might be like! Thrill! As Damon and Liz both learn over the course of this podcast that they actually have no idea how to play the real game of life! Wonder! If the three of these goons will ever stop talking about Careers, a game that, while easier to assemble, doesn’t age well!


Episode 13: Aladdin!


In today’s episode, we give you some very Not Real (TM) advice about what to do when you receive an unexpected windfall, like say, I dunno, a magical lamp with a genie who may be stuck in a weird loop out of time?

But mostly we talk about how much we dislike the song, “The Morning Report.” Yup. From Lion King.


Episode 11: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Hello children! Welcome to the magical corporation run by an eccentric misanthrope, where all your candy dreams and nightmares can come true! Enjoy the magical tour through the facility, but don’t you DARE touch ANYTHING, or SO HELP ME…

Listen as Dan grimaces his way through this episode, teaching us how the very strange Wonka corporation might work (or NOT work).

Episode 9: Christmas Vacation


Merry Holidays, y’all! We talk the hubris of Clark Griswold and his Christmas lights that can be seen from space. Would he be able to actually afford to run lights bright enough to cause a crisis at the power plant? How do you read an electric meter? Why does this movie make Liz so dang uncomfortable?

All this and more on this episode!


Dan’s spreadsheet!

Episode 8: Die Hard


Yippee Ki-Yay, We like to PARTY!

Does the Nakitomi corporation and the city of LA lose more money letting John McClane fight bad guys in his bare feet than if they just let Alan Rickman and the other fancy Germans get away with all the money and blow up the building? Is Nakitomi just a front for a very large scale crime ring? Does Damon know how much buildings are worth?

Learn these things and more on this episode!


Dan’s Spreadsheets! (Be nice, he worked hard!) This includes links to all of Dan’s sources, plus an overwhelming amount of money!



Episode 7: Beauty and the Beast


Is the little provincial town that Belle’s from living removed from time, in an egg-based economy? Is Gaston their prince? Listen to us discuss the Town That France Forgot!


Correction! Liz was wrong, Perrault didn’t write Le Belle et Le Bete, it was actually written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. BOO, LIZ.

The Beauty and the Beast Christmas Special, if you dare.


Episode 6: The Enigmatic Ron Swanson


Certainly a man who doesn’t half-ass two things when he could whole-ass one thing knows how to plan for his retirement and the financial security of his kids. But Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson takes things to another level entirely. Dan digs up the dirt (err… gold?) on Ron Swanson’s secret buried savings!

How much gold could one public servant possibly save, after all?


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”

Parks and Rec Wiki, “Duke Silver”

Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi, “All Your Worth”

OnlyGold.Com, “Historical Gold Prices”


Episode 5: The Shawshank Redemption


Welcome to the episode where we finish recording and go right off to jail! Dan teaches Liz and Damon how to do cook books and do crime*, a la Andy Deuxfrain…. Doofrain?… Dufresne.

*but then we don’t do crime, and neither should you. We offer no advice and we take no responsibility! No criming allowed!

And as always, thanks very much to Charlsey Miller for our theme song! Check out her music (and buy some of her albums!) at CharlseyMiller.com

Episode 4: Ollivander’s Failing Business


Harry Potter’s world is certainly very magical, but not incredibly economically practical. Is Ollivander charging wizards and witches enough for their wands, or is he destined to go out of business? Is it possible that everything in the Wizarding World is government subsidized? This is part one of a non-consecutive, ongoing collection of Harry Potter-themed episodes.




Have you finished bingeing the second season of Stranger Things? Don’t worry, no spoilers here! When we recorded this, we had no idea what a hero Steve would turn out to be. What we DID know was that those kids stole a bunch of salt to make Eleven’s sensory-deprivation-kiddie-pool, and SOMEONE was going to have to pay for that. How much could salt possibly cost, you ask? Well. It’s surprising in every way you can imagine!


DNA Info, “Netflix Ends Unauthorized ‘Stranger Things’ Bar With A Super Classy Letter”

The Economist, “Salt Sellers”


And as always, thanks very much to Charlsey Miller for our theme song! Check out her music (and buy some of her albums!) at CharlseyMiller.com

Episode 2: Stephen King’s IT


Welcome back! In this episode, we talk Derry, Maine, where, if you time it right, nothing bad will ever happen to you! But if you’re a kid there every 27-30 years, hoo boy watch out! Turtle from Entourage can’t save you from the folksy elder god in the sewer system, and neither can the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan.

Can you get life insurance in Derry? Join us to find out!

Jezebel, “Let Me Assure You That the Original It TV Movie Is Nowhere Nearly as Scary as You Remember”

Cracked, “‘Entourage’ is so Bad Pirates Don’t Want to Steal It”

So You Don’t Have To, Liz’s other podcast! (That Entourage Episode will be back up and available sometime soon!)

Credit for our lovely theme song goes to the miraculous Charlsey Miller! Check out here stuff here!

Episode 1: Ghostbusters!

Hello World!


This is our very first episode of Make-Believe Money, where Dan tells Liz and Damon about the interesting economic implications of fantasy worlds. First up, Ghostbusters! Sure, they look like a bunch of broke dudes in jumpsuits with some funky radioactive backpacks, but don’t be fooled! Turns out our favorite paranormal exterminators might be more money-savvy than pretty much anyone could have guessed.



Movoto Real Estate Blog, “Ghostbusters Firehouse for Sale”