The Business Breakdown: The Change-Up

Two men switch lives and realize what they're missing. What can credit unions learn?


Everyone has thought about what it would be like to be someone else. You could solve his problems. You could live her life. You could do it better.

The Change-Up tells the story of two friends on divergent paths. Dave (Jason Bateman) is a hard-working family man. Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) works intermittently and despises his father. One night, they go out in Atlanta, have a few beers (plus some shots), relieve themselves in a fountain during a city-wide power outage (stick with me)……….Actually, just watch the preview. It’ll be more fun than a verbatim premise synopsis.

The movie’s plot was largely worthless, but there were some pretty humorous scenes and lines. Plus, you have to like Bateman.

Over the course of the movie, Dave and Mitch come to realizations about the deficiencies in their own lives as a result of living as the other. There’s the economic lesson: Sometimes, it takes a big change to generate progress. Let’s see if that applies anywhere in the economic world. I bet it does.

  • Read Up: Some states are making financial education mandatory to prepare students for the new realities of a post-recession world. The Breakdown: This is a change for the better. In theory, the education will make children well-equipped to live healthy financial lives. What can your cooperative do to be part of the solution? You could easily hold financial literacy classes of your own for members.
  • Simply The Best: CNNMoney ranks the best small towns across a number of categories such as income, quality of life, and home prices. The Breakdown: What makes these communities so successful? Find one that’s near you and examine what makes it tick. You can definitely learn something. If things aren’t working in your market, look around and see what’s going on where things are thriving. Just because a town is small doesn’t mean it’s insignificant.
  • Crack The Code: QR codes are generating interest with more than 14 million people scanning one in June. The Breakdown: The proliferation of mobile phone technology has changed the financial services world. That much is obvious. But now you have to decide where to allocate your credit union's resources. Is the QR code with it? Maybe. You have to investigate all of these mobile advancements; once something becomes standard (e.g. online banking apps), you don’t want to be left out.

I wouldn’t recommend The Change-Up (go Captain America instead), but I do think its message (or at least a tangentially related one) is valuable. Sometimes, you need a shake-up to get your mind right. The recession’s been tough on everybody, but if you didn’t learn anything from it, then the hardship was for nothing.

It might be worth it to have a meeting with your leadership team and have everyone discuss what they’ve learned from all of this turmoil. See what you can turn into action.

I would advise against wishing you had a friend’s life though. Not a great idea.


Aug. 16, 2011


  • Terrible movie, excellent post ;-)

    Regarding #1: In addition to financial literacy education, kids needs lots and lots of hands-on practice before they're off on their own. Credit Unions can provide new online tools to members that help them teach their kids good personal finance skills.

    Regarding #3: Here's a QR code related to #1 :-)

    Bill at FamZoo