If everyone in America handled their finances like Hank Hill from the Fox animated series King of the Hill words like “stimulus package” and “Hey, there’s an AIG executive: get him!” would never be heard. Hank Hill quickly rose to Assistant Manager at Strickland Propane after being discovered by owner Buck Strickland while buying some denim at Jeans West where Hank was working as a salesman. So well does Hank do his job that even in a bad year for grilling he still manages to secure a $1,000 bonus at the end of the year.
Hard Work, I Tell You What
Hank Hill believes in hard work and part of that philosophy means you only buy what you can afford. As he famously asserted in one episode, he’s already got enough credit cards; he doesn’t need a second one. His 13 year old son Bobby Hill, upon misunderstanding that Hank’s $1,000 bonus came only once a year instead of being a weekly salary, once stole that very credit card and went on a spending spree. Rather than allowing the credit balance to increases by paying the minimum, Hank took nearly all of that bonus and immediately paid off his debt.
The Insurance Fairy
Hank Hill is an insurer’s dream because he lives the dream of insuring against catastrophe on a daily basis. He fixes things around the house before they break down. He keeps a record of oil changes to his pickup truck going back to when he first bought it. Hank is genuinely a hands-on type who would rather fix something himself than pay someone else an exorbitant amount to fix it for him. And when he accidentally missed a payment on his insurance premium, he made his wife Peggy and niece Luanne spend the night at an interstate welcome center rather than risk an accident, and he took pains to make sure that nothing happens to his house for the weekend until he can renew the policy.
When you plan ahead, when things happen you will always be prepared.
One of Hank’s mottos and perhaps the key toward keeping him solvent. Although Hank lives in Arlen, a small town with the low cost of living associated with such places, and although his salary as an assistant manager is obviously not huge, it is easy to imagine that Hank Hill would live almost as spartanly even if he were one of those AIG executives. (Which, of course, would paradoxically deny him the chance of EVER actually being an AIG executive.) On their small town wages, the Hills live a very comfortable life; so comfortable that Hank can afford for his wife not to keep a full time job. Because he fixes his truck when things break down, he can keep it for longer than the average person. Because he only buys quality materials for house maintenance, he plans ahead for when things naturally fall apart.
No Got Dang Way!
The financial security that Hank Hill experiences versus the dire straits of so many others is inextricably intertwined with Hank’s rejection of the leisure culture. Hank is almost never seen going to a movie and only rarely renting a movie. He doesn’t own state of the art electronic equipment and explicitly rejects the influence of Hollywood. The only entry of “cool” into the Hill house is via his son Bobby and Hank does all he can to discourage this. In fact, Hank is so out of touch with the dominant influence of the leisure industry that when Bobby mentions to him that Julia Robert makes 20 million dollars a picture, he believes Bobby is confusing 20 million with 20 thousand.