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Wealthy Ever After

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An ending trope, where the protagonists become rich.

Usually, the writers want to avoid the Hard Truth Aesop that money can buy happiness, so this is only added after the generic Happy Ending tropes, such as love, or family, so it is not actually money that makes them happy, but it surely doesn't hurt either.

It might be an example of Sweet and Sour Grapes, if the characters just learned the Aesop that there are more important things than money, but they get rich anyways.

Compare If I Were a Rich Man. The Standard Hero Reward can overlap, as being given half the kingdom tends to make someone wealthy.

As an Ending Trope, Spoilers below are unmarked.


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    Comic Books 
  • Inverted in the classic Daredevil story "Born Again", where Matt Murdock is ruined by the Kingpin when he learns his enemy's Secret Identity. The Kingpin is eventually defeated and disgraced, but feels he at least made Murdock miserable by impoverishing him while he plans to strike at him again. However, when you see the final panel of Matt and Karen being happy in their situation, you know the Kingpin has truly lost.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Catherine and Her Fate, a rich merchant's daughter is asked whether she would rather be happy in youth or age. When she chooses age, her father loses his wealth and dies, and she lives in poverty, but she ends up marrying a wealthy king.
  • In "Jack and the Beanstalk", the gold Jack steals from the giant makes him and his mother rich.
  • "Bluebeard" ends with the heroine rich.
    Bluebeard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy captains' commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the ill time she had passed with Bluebeard.
  • The Brothers Grimm:
    • "Hansel and Gretel" return home with money.
      And as they had no longer any cause for fear, they went in the old hag's house, and here they found, in every corner of the room, boxes with pearls and precious stones. "These are even better than pebbles," said Hansel, and crammed his pockets full of them; and Gretel said: "I too will bring something home," and she filled her apron full.
    • In The Peasant and the Devil, the peasant outwits the devil to lay claim to treasure in his field without giving anything for it.
    • In The Boy Who Went Out to Learn What Fear Was, staying in the house three nights wins him treasure as well as the king's reward.
      The old man led him back into the castle, and in a cellar showed him three chests full of gold. "Of these," said he, "one part is for the poor, the other for the king, the third is thine."
    • In "The Star Money", the girl becomes "rich for her whole life" after gathering the eponymous talers.
  • In Thirteenth, Thirteenth is given treasure by the king.
  • Asbjørnsen and Moe's "The Old Dame and her Hen": Before sneaking out of the lair of troll holding her captive, the protagonist steals enough gold and silver to set her family up for life.

    Fan Works 
  • Roadside Assistance ends with Yang's engagement to Weiss, which makes Yang a multi-billionaire.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the real reason why the explorers went to Atlantis is just so they can help the villain become rich. However, at the end of the film, said explorers turn to the hero to stop said villain and save Atlantis, yet they still end up rich because of this, judging by their clothing the last time we see them. It's implied that the Atlanteans are quite wealthy, by normal standards. However, because their city is isolated and in ruins they've come to consider things like food and creature comforts more important than treasure. Given that the explorers saved Atlantis at great personal risk, it makes sense that the city's people would reward them.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Harold Lloyd was fond of this trope. His typical Happy Ending was Boy Gets Girl, Boy Gets Rich. Examples include Safety Last! and Speedy.
  • Run Lola Run. Lola wins a ton of cash from a casino to help her boyfriend, who had a bag of money that he was supposed to deliver to a mob boss stolen by a homeless man. But before she can give him the money, her boyfriend runs into the homeless man and takes back the money, so they end up with more money than they need.
  • Paycheck ended with the protagonists winning $90 million lottery. By seeing the future.
  • It Could Happen to You: In a beautiful twist, they were destitute, but took in a homeless man to give him soup when they could ill afford to share anything. That homeless man was a reporter for the NY Times who described them as kind, gentle people who were not bitter they'd been made destitute. And then the donations came pouring in, making them rich again. Meanwhile, the selfish harpy that took all their money gets all of it stolen by a con man and is forced to move back in with her mother and return to her old job in a nail salon.
  • National Treasure had the museums paying 1% of the treasure's value to the protagonists. It was stated a few times the treasure was worth about $10 billion US dollarsnote , so even 1% set them for life.
  • In The Gold Rush, Chaplin and Big Jim find the mountain of gold at great personal risk and the story ends with them leaving the Klondike rich.
  • Holes: The movie plays the trope straight and ends with the main characters hanging out in a mansion and Stanley's dad's invention "Sploosh" being advertised on TV.
  • Slumdog Millionaire ends with the protagonist, who grew up in poverty, winning the game-show and its enormous prize.
  • The end of The Mummy finds Rick and Evy riding off into the sunset on a camel that is, unbeknownst to them, loaded down with treasures. Their giant house in the sequel indicates that they've made a pretty good living with the grave robbing.
  • When Marty McFly fixes his parents' past in Back to the Future, he returns to a present where his father George is a wealthy science fiction author. Interestingly this ending didn't sit right with Crispin Glover (George's actor), who felt it sent the wrong message and didn't return for the sequels.
  • Many heist movies (Ocean's Eleven,note  Fast Five, The Italian Job (2003) for example) end with the (surviving) members of the crew reaping the rewards of their heist.
  • The Whole Town's Talking: There was a reward $25,000 for the killing of Mannion, and since Jones shot him down like a boss, he can now travel to Shanghai.
  • Ruthless People, as the sympathetic kidnappers and their victim make off with the ransom.
  • Bedtime Stories (2008): Skeeter's Best Friend Mickey who was a hotel waiter marries hotel heiress Violet and becomes the 9th richest person in the world.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine ends with Lou remaining in the past and using his knowledge of the future for personal financial gain. By present day he is a multi-billionaire. His other friends are also better off than they were before their time travel adventure.

  • Battle Royale has the government support the winner of each battle royale with a lot of money to settle with. Shogo admits that he's got enough money to not have to worry about, but admits that it's 'a lot less' than advertised. Given how the book's latest round ended, with two survivors escaping the game, Shuuya and Noriko are obviously not given money.
  • In The Belgariad, Loveable Rogue Silk exploits the end of the war between the Angarak nations and the West to establish an international trade consortium with a like-minded Angarak partner. By the Malloreon sequel series, he's one of the richest people on the planet... although to him, the real reward is in the game of commerce, and the money is just an incidental way of keeping score.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Gallifrey Chronicles, former companion Anji turns out to have become one of the richest women in Britain because Trix, while traveling with the Doctor, managed to send her financial information from the future. Since Fitz and Trix have decided (for the time being, anyway) that they want to settle down together, she cuts them in on it.
  • Older Than Dirt: The Ancient Egyptian tale "The Eloquent Peasant" apparently ends with the protagonist Hunanup richly compensated for his troubles and rewarded for his eloquence with numerous goods confiscated from the household of Djehuty-nekht, the man who had wronged him.
  • At the end of the final book in Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series, Mr. Lyss wins the lottery.
  • The Hobbit has Bilbo returning to Hobbiton rich, although he could take home much more treasure if he felt it worth the bother.
  • Holes: In the book, the narrative makes a point that the treasure that Stanley and Zero dug up ends up netting them less than a million dollars each. But not a lot less. And with the curse ended, Stanley's father is finally successful with his inventions.
  • In The Hunger Games, the Capitol awards the winner of the Games more money than they can spend in a lifetime. The ending to the actual book series doesn't reveal if Katniss and Peeta get to keep that wealth, however.
  • Jane Eyre inherits £20000 (which back then was a lot of money) from her long-lost uncle close to the end of the story. Being the kind of person that she is, she shares it with her cousins, dividing the money equally between four people; yet even after that she's left quite wealthy.
  • Sara Crewe from A Little Princess, after Mr Carrisford finds her and adopts her and the investment that her father had put into was actually worth much, much more than they thought.
  • By the end of Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Mara has realized that there are things that are far more important to her then freedom and gold, her motivations at the beginning. However, she ends up receiving both of them anyway, one through a boon of the new king, and the other through marrying her love, Count Sheftu.
  • Marius and Cosette at the end of Les Misérables when Jean Valjean gives them all the money he earned while he was mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer. Marius' aunt and grandfather are very pleased; Marius and Cosette themselves are too absorbed in their love to take any notice.
  • Ready Player One has Wade Watts become a quarter of a trillion dollars richer by winning Halliday's contest. He ends up sharing it with his surviving friends for working with him.
  • The Warlock O' Glenwarlock by George Mac Donald (alternative title: The Laird's Inheritance) ends with Cosmo Warlock discovering a great treasure within the walls of the family keep. After, of course, learning that money doesn't really matter if you have faith in God and a good heart.
  • Night Watch Discworld: Supporting character Doctor Lawn (whose character is a parody of exactly who you'd expect), a man who's spent many years barely scraping by despite being a damn good doctor because his medical knowledge is ahead of its time and at odds with the current scientific consensus, finally gets his chance to shine when he's called upon to save the Duchess of Ankh from Death by Childbirth. Not only does he become the toast of the town with enough professional clout to make people take him seriously, the grateful Duke personally hands him an enormous sum of money. On the condition that he keeps quiet about the Time Travel shenanigans said Duke got dragged into, which is how they first met several decades ago. By the time he pops up again in Going Postal he's a lot more mellow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played straight in the Amazing Stories episode "Gather Ye Acorns". A small elf tells a kid to forget about studying to be a doctor and that hard work is not a virtue. "There's doctors aplenty is this world," he says, "What we could truly do with is a few more dreamers." We switch from 1932 to 1938 and he winds up spending all his hard-earned money on a fancy car. His dad is a little peeved, to say the least, and boots him out of the house. Years go by and the boy is now old, broke, friendless, homeless and trying to beg for enough money to gas up his car to commit suicide with it. But a wealthy lady notices some collector's piece in his collection of junk and offers him $10,000 for it. Cut to him now wealthy from selling all his childhood collectables. It turns out that all his artifacts are worth millions. This is treated as a happy ending.
  • The Brittas Empire: Laura's final fate in the series has her reconcile with her incredibly rich husband Michael and head off to America to raise a child with him.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Doomsday": Rose and Jackie are Trapped in Another World, but they're living with the Alternate Universe version of Pete Tyler, who's very rich from his successful businesses.
    • "Voyage of the Damned": Mr. Copper the tour guide loaded a credit card with a million pounds, thinking it was only good for trinkets. The Doctor explains to him that he's now wealthy, due to conversion standards between pounds and Sto credits, but he has to be careful with it in his new life on Earth.
    • "The End of Time": The Doctor's wedding present to Donna is a lottery ticket.
  • This would have been the ending to Only Fools and Horses, if it hadn't been brought back five years later. But at least it allowed Rodney to find out who his real father is, and become a father himself. Played as a very slightly Bittersweet Ending, surprisingly, as Del-Boy gloomily reflects on every Zany Scheme and desperate hustle Rodney and himself have been through just trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads when all this time there's been a ridiculously valuable antique watch gathering dust in the cupboard all along and wonders if it was All for Nothing.
  • The last season of Roseanne. Until the last few minutes of the final episode reveal that it's All Just a Dream, anyway.
  • Wings ended with Joe and Brian finding money left to them by their father (the money they were searching for in the very first episode), then having to decide how best to use it.
  • Comically subverted in The Young Ones episode "Cash", where a lorry full of money crashes into the Young Ones' house, apparently solving their financial problems forever, until the house and money get blown up.
  • As the Soap Opera Loving wound down and prepared for its transition into The City, a rather obnoxious character won the lottery and threw it in the faces of everyone who'd snubbed her before.
  • The final scene of The Red Green Show's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue shows Red dressed in an impeccable suit seated in what looks to be a posh mansion. Red himself doesn't say what he did to achieve this. Maybe the royalties from the show finally kicked in?


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • In the “good” Heidi ending in Daughter for Dessert, the protagonist and Heidi get rich and get hitched after successfully franchising the diner.
  • Happens to the protagonist and title character of Melody in the Perfect Ending. The two of them come to live in a mansion such as only the wealthiest musicians can afford.

  • In El Goonish Shive, at the end of the "Nanase Craft And The Crypt of Zappiness" storyline, Sarah becomes wealthy enough to retire but chooses not to.

    Web Original 
  • The surviving protagonists of Darwin's Soldiers are each offered millions of dollars in hush money by the government.