Jo: Despite current controversy I was completely impressed with the Kardashian's money attitude and their work ethic. I have never met a celebrity crew who works so hard to maintain their brand. I don't necessarily agree with the massive amounts they are paid to do what they do, but unlike a lot of celebs they truly do work for it. And beyond that they manage their money well. They budget, they funnel funds back into new projects, they try not to spend excessively and they do donate a portion of their income to charity each year.(2) What surprised you the most about the money habits you observed during your Celebrity, Inc. research?
Jo: So many of the people I talked to over-spent their budgets on a consistent basis even though they were making crazy amounts of money. Spencer Pratt told me he and Heidi Montag pulled in about $10 million in 4 years but because they thought it would keep coming at the same rate they blew through it all. That's a common thread I found with a lot of celebs. They're making so much but they're spending just as quickly. They buy $5 million houses and spend half a million on a security detail and they rarely save a dime. I just don't think they realize the shelf life of fame is shorter than ever and they may not be famous tomorrow.(3) What personal finance lessons do you think the rest of us can take away from the way famous people live their lives?
Jo: Budgeting for a rainy day is the best thing we can learn from celebrities in terms of personal finance. I saw so many cases of celebs who thought it would last forever and then forever came up really... quick.
I was inspired by the extent to which celebs expand their personal brands. Tim McGraw went from country singer to fragrance king. When Valerie Bertinelli's career as an actress seemed like it was over she reinvented herself through a weight loss campaign. I don't think we see these instances of celeb entrepreneurship as inspiring enough and I truly think they should be a lesson in taking chances, building a new business and making lemonade out of lemons.In many ways our celebrity culture is like a group of chaotic drunk people. It lurches rapidly from one topic and fad to the next. In the heat of the excitement money can feel like no object. But the financial hangover of being, or trying to emulate, that lifestyle can result in a serious financial crash. So pick up a copy of Celebrity, Inc. and tell me what you think. Does our national obsession with the lifestyles of the rich and famous ever cause you to do things with your money that you later regret? [This post originally appeared at ManishaThakor.com.] For more MoneyZen in your life, follow Manisha on Twitter at@ManishaThakoron Facebook at ManishaThakoror sign up to receive Manisha's MoneyZen blog via emailby clicking here.