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21 Aug, 2009

Financial advice for rich celebrities

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

Annie Leibovitz is $24m in debt, but for any other famous names worrying about their nest egg, here’s how to save your stash

Through a combination of extravagance and mismanagement, celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz finds herself $24m in debt. How could such a thing have happened, and more importantly, how could it have been avoided? Below, a basic financial primer for anyone rich and famous.

• “Loan” means you have to pay it back. Worse still, the person or institution who gave you the money will almost certainly want even more in return. A mortgage is a type of loan, by the way, and not just an award for having lovely taste in homes.

• Where possible, shop locally. Shipping can add hidden costs. Annie Leibovitz was fond of a certain type of notebook made in Sweden, and once had two of them couriered to New York at a cost of $800. Before you tell your PA to have a burrito from a fast-food restaurant in LA delivered to your Tokyo hotel room, remember that £5,000 worth of sushi from up the road might work out cheaper.

• Get wasted in moderation. Set yourself a budget for illegal drugs, and stick to it. If you find yourself unable to do this, it means you have a drug problem, and you need to seek help. Do not seek help from your drug dealer.

• Remember: there is no official upper limit to how much a person can spend in a lifetime. Right now it may seem as if you are rich beyond your capacity to blow it all, but the condition of having more money than sense is almost always temporary. Ask yourself: do I really need lions? Is a solid chocolate house practical?

• Hangers-on steal. This is not so much a crime as part of the implied contract between you and your entourage. That’s why you can never find any towels, even though you buy 200 a month.

• Never purchase a town. You may well be able to afford a small Welsh village, but that doesn’t make it a good investment. Here’s a handy rule of thumb: the fact that it’s for sale in the first place is a very bad sign. There’s a good reason why tourists never went there, and it probably wasn’t because there was no celebrity owner to frequent the local pub.

• For you, there is such a thing as free lunch. You can get a lifetime supply of Doritos just by saying, “You know what? I really like Doritos,” in an interview. You should also be entitled to free cars and free clothes, in return for nothing more than your express or tacit endorsement. If you feel you’re not getting your full allotment of free stuff, check with your management. You might not be as famous as you think you are.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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