Celebrities That Teach Us Lessons about Financial Literacy

Written by Aara Jones
4 · 28 · 21

Celebrities’ entire lives tend to be on display for the world to see. For this reason, it’s easy to watch and learn from them, whether they’re making frequent mistakes or thriving.

While we commonly think of celebrities as sources of endless cash, this isn’t always the case. For those who never learned about financial asset management (or who did and still choose to be careless), money is a very fleeting thing. Let’s take a closer look at the financial takeaways from celebrities that we know and love.

Limit Extravagant Purchases

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who drop money recklessly after receiving a paycheck. It’s natural to want to celebrate having some extra money in your bank account—the key is to avoid going overboard.

Keanu Reeves vs. Nicolas Cage

Celebrities Financial Literacy Lessons

Keanu Reeves is a great example of a celebrity that doesn’t let his wealth get to his head. Despite his net worth of $360 million, he gives lots of money away from both to charity and to his crew members. He even spent nearly two decades of his early career living out of a suitcase and hopping from hotels to trailers while filming.

Nicolas Cage, on the other hand, has been known to have bizarre (and expensive) spending priorities. According to CNBC, Cage’s love for history and mythology resulted in him spending $150 million on lavish purchases including castles, pygmy heads, and a dinosaur skull among other items. As such, it’s clear that the actor’s reputation for financial distress isn’t unfounded.

Ignore Fads

Fashion trends come and go like the wind, and while some celebrities hop on board in the hopes of staying relevant from moment to moment, others take a more modest approach to fashion—and save loads of money doing it!

Tiffany Haddish vs. Kim Kardashian

Celebrity Financial Literacy Lessons

Comedian Tiffany Haddish is known for disregarding fleeting fashion trends in favor of budget options. Despite backlash from her team, she wears and re-wears clothes that reflect her value for frugality and humility. Haddish is a noteworthy example of remaining financially grounded despite rising to stardom and riches.

Famous socialites like media personality Kim Kardashian reflect a different side of fashion—you’ll rarely ever find her wearing the same outfit twice. Of course, if your marketability is largely dependent on being perceived as a fashion icon, it makes sense to put a little more money and energy toward your style. That said, this lifestyle is rarely sustainable and is likely to result in financial trouble over time.

Use Credit Cards Wisely

Building and maintaining solid credit is necessary for taking out loans, applying for better credit cards, and even finding a place to live. Celebrities have shown us what to do and what not to do with credit cards to be financially stable, trustworthy borrowers.

Zooey Deschanel vs. Kanye West

Celebrity Financial Literacy Lessons

Zooey Deschanel, highly renowned for her roles in “New Girl” and “Elf,” knows how to use a credit card wisely. According to documents made public during her divorce from Ben Gibbard, the actress pays off her credit card balance regularly, maintaining a balance of $0 and regularly spending under a quarter of her monthly income.

In contrast, Chicago rapper Kanye West has come out repeatedly announcing the debt he’s accrued from his fashion line, announcing a debt of $15 million in 2015 and later claiming $53 million worth of debt in 2016. His behavior goes to show that even a major celebrity with a net worth of $160 million can find themself in massive debt.

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Aara Jones