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March 01, 2017


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There are two parts to spending less than you earn: what you spend and what you earn. If Denzel can act in 2 movies a year and earn $40 million from that, what's wrong with him choosing to live on $30 million (for example) of that? You acknowledged that he's got a positive net worth of about $130-190 million, so obviously over the course of his career he HAS been spending less than he earned.

He has to invest money in the movies he wants to make, like Fences, which he co-produced. He plans to put August Wilson's entire 10-cycle Pittsburgh plays on film. That won't be cheap, and he's preparing to invest in that.

It's pretty amazing to me that people can spend that much money. This article has some other interesting things hidden in it though. Those net worth figures that you found for Denzel - I think they may be inaccurate. I've heard that famous people don't generally just go around sharing their net worth with people, so the media guesses them. For Facebook someone put Zuckerberg in the billions and he said he hasn't actually seen those billions. I imagine it's because they were looking at the potential value of the company and not actual money that he has access to! Getting that money out could take a significant amount of time. It's not like owning stock that can easily be sold.

Anyway, interesting post. -Aaron

Isn't it funny how "rich" people can still be poor? Hell, if I were in even one blockbuster movie I'd save all the damn money and retire forever. You can live pretty well if you massage $1 million in the right way. Ahh.

But yeah, it's this line of thinking that bankrupts celebrities. It's the whole keeping up with appearances rat race. In many ways I feel bad for them.

Not that my personal opinion on his business matters, but in my view it all depends on 'what he wants to do' and 'what he has to do'. Some people choose to follow the money instead of their 'dream' in order to make life easier for others (examples filial responsibility, large gifts to charity, supporting a good cause)-- and I see nothing wrong with that so long as the work they do for pay is a net positive to society.

Like I read a story about a working couple in one of those prestige tech companies who are keeping little savings but their living expenses are minimal (mostly on employer dime) and they're giving their ample salaries to charity. What traps them in their lucrative but maybe not-ideal jobs is their intense desire to contribute to a greater cause, one that outweighs any desire to slack off. I don't know anyone like them, but I wish I did.

I think for HUGE earners like actors and entertainers that get large windfalls periodically it's easier to get trapped in a large spending cycle. If you started a job and one year you got 100k, then 750k, then 20million for 5 years straight. You probably think you're pretty set so you'd buy a huge house, support your family and friends, take some risky ventures. Then it dries up and you get 100k a year for 10 years, now everything is gone and you've still got your mortgage to pay. I know it's extreme, but it's easy for me to see how people can get trapped like that.

Alternatively he could sell his $10+mil mansion and downsize, but why when he can just work a bit more at something he probably enjoys

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