"I bought my house for $10.5 million cash outright, because as Suze Orman taught me, if you can’t afford to buy a house in cash, you can’t afford it." -Kathy Griffin
One of my best friends just lost his job as a highly-paid executive due to the coronavirus. He is 60 years old and had just left an incredibly successful career in academia about a year ago. He had joined the company shortly after leaving academia but sales dropped dramatically after the virus hit and he was let go.
We have been discussing his next steps and I have no doubt he’ll come out of this stronger than ever. He’s had some pretty severe setbacks in this career over the last 35 years but he would completely skyrocket into the stratosphere a few months, years after. His career trajectory looks like an out-of-control roller coaster. One of the things that he is thankfully NOT worried about is money. He has been very diligent and smart with his investments over the years and will be absolutely fine.
As we were talking, I thought about Kathy Griffin, the female comedian. She caught a lot of flak in 2017 for her Trump picture but is slowly making her way back. She sat down for a very honest interview with The Cut last year about money which I loved and shared with everyone I knew.
I was very surprised by how much money she made over the years (“Since Suddenly Susan came out in 1996, I’ve consistently made between $3-and-10 million a year”) and how honest she was about her future earning potential post-Trump picture (“I’ll never have another day of paid work in my life”). The last part sounds like a real downer but here’s what she said next - “My net worth is $35 million, and I am telling you that openly and proudly to say to these dinosaurs: ‘I don’t need you.’”
Please ignore the politics of the situation and just applaud her for what she has accomplished, especially given the extreme competitiveness of the entertainment world. Kathy Griffin is a lot more successful and rich than most people will ever be. She has a lot more grit and determination than most people I’ve ever met (you just feel the hustle oozing from her pores), and honestly, she’s much more funny than I realized (I hadn’t really listened to her material before).
My best friend doesn’t have as much money as Kathy Griffin does but in both their cases, their financial savviness cushioned them from any major falls.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Griffin’s interview:
There was an Oprah episode where she talked about how a lot of celebrities and athletes who get to a certain level have a “business manager,” which is a Hollywood way to say a certified public accountant. A lot of these crooks take 5 percent of what you make. Well, over my dead body. My CPA has a monthly flat rate, the same with my lawyer. I’m not giving my CPA 5 percent of the night someone threw a bottle at my head in Auckland, New Zealand — he didn’t catch the f***ing bottle!
Yes, I sign every single check. I even make my CPA come to meetings with my attorneys, just to have another set of eyes. I go, “All right, we’re schlepping to the office and we’re going to go line item by line item.” I’ve done it with Suze Orman personally. I’ve been burned by people, but I have never bounced a check in my life. My credit score is ridiculous. When I say Oprah level, I mean I have zero debt. I bought my house [in Bel Air, CA] for $10.5 million cash outright, because as Suze Orman taught me, if you can’t afford to buy a house in cash, you can’t afford it.
I didn’t want to be an actress with no job security going, “Oh my God, I have this baller house but I’m scared of the mortgage.” No. I bought the one where I went, “Boom. I can afford it.” I can f***ing die in this house.
I’m 58. I don’t make investments that are risky. I make conservative, steadfast investments. My only stocks pay dividends, and diversity is everything: I diversify my money between stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate. In my opinion, don’t invest in f***ing new shit if you don’t know what it is. I have more Berkshire Hathaway than any stock. I feel like Warren Buffett is my personal broker. He famously met with Bill Gates for years because he would not invest in Microsoft. He was like, “I get insurance companies. I get Dairy Queen. I get Geico. I don’t know what Microsoft is,” and I thought, “Okay, if that’s good enough for Warren Buffett …” I should go to his annual meeting in Omaha, but I’m afraid I’d f*** him. That’s my kind of guy.
What is this?
An anthropological look at how people think about money. Created and edited by Star Li.