You Can't Hide the Hookers: Candid Advice From a Business Manager
Here's the lowdown on when to pay for a fancy dress instead of rent, how to avoid shady contractors and why actors should never lie about their expenses.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Your business manager is your protector. I am here to help you make the most out of your life, and since I have a great relationship with money and an intimate understanding of your finances, I am a tremendous resource for you. Here are five brutally honest tips to keep your balance sheet healthy:
1. KNOW WHEN TO SPLURGE
Hollywood people often find themselves having to make tough money choices. I repped an actress who was almost broke but needed a splashy new dress for a big premiere. It was either buy the dress or pay her rent. We sat down, discussed the options and decided she had to go for it. She bought an incredible outfit, walked the red carpet and was a complete knockout. That dress literally changed her career, and she has been working steadily ever since. And now she has a ton of cash in the bank.
2. KNOW WHEN TO SAVE
I go to great lengths to keep people solvent. You need to have reserves in the bank in case you don't get that offer during pilot season. If the funds start running low, make hard choices NOW! Take a cab to the premiere and hope a friend has a studio town car that can drop you at home. (Just make sure the cab lets you off down the street, and walk the rest of the way.)
3. JUST SAY NO TO DUMB INVESTMENTS
The market crash a few years ago changed everything. People that had no access to cash got screwed. That's why I plead with clients to avoid too many brokerage accounts, the dumb restaurant investments, the hedge funds with five-year waiting periods to withdraw. Higher eventual "returns" don't mean anything if you don't have the cash to pay the mortgage. Too many people in Hollywood are forced to wave bye-bye to all their houses. It's sad.
4. DON'T BE SUCKERED BY FAKE DEALS
Construction projects are the worst money pits, period. Celebrities get so much given to them for free, some think this applies to remodels. It doesn't. I always suggest three or four contractors my firm has vetted, but occasionally an actor will go rogue and hire a "contractor" that promises him a deal: "Just refer me to your other A-list friends." These people are stalkers or crooks (or both). I end up having to swoop in and appease the unpaid subcontractors who are about to file liens on the property. NEVER give contractors big lump sums, and always pay subs directly. Oh, and that reduced-price job just cost you 30 percent more than my top-notch guy.
5. OWN UP TO YOUR WILD PARTYING
I've seen it all, so don't be embarrassed by your go-go lifestyle. But please don't try to lie to me because you can't hide the hookers. I see the late-night ATM withdrawals at Les Girls, the cell-phone bills and the bank statements. It's easy to piece together last Saturday night's events. I've had clients "redirect" paychecks to a secret account, but I always find out because I reconcile W2s. I'm trained to catch sneaky maneuvers -- that's how I prevent people from stealing from you! BTW, I know that a charge to PCLTD on your Visa is for the Pleasure Chest … we just code that to "personal."
Anonymous is a top Hollywood business manager who would never disclose your personal information.