How Ballers Manage Their Money

by J. Money on Friday, February 14, 2014

jay leno with barack obama

I recently read that Jay Leno banks ALL of his TV money and only lives on the money from doing comedy. WOW.

I got that over at, who also featured 4 other financially-conscious celebrities in the article (he labeled them as “frugal,” but to me it’s more “smart” than it is frugality. I’m pretty sure they’re not frugal in the sense we think of ;)). Here’s the entire quote that Jay once said in an interview. Yes, we’re on a first name basis now, mainly because we’re both Jay’s, and millionaires. #NOT

 “When I was a kid I had two jobs. I worked at a Ford dealership and at a Mcdonald’s. I’d spend the money from one job and save the money from the other. That’s still the way I am now. I live on the money I make as a comedian, and I put all the TV money in the bank. I’ve never spent a dime of TV money – ever.”

Can you even try and fathom how much money that means he has in his bank/investments? You see how much he spends on all his crazy rare cars and house – and that’s not touching ANY of his “real” money! Insane… and, incredibly brilliant.

Not unlike the 2nd person I’ll now be telling you about, who you may even know – fellow personal finance blogger/vlogger Kathryn from You might have read her stuff back in the day when she wrote at Kathryn’s Conversations (a MUCH toned down version of her current online self), but in a nut shell she recently quit her $600,000/year job (not a typo) to go out on her own and be the next Jon Stewart. Only, sexier.

And here’s the best part – she’s not touching a dime of her investments for it either:

[Cicoletti] couldn’t leave her day job until she’d saved enough money to cover at least one year of anticipated expenses. If you’re like me you just read that and thought, “But she was averaging more than $500K per year! Didn’t that provide enough cushion to quit right away” Nope, when questioned on this Cicoletti makes clear that her accumulated wealth was invested, and she wasn’t about to start pulling from [it]”

That’s a recent article about her from As in, THE I’ve always known she’s been good with money, but hot damn! A $600k salary is no joke! And, just like our other friend Mr. Leno (I’m now referring to him more appropriately so he doesn’t get offended when he reads this ;)), she refuses to touch her “retirement” money. Though, let’s be honest, either of them could retire at any point shall they choose. But that’s what working your ass off and being GOOD at it gets you, right? F-R-E-E-D-O-M.

And that’s what I like the most about both these people featured here today: Even though they’ve got tons of money they STILL only live off a very minute portion of it. And they do it in very smart ways too. Leno’s the ULTIMATE side hustler though, my word… His side hustle pays for his main life! And his real hustle pays for his FUTURE life! That’s one helluva play right there, ladies and gentlemen.

So the takeaways for this weekend are:

  • The early hustler gets the worm dollar.
  • Stash as much cash away as possible – especially side income!!
  • Give J. Money some of your money (I keed, I keed!)

Lots of people doing big things out there, baby… Next time I wanna be reading about YOU! :)

PS: Where do you think my friends above would land on my List of Blogger Net Worths?

[Jay Leno / Barack Obama photo by]

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 a terrible husband... February 14, 2014 at 9:37 am

I love it! I’ve always lived on about half of my income – since early, early age. But I’ve usually had only one main income. Now that I’m expanding to books, coaching, and speaking online, the plan is to transition to a similar model.


2 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Heck yeah! Cuz every dollar you make extra can 100% be put towards the savings/investing stash too! It’s awesome.


3 Blake @ BeanCounterByDay February 14, 2014 at 9:44 am

I just started following Leno on Twitter so maybe we can become good friends and he can remember me in his will. It shows unbelievable restraint to be making THAT much money from TV and be able to put it all in the bank.


4 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Agreed. Though maybe it’s actually easier than we think since he’s making double amounts of crazy money?


5 Jon @ Money Smart Guides February 14, 2014 at 9:49 am

That’s crazy about Leno, especially as you said when thinking about how much he spends on his car collection! My wife and I are on track to save one of our incomes. We want to have as much saved as possible before we start a family next year.


6 Carl February 14, 2014 at 10:00 am

That is exactly what I was thinking! Spending that much on cars from just comedy? Maybe he uses some of the profits from his TV money for those as well so technically he hasn’t spent TV money but is still able to get those extra dollar for his collection.


7 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm

That’s a great plan, Jon :) People will tell you there’s “never a good time” to have a child, but I’d imagine having a bunch of $$$ banked sure makes it a *better* time, haha…


8 February 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

That’s pretty cool about Mr. Leno! I guess not all celebrities spend like its 1999.


9 Debt BLAG February 14, 2014 at 10:35 am

That’s very interesting, considering his well-known penchant for expensive cars. He must be making a ton of money and have a ridiculous amount put away then. And I’ve read Kathryn; she’s definitely going places


10 Mark Ross February 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

Thanks for mentioning my article in here J$!

I hope you have a great weekend. :)


11 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm

You too man, thanks for the inspiration!


12 FI Fighter February 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

It does help if you start working at a young age and attend the school of hard knocks. Those early experiences sort of help shape your mentality towards money… for life. I still remember bagging groceries in high school and needing to work about a full day just so I could afford gas for my car… Eating lunch was about an hour of work! So, I said screw that, I’ll save money by eating at McDonalds’s instead. :)

But for him to be doing that with his kind of income, yeah that is pretty crazy… He must be making a ton just doing comedy, or is just really, really disciplined…


13 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I like thinking about what stuff costs in hours too – helps put things in perspective more :)


14 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life February 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I wanna be reading about me too! Being able to walk away from 600k annually must be pretty freakin’ empowering.


15 christina h. February 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Have you not seen Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? Google it, dude. You won’t be sorry. The Jay Leno episode is hysterical, but I love them all.


16 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Oh really? I’ve heard of it but have never watched… Will go and do so now, thx!


17 Crystal February 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm

We used to live on my husband’s salary and save mine, but self-employment changed stuff. Now we live on a set amount a month and save the rest. That means we’re saving $500-$4000 depending on the month, so it’s not consistent. But it’s what works. :-)


18 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Heck yeah! And it’s all *something* too. Which is the important part… I’m currently in the “let’s break even” scenario now and it’s not as fun ;)


19 Ree Klein February 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Love Kathryn of! So glad you shared her with me…that video is hysterical! She has another one of her and her dad on a golf course that’s too funny! She has a quirky way of being a blonde ditz but a really smart one…go figure!


20 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

She’s a branding genius ;) And, well, an investment one too! Glad you like her.


21 Grayson @ Debt Roundup February 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm

And that is how you do it. This is how you become financially independent. You live off your side income and investments. Damn right!


22 Becky @ RunFunDone February 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Wow. That’s so funny, because with all of Jay’s cars, I’ve always thought that he was a celebrity who is not so frugal! Good job, Jay!


23 Kathryn February 14, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Huzzah!!! Thank you so much for including me, with, ah hem….JAY LENO. Why do I have a feeling I’m more excited about being compared to him that he is about being compared to me :)

Thank you for including me MONEY.


24 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Perhaps he’ll be the first guest on your tv show ;)


25 Tahnya Kristina February 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

I heard that about Shaq too. I read he lives off his endorsement money and has never touched his NBA salary – ah the life. I guess I could say the same thing about my side hustle income but I choose to spend it on travel.


26 J. Money February 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Oh, interesting – I didn’t know that! Good for him.


27 MakintheBacon February 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm

A lot of the times you only hear about the celebrities who blow their money to bits and then wind up broke. It’s always nice and refreshing to hear the celebrities who are frugal and/or smart with their money. It makes me like them more, knowing I can relate to them a little bit (unfortunately only in habits, and not in salary. haha).


28 J. Money February 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

The habits are the important part :)


29 Michelle February 16, 2014 at 11:46 am

J Leno is smart as hell. I’ve always wondered how much money he has banked. He will be a Billionaire in the end.


30 Karen @ Money Saving Enthusiast February 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm

That’s pretty impressive to think that he is socking all of that money away. Maybe he’s been reading your blog. ; ) It does make you think that we could all be doing better, right? Maybe when you get those photo booths going, you can stash some more cash. Hee hee. JK


31 James February 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Hey J,

Good posting as usual. The thing is I think most of what MakinSenseBabe is selling you can get for free on the internet…why would you pay $10 bucks for it?




32 Kathryn February 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Yeah, this is really for people who don’t want to spend hours scouring through information online to stay updated on this stuff. So it’s more of a time management tool for people who have other things going on, and would rather just pay $10 a month to have someone serve it up for them.


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