The Stars of Saving: Famous People Who Were Smart About Money

Many celebrities crash and burn financially when their television series get cancelled or they lose their appeal at the box office. But others prove that pretty faces are not always adverse to business judgment by making big money in wise investments. Here are four standouts.

 

Paul Newman: Foodstuffs Baron and Philanthropist

Paul Newman went from a childhood in Ohio, through a stint in the Navy, to a job in a sporting goods store before he headed for the bright lights of New York. His quick rise to an Academy Award-winning movie star is the stuff of legends. 

But Newman was also financially savvy. A talented chef, he started Newman's Own brand to market his spaghetti sauces and salad dressings to the world. The company offered the right products at the right time and proved a big hit from the get-go. 

Newman decided to take the road less traveled, donating 100 percent of his business' profits to charity. At the time of his death in 2008, Newman's Own had given more than $250 million to charitable causes.

 

Ashton Kutcher: Tech Investor Par Excellence

You and 14 million other television viewers know Ashton Kutcher from the wildly successful shows "Two and a Half Men" and “That ‘70s Show,” and as the first Twitter user to obtain 1 million followers. However, Kutcher is also an astute businessman and daring investor. 

Kutcher put money into the social network Foursquare, which placed him smack in the middle of the startup scene. He then invested in Skype and tripled his money when Microsoft purchased it two years later. 

A few years after that, Kutcher — together with Ron Burkle and Guy Oseary — created a venture fund, A-Grade Investments, that picked winners like Spotify, Airbnb, Fab, Uber, Dwolla and Path. He also co-founded Katalyst, a media company that creates original content for digital media, television and film.

 

Jaclyn Smith: Clothing Designer

Tolerance for risk, along with trust in her own instincts, shot Jaclyn Smith from one of Charlie’s Angels to big shot in business. At the height of her television fame, Smith defied the skeptics and signed a deal for a Kmart clothing line. Many advised her not to "lowball" her elegant image with budget retailer Kmart, but her instincts told her it was the right thing to do. 

The Smith-Kmart partnership proved to be phenomenally successful for both, as her clothing line became a mainstay for the retail chain. According to Smith, 100 million women wear her clothes and annual sales have reached $600 million.

 

Jay-Z: Rapper and Businessman

"Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week," rapper Jay-Z famously said in his song, "Diamonds Are Forever." Born as Shawn Carter in Brooklyn, New York, Jay-Z lived what he sang. He sold his recordings out of his car until he landed a record deal with the Payday label, and then soon quit to form Roc-A-Fella Records with Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke.

Jay-Z made millions in record sales, then increased his holdings with smart business ventures like Rocawear clothing and the 40/40 Club, as well as investments in the New Jersey Nets and the Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

 

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