Athletes and entertainers face unique wealth management opportunities, considerations and challenges. The athletes and entertainers we interviewed shared their personal stories and perspectives to highlight the need for more financial education in the sports and entertainment world. We thank them for being strong advocates of financial literacy.
Josh’s advice for entertainers
Managing your wealth responsibly preserves creative freedom. “If money is invested in a smart way, it takes the pressure off of taking the next job. It’s scary to have to take a job purely for the money. It could compromise you creatively. Trying to be creative out of fear is not good.”
Josh and his siblings enjoyed a comfortable upbringing in Providence, Rhode Island, among friends whose parents were doctors, attorneys and other professionals. His father was the president of Playskool, a division of the toymaker Hasbro. His mother was a realtor who started her own business. “We never wanted for anything, but the environment wasn’t materialistic. Rhode Island is more blue collar and less ostentatious. Affluence wasn’t necessarily prized.” Everyone’s first car was a hand-me-down that had been in the family for years. Josh’s earliest memory of money was when a local newspaper published his father’s salary because Hasbro was a public company, but he “didn’t know what it meant.”
A movie buff from an early age, Josh had his own subscription to the entertainment trade magazine Variety by the time he was 12. In high school, he wrote scripts and acted in plays. Already he felt the allure of Hollywood. He enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts to study film. Los Angeles, a mecca for the entertainment industry, was a stark contrast to his hometown. “When I got to USC, I saw a whole new level of materialism.”
For a homework assignment, Josh wrote a screenplay, Providence, based on his high school experiences. His work was awarded the school’s Jack Nicholson Scholarship for writing, but the prize was rescinded as only juniors and seniors were eligible to compete. Josh was a sophomore. The next year, Sony Pictures bought the screenplay for six figures. “It was pretty wild. The total payout would have been $1 million if a film was made.” For Josh, “getting launched as a working writer was a much bigger deal.”
An outsider in The O.C.
At 26, he became the youngest person at the time to create and run a series on network television with The O.C., a teen drama set in the wealthy enclaves of Orange County, California. The show’s protagonist, Ryan, is a juvenile delinquent from working class Chino who is taken in by an affluent Newport Beach family. In crafting the story, Josh drew inspiration from his time at USC. Like Ryan, he was an outsider to the world of Southern California’s wealthy gated communities. He found the lives of his classmates from Newport Beach to be interesting because drama and conflict brewed beneath the surface of their ostensibly perfect lives. The O.C. premiered on Fox to top ratings in the summer of 2003 and ran for four seasons.
Josh received a six-figure deal from Sony Pictures for his screenplay when he was a junior at USC. “It was pretty wild. The total payout would have been $1 million if a film was made.”
Money and creative freedom
Like many creatives and entertainers, Josh isn’t particularly financially minded. “I never took a business class in college and I wish I had. It’s like a foreign language. I don’t watch the market every day.” However, early in his career he realized that managing his wealth responsibly would preserve his creative freedom. “If money is invested in a smart way, it takes the pressure off of taking the next job. It’s scary to have to take a job purely for the money. It could compromise you creatively. Trying to be creative out of fear is not good.”
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