Breaking the last taboo: Celebs talking money…

In the Money Diet I write about the fact that “talking about money is the last taboo.” Many will happily reveal their sex lives, embarrassing ailments and more on the TV, but talking about personal and consumer issues still seems to be a no-go zone.

It’s for this reason I wanted the ‘Celeb what’s in your wallet’ section on It Pays To Watch. Having the famous talk about whether they bother saving cash, check out better deals, or even understand their debts, should help normalize it as a topic of conversation for everyone. Hearing MP Lembit Opik talk about his brush with bankruptcy, and Paul Daniels on his “I save 10% of everything, always have” budgeting theory are all a small step towards breaking the money talk taboo.

It’s also worth remembering not all celebrities earn big bucks. It’s commonly assumed that if someone is on TV their home must glint with gold. Yet it doesn’t work like that. Of course, the bigger your name the more you earn, yet I know a good few folks I know who appear on the box and earn under £20,000 a year, and a tranche at under £30,000. Whilst this is far from a poverty wage, it certainly doesn’t buy the glamourous lifestyle people assume celebs lead (I can’t count the number of times I’ve witnessed people going up to them saying “you’re on the telly, you’re loaded, buy us all a drink” when they’re out for the night – when I know they’ve got the same problems as everyone else).

Of course, once you get in the ‘celeb’ category, it’s likely you’re earning more, yet again the salaries aren’t necessarily that high. And even if they are, the fact celebs may instinctively react with a “pah, £500 saved, what difference does it make?” is instructive in itself. As frankly, anyone blasé with wasting money will probably never be super-rich. Would Alan Sugar say that?

This week it’s athlete Iwan Thomas, the UK 400m record holder. Athletics is a relatively underfunded sport, so it’ll be interesting to see his attitude compared to, for example, his superfunded footballing colleagues.

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