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Britney Spears: Doing Nothing With a Six-Figure Monthly Income

This article was written by in Frugality. 22 comments.


Here’s a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you’re a single mother with two children to support. Let’s also say, for the sake of argument, that thanks to royalties and such you earn $737,000. That is $737,000 a month. Even if you’re a big spender, surely close to $9,000,000 a year, and the income generated from investments of that money, will allow for a solid future for yourself and your kids.

Not if you’re Britney Spears, according to court papers reviewed by CNN. The former pop princess doesn’t save or invest any of her income. Is she financially reckless? Or does she simply believe that this income will always be present?

Britney SpearsBritney’s spending habits certainly paint a picture.

Spears’ monthly expenses include $49,267 in mortgage for two houses, $16,000 for clothes and $102,000 on entertainment, gifts and vacation, according to her financial declaration… Spears declares she spends about $4,758 per month dining out. Meanwhile, she spends zero on education, savings and investments and gives $500 a month in charitable contributions, the documents said. She has to pay her ex-husband $15,000 per month in child support and $20,000 in spousal support.

It seems to me, and it’s no surprise, Spears has income to spare. Think of the possibilities of a $9 million income, a good portion of which possibly guaranteed for the rest of one’s life, for someone who handles their finances with sanity. I dream of starting a foundation. I could do that and have a nice house and provide every conceivable opportunity for my theoretical future children for the amount of money this particular has-been wastes every month.

Thanks to Advanced Personal Finance for pointing out the article.

Updated January 24, 2012 and originally published November 6, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Derek

Wow, I am having a hard time even wrapping my head around the idea of making $737,000 per year let alone per month.

I wonder if having that much excess income could alter even those with financial sanity to some degree. I like to think that I am financially responsible and feel that I am doing fairly well to support the efforts that are important to me on my current salary.

It would be interesting to see how other people earning millions per year spend their money. It is easy to be critical of Britney but what are some of these athletes doing with their $10-50 million per year?

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avatar Chris

I think its ridiculous that anyone making $700k a month would have a mortgage.

On that matter, $15k on child support and $20k on spousal support…per month, is just insane. Child support should be for supporting their basic needs – food, clothes, etc. Spousal support is ridiculous – the guy obviously has the ability to make money, but wastes it (gross income of 7k on a 500k income – you’ve got to be kidding!).

The lesson here? Entertainers are WAY overpaid.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

The lesson here? Entertainers are WAY overpaid.

Careful not to be too hasty with this judgment. Pop superstars (like sports superstars) are certainly overpaid by these standards, but the vast majority of talented entertainers are just normal folks making a living, some struggling to do so. Sensations like Britney Spears are rare (but they get the most amount of press, obviously).

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avatar Colin

As far as the population of famous actors/musicians/athletes are concerned, I’m sure it is similar to the “normal” population in that some are savers and some are spenders. We’ll see how Britney is doing in 20-30 years.

On that note I’ve heard that LeBron James is a big fan of Warren Buffet and has a goal of becoming the first athlete billionaire via investing and saving.

http://www.moneycomplex.com/?p=74

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avatar Mrs. Micah

It almost makes me glad to be paid less since I’m actually engaged with my money. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up better off than she will (and I already have a much better quality of life–IMO).

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avatar Brian

Nice post, although I must admit I wasn’t EVER expecting your site to have an article tagged “britney spears”.

While Ms. Spears is definitely to blame, I also blame financial advisers for not being able to land this whale! You could make a great pitch, make safe investments with her money, and take a $500k/year salary and she wouldn’t bat an eye. I don’t think anyone consciously thinks “I don’t need to save!” and if a qualified person could convince her it would take 0% of her time without greatly influencing her spending, I think you’d be golden.

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avatar Matt Wolfe

Colin beat me to the comment that I wanted to make. Lebron James claims his heroes are people like Warren Buffet. He’s really careful with his money. Proof that all celebrities aren’t as much of a reckless joke as Brittney Spears.

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avatar Danny Tsang

I saw this article and I thought to myself, this is a great example of lifestyle inflation to the extreme. It goes to show that making money does not solve anything. Financial literacy, which leads to keeping and growing your money is what’s important. I wouldn’t say celebrities are overpaid as there is a reason they get paid so much and not everyone can do it. Look at some stars who go out and re-invest, start businesses and become moguls. The Olsen twins are an example of that. Granted it could just be the advisers around them who are building their wealth.

I think I heard that Lebron met with Warren Buffet and they had a meeting about growing his wealth. I guess at every level of income, there is a relative level of frugality and financial responsibility. I would even dare say that some stars who spend $1M a year are actually being frugal, compared to others who make the same amount of money.

Unfortunately Britney might end up in a situation like Michael Jackson, where the money is getting dry..

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avatar Bobby

Now, now Flexo. She isn’t a HAS-BEEN yet…otherwise she wouldn’t be pulling down $700K a month. Give her some time. But this is mind-boggling.

By the way, I am not sure if it is my browser settings, but I could not see the anti-spam word window, so I had to listen to the file. (update: now I see the word…weird.)

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avatar Amanda

What a moron. Ok, maybe thats harsh. My life certainly hasn’t been the model of financial responsibility. But wow, that is extreme. Hopefully this going public will be a wake up call. If she continues to handle her money the way that she handled her children it won’t be long before there’s nothing left at all. Its sad that our society idolizes someone with so little intelligence and integrity.

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avatar GeekMan

Flexo,

Let’s not be too hasty here. I’ve been reading all over the blogosphere about this today and everyone seems to be jumping to very hasty conclusions. Now, I’m no fan of Ms. Spears, but basing our assumptions on here REAL savings based on court papers filed during a custody/divorce case seems a bit one-sided of everyone. Keep in mind that it behooves Ms. Spears to grossly underestimate here real net worth during those proceedings and to downplay any savings and investments she might have in order to reduce the amount she’d need to pay for childcare and “spousal support”. Plus, anyone earning the kind of money she does would by necessity have to retain the services of some smart accountants who would be able to prove that she “spends” a lot of money in order to write off as much as possible for taxes at the end of the year. Lastly, her monthly income is based on her current working income PLUS investment income. She is already worth over $100 million due to previous and ongoing investments, so if you believe she hasn’t already provided for her, and her children’s, futures you are most likely mistaken.

Granted, spending money like she does is asinine and without merit. The most glaring piece of information being that she only donates $500 a month to charity. But then again, if you had the kind of money she does and knew that you would most likely never need to work again for as long as you lived, why wouldn’t you enjoy spending some? Anyone want to guess what Bill Gates spends a month?

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avatar Meg

Not that I’m a Britney Spears fan, per se, but I feel the need to defend her here.

First off, she does have a team of financial advisors that she mentioned in a recent interview.

Secondly, I’m sure they’re working overtime to hide her income and assets from her ex-husband.

Third, a huge portion of that income goes to taxes, her agents, her security, her attorneys, her stylist (who needs to be fired), her managers, her assistants, her maids, et. al.

Fourth, for better or worse, she has many streams of passive income that will likely be there long after she dies no matter WHAT she does. Sure, she could be a billionaire or incredible philanthropist if she tried, but she’s not exactly being financially reckless–emotionally and mentally and physically reckless perhaps, but her finances are pretty strong.

Fifth, she’s actually still working, and her new album is selling well. Plus she has a lot of untapped income opportunities.

Sixth, she’s really freaking young! She’ll probably wake up one day and quit spending quite so much money, start investing, start giving it to charity–if nothing else out of boredom.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

Meg & GeekMan: I hope for Britney’s sake, you guys are right. I suppose the intent in her papers is to show as little wealth as possible to reduce her required payments to her ex-husband. It’s hard to know what really goes on — as spectators we only see what the media show us. It doesn’t look like her kids are being put in a position where they will be well cared and set for the rest of their lives without any need unprovided, but who really knows.

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avatar Jeremy

I think the people coming down so hard on her need to ask themselves: how financially responsible were YOU when you were 25 years old?

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avatar Kris

I’m going to with Meg here. Brit’s not investing wisely, but both she and her boys will be receiving royalites for the next hundred years. Even if all her other income dried up, this would support her handsomely.

It’s the same reason Michael Jackson will never go broke, despite reports of his overspending. Besides the rights to his own music, Jacko owns the entire Beatles catalog. (He outbid McCartney for it in 1984.) He will never, ever live poorly, since he’ll always collect residuals.

Still, Brit could be contributing a bit more. To charity and society as a whole, I mean.

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avatar sliput

um….does anyone own a calculator? bc though she may not list savings on the form…her expenses that are listed only add up to $312 a month…so though she isn’t “investing” she does have a suplus of like $450K a month…

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

sliput: the point we’re trying to make is that Brit is not using her income “wisely,” at least according to the court papers. Is she spending less than she’s earning? Maybe… Does she need to use her money “wisely?” No, she has a lot of room to wiggle. Could she give her kids better opportunities and really take care of them if she chooses to? Yes. Could she give back more to the world that has given her so much, whether deserved or not? Yes.

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avatar Adam

While this spending is totally insane, there is one aspect that I want to mention.

Do I think the amount of money that “pop” superstars make is outrageous? Yes…

BUT, it is not “excessive.” Why? Because we live in a free-market economy. Athletes and stars like Spears and movie stars make that much money because they CAN.

I’m not saying I agree with it, but that’s a part of our economy. Our focus should be on her–and our–spending if we are broke all the time.

I may never make $700K/month, but I have the POTENTIAL to make whatever I can in our society.

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avatar tara white

Be careful what you wish for- cause you just might get it all, and then some you didn’t want.

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avatar Jane

I don’t even understand why you care so much about what she does with her money she works for it so who cares for real!? Sorry but if you care how
Much someone is making or what there spending there money on you really have no life, you should be worrying about yourself lol wow…

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avatar change

You didn’t account for all the money,so she must be doing something with it?
She must be saving at least half her income per month which is far more than most who are closer to zero in savings if not in the negative.
She has no aspirations for risky investments with her hard-earned money because she is already rich!
People like her figure they will always be rich so they don’t save for the future- but she is regardless.

People taking unnecessary “risks” with their money can also wind up with zero!

Btw, to Flexo, how exactly can she give her children “better opportunities”? She is already giving them what both parents feel is fit. Rich is rich, whether 50 or 100 million… not much of a difference between the opps both can afford and it doesn’t change character or personality-driven efforts on raising a child.

Many of you I bet save a lot less than this girl does per month percentage-wise and possibly are in debt up to your eyeballs. The whole point is to not spend more than what you make. If anyone was making 7 million a year, obviously their expenses and lifestyle would be much more expensive than yours.

Another thing many are not accounting for are the taxes on that monthly income, unless it is the net. If so, she needs to tread cautiously.

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avatar daniela

First of all, theres no way shes sending so much money on entertainment and clothing . If u guys ever watched Interviews..she said she doesnt liek spending a lot of money on clothing. MAybe that was during her time afer the break up hen she went shopping 24 /7 but she doesnt do that now.
SHe also doesnt go on vaction so much so that doesnt seem right either.
Its made up so she doesnt have to give too much money to Kevin who anyway got too much,
and 20000 $ child support is ridiculous.
I guess she spends most money on her assistant and bodyguards etc , she always has a group of ppl around her, ppl that hold her umbrella(!!!) etc u gotta pay those ppl.
and her mother hasnt worked in years which probably means britney send her a lot of money, cos her mom has a lavish lifestyle.
And jamielynn and her daughter were with her the entire femme fatale tour some one had to pay for their tickets/hotelrooms etc. Im sure jamie didnt do that herself.

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