It’s not often that a young, female star of music, movie, and television can avoid financial scrutiny. Tales of financial woe tend to be much juicier, anyway. It’s not difficult to remember the Britney Spears train wreck. She couldn’t handle earning more than $700,000 a month. At least her antics kept her in the news.
I’ve been recently enamored with Zooey Deschanel. She’s a fine actor and a fine singer; I own her three albums on vinyl — including a Christmas album, something of a stretch for me. But today I learned something that increased my respect for her: she spends responsibly. According to the financial disclosure she included when she filed for divorce last year, obtained by TMZ, she keeps her spending under control.
That’s not to say she doesn’t spend extravagantly. According to the disclosure, she pays $4,000 per month for a mortgage ($3,000 of which is interest on the loan), $1,000 per month on groceries, $1,000 on entertainment, and $2,600 on clothes including laundry. In all, Zooey spends more than $27,000 a month. That’s not exactly frugal living.
That doesn’t tell the full story. The actor also disclosed that she earns $95,000 per month. She owns her own businesses:
- Oscar Jaffe Productions, a loan-out company. This is a type of organization used in entertainment so that when a film or television producer hires an actor like Zooey, the production company pays the actor as a corporation, not as an employee. Since the actor wouldn’t be an employee, it reduces the tax liability for the company producing the show or movie (all other things being equal).
- She & Him LLC, a music licensing company. Again, with a corporation owning the licensing rights to her music, there might be some tax advantages above and beyond what might be the case if Zooey were to own the licensing rights herself.
From the earnings of these two businesses, she passes $95,000 to herself as income. All of Zooey’s expenses, including debt, add up to less than 30% of her pre-tax income. That’s not bad — but it’s not too hard to accomplish when you have $95,000 per month to work with.
Updated January 27, 2012 and originally published January 25, 2012.