You Gotta Respect that Jay Leno Never Spent a Dime of His Tonight Show Earnings

You Gotta Respect that Jay Leno Never Spent a Dime of His Tonight Show Earnings

To be perfectly honest I’ve never really been a fan of Jay Leno.  Actually let me take that back.  I happened to like that 80s movie Collision Course he did with Pat Morita but that’s probably about it.  He’s definitely a bright guy, comes up with legitimate humor but I just never liked him on The Tonight Show.  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have enormous respect for the guy.  The biggest thing I respect about him?  His financial know-how.  For those of you who didn’t know this, Leno never spent one penny of his Tonight Show earnings, which peaked at nearly $30 million a year at one point.   Here’s what Leno said about it in 2016

“When I was younger, I would always save the money I made working at the car dealership and I would spend the money I made as a comedian,” he says. “When I started to get a bit famous, the money I was making as a comedian was way more than the money I was making at the car dealership, so I would bank that and spend the car dealership money.”

Leno continued relying on this strategy even after he started hosting “The Tonight Show” in 1992, even though he reportedly earned as much as $30 million a year at the height of his career.

“When I got ‘The Tonight Show,’ I always made sure I did 150 [comedy show] gigs a year so I never had to touch the principal,” Leno says. “I’ve never touched a dime of my ‘Tonight Show’ money. Ever.  So many people get to be the age I’m at now and they’ve got nothing because they just blew it all,” he says. “I put my money in a hammock and say, ‘You relax. I’m going to go work.’ And when I come back, I put some more money in the pile. It sounds ridiculous, but if everything ends tomorrow, I know I’ll be fine.”

It’s amazing how many people do the complete opposite of this and wind up in a financial jam for the majority of their lives.  Leno isn’t even touting investing or anything like that.  He’s just a habitual saver and he’ll never have a money issue for the rest of his life.   And I’ll bet you that even if he wasn’t a millionaire he’d be in the same comfortable financial spot.

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