HOLLYWOOD – JUNE 23: Jay Leno arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Raptor: Born in Baja” at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre on June 23, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
Leafing through magazines it is easy to think that the rich and famous really have it made, and while some seem to be famous for nothing (looking at you Kardashians), others still live like they are working for their rent. Jay Leno has an estimated worth of $350 million and owns an extensive car collection, however still considers himself frugal stating, “I work and my money relaxes — that’s the way I look at it. I live pretty frugally.”
Jay Leno wasn’t always the funny man on your TV, and his start in LA was pretty shaky. He reveals he was actually homeless for a while and would even sneak into open houses to spend the night or ride around in cop cars for a place to sleep. He used comedy as a way to make money and quickly realized the importance of just taking the job.
He used the mentality, “If you’re any good, the money will come. Pay attention to your product. If you’re not making enough money, it’s ‘cause you’re not good enough.” This mantra drove him to success and put him in front of people that mattered
How he spends
With cash in the bank like that it makes you wonder what he is spending it on. It turns out cars. Lots and lots of cars. Leno owns an approximate 181 cars and 160 motorcycles, revealing that while he has occasionally donated a vehicle for charity purposes, he has never actually sold one.
As far as other luxuries go, Leno says he isn’t interested, “It’s obviously not clothes. I’m not an experienced person. I know I’m pretty wealthy, but I live like someone who’s on their last dime. I take nothing for granted. I don’t take vacations.”
His secret to his financial success
Saving and being smart with what you have. Yes, it is truly as simple as that. Leno says the biggest thing he has learned is knowing what you actually have and not spending what you don’t, “I never spent money before I had it. I never bought anything before I could afford it. I never bought anything on time. I don’t lease vehicles. Cash is king.”
Even when it came to making the big bucks on TV he found other ways to make cash to spend so he didn’t have to dip into his savings.” I’ve always had two jobs, and I lived on one job and banked the other. All through The Tonight Show, I never touched a dime of my TV money because TV money is fleeting money. When you’re a comedian, you can always generate income. You can always stand somewhere and tell jokes and get paid for it.”
Leno was able to learn quickly not only the importance of saving, but also that hard work does pay off as long as you live within your means.