Financial Analyst Jean Chatzky Dissects the Financial Woes of Annie Leibovitz

Editor’s note: An award-winning journalist, author and motivational speaker, Jean Chatzky needs no introduction. As a financial editor for NBC’s “Today Show,” Chatzky offers savvy advice on managing money and wealth. Her latest book, The Difference, provides simple strategies for a prosperous financial future. Visit her blog at

I’m sure you’ve read this news. Over the past weekend it was everywhere including in the Style section of The New York Times. Annie Leibovitz, photographer extraordinaire, she of the naked John and Yoko shot, of the pregnant Demi Moore shot, is in rough financial waters.

Why does this interest me? So many celebs of late have hit the financial skids — Lindsay Lohan, Lenny Dykstra, Stephen Baldwin — it reminds me of a finding in The Difference. When I looked at factors that held people back from financial success, stubbornness was one. That is not difficult to understand. If stubbornness defines you, then you’re not likely to conform to whatever task the man (or woman or corporation) asks you to take on.

The other, however, was more surprising, and it seems to apply in this case: creativity. People who defined themselves as completely creative — not just very creative, or somewhat creative — but completely creative, were not likely to attain great wealth. Why is that?

David T. Robinson, finance scholar at Duke University, and I mulled the research, and here’s where we came out. Sometimes very creative people seem to feel they are above all that; above all the minutia of bill paying and record keeping; above the tedious tasks like checkbook balancing that are necessary to get through life with one’s credit score intact. They — not all but some of them — think they should be given a free pass as if they’ve given their art to the world and the world should be grateful and not bug them about the little things.

We’ve all known people like this — creative types, who don’t get as far in life as perhaps we thought they would because they won’t deign to do the dues — paying and sucking up — that the rest of us did in our 20s and 30s. I’m not suggesting Annie (or Lindsay or any of the other truly talented individuals on the list of the financially fallen) do that. I’m merely suggesting they recognize that getting by financially is an item on the checklist of life in this day and age. And if they want to be able to continue to create, it might be a good idea to hire someone to handle the mundanity of it all.

Personally, I know a few people who would jump at that kind of a job.

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