Monday, August 16, 2010

The Real Cost of Being an Actor

by Pam

According to a recent study, the number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more grew 16% in 2009 from the year before, but when you think about it, a million dollars doesn’t go very far these days. 
Some of the highest paid people are actors, but the more they make the more they pay.  Take the average television actor.  He makes a nice salary but has to pay out in lots of taxes and fees.
For all intents and purposes, and for the sake of doing some easy math, let’s say our fictitious actor makes $100,000 per television episode. A full season of TV is 22 episodes. Our actor would gross $2,200,000.  That’s a lot of money!  But why isn’t he smiling?
At that level he pays the Federal Government 35% (after his standard deduction of $5,700) in income taxes.  The majority of TV actors live in California and that income tax rate is 10.3%. He pays his agent 10% and his manager 15%. He may have a publicist on a monthly retainer and that fee averages $30,000 per year.  He pays his personal assistant about $50,000 per year.  Don’t forget he has to pay his own health insurance.  Luckily, being a SAG member gets him a group rate which could average about $15,000 per year.  He lives in a rental or a mortgaged home and that could run in the vicinity of $6,000 per month, or $72,000 per year.  If he leases an average type luxury car, that could run about $6,000 a year. Lucky for him, he doesn’t have to insure it.  When all is said and done, our actor pockets about $416,395, if I calculated correctly.  Now he needs a financial advisor/CPA to handle the money, so he never has to write a check. He retains him for about 1% of his total portfolio. Since we don’t know that, let’s calculate the 1% on what he has left, or $4,164.  Now he has to eat, clothe himself, go on vacation and indulge in a personal luxury or two.
Alright, our fictitious actor still nets more in one year than most of us will ever save up in a life time. What we think he is worth is a far cry from his actual worth, but don’t think I feel in the least bit sorry for him.  He gets a lot of free stuff just because he is who he is…and that could mean Ebay.

1 comment:

  1. Wonder how much a popular actor has to budget for to pay somebody dependable just to open and handle their post? Hope all the free gifts make up for that!