An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

What Ryan Seacrest Can Teach Us About Personal Finance

ryan seacrest

American Idol

Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve

American Top 40 Radio

Keepin’ up with the Kardashians

Denise Richards: It’s Complicated

E! News

What is the one thing that all of the above have in common?

Ryan Seacrest

The one man media mogul has quickly become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and, like him or not, he will be even more involved in your life in 2012.

Seacrest has pending deals with Comcast and Clear Channel to develop his own cable network. He has already formed the Ryan Seacrest Production Company. He is finishing up a deal to begin his own music production company so he will own the rights to all of the music played in his media empire. He even plans to develop more reality tv shows like the Kardashians and Denise Richards….(yes, I can hear you all let out a big exhale on that one…)

Point is, the man is involved in every major media outlet in this country, and he is still on the move.

How in the World does this Relate to Personal Finance??

Believe me, I understand. It sounds crazy. How can an uber-rich hollywood media mogul teach us anything about our personal finances?


He sets goals, and he works hard to obtain those goals.

Mastering our personal finances means setting goals for ourselves. Your goal may be to pay off your credit card. It might be to save for a down payment on a house. It may be to pay off all non-mortgage debts in the next 18 months. Whatever your goal is, it will take hard work to get there.

I don’t personally watch this show, but I imagine Ryan Seacrest set a goal of developing “Keeping up with the Kardashians” well before it rolled out onto VH1. I also imagine that he did not simply come up with the idea and then wait for it to happen. He planned, he organized, he managed, he negotiated, he solved problems, and he worked his butt off.

Reaching our personal finance goals takes the same level of intensity. If you have the goal of paying off your mortgage in 10 years you won’t ever accomplish that if you simply set the goal and then walk away. You need to put actionable steps into play to help you reach your goal.

Hard work and persistence yield impressive results when combined with strategic goal setting!

Seacrest is Diversified

If Ryan Seacrest was booted from American Idol, he would lose roughly $15 Million per year in income. That is a crazy amount of money!

However, that income is only 27% of his total income from 2011. 

Please let that sink in.

Seacrest has diversified his income streams so well that he can stand to lose more money than most of us will ever make in our lives and he will only lose a little over 1/4 of his annual income. 


I firmly believe that diversification is the key to financial success. You can easily diversify your income streams by having more than one. This might mean taking a part-time job. It might mean starting a side business. It might mean developing various side hustles that each bring in a small amount of money per month.

The goal is to protect yourself from relying on one lone income source for your livelihood.

You cannot predict the future, and you have no idea how secure that one income source is. If the past 5 years have taught us anything, they have taught us that the economy and our jobs are not near as safe and stable as we thought they were!

We can also diversify our investments and our savings. Low cost index funds are one of the best ways to diversify your investments. Index funds invest in a broad index, or family, of funds so your investment performance is not based on the growth or decline of one stock.

Protecting your income and your savings from being stripped away in a flash should be the cornerstone of your financial plan. 

I’m not suggesting we all run out, gel our hair and buy a tailored suit with a black skinny tie to imitate Ryan Seacrest.

What I am suggesting is that we take a closer look at his path to success and emulate those same principles in our own lives!

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  1. The multiple income streams appeals to me and that is exactly what I am working on for now and in retirement.

  2. He diversifies. Smart man plus Seacrest also has a team.

    • @Jai — This is very true. He certainly does have an entire team that works for him and are on his payroll. The concepts still hold true however!

  3. He has such a pretty boy face!

    That is amazing that American Idol accounts for such a small percentage of his income.

    We have diversified with my blogging income, investing, and having two adults working in the household. Still, some sort of passive income would be pretty cool to add into the mix.

    • @Amanda — Haha! I’m not qualified to comment on his pretty face, but I can certainly appreciate the empire he has created. Sounds like you have a solid game plan for your multiple income streams!

  4. Even though, as Joel McHale says, Ryan Seacrest is only 4’11 and lives in a mushroom, that dude is sharp. He works harder than anybody in the industry. You can generally find success when you push that hard at something.

    • That is awesome! I love it. But you are exactly right. Success comes to those who hustle!

  5. You have done a great job of highlighting those things that we all need to do to improve our financial conditions. I am working on diversifying my income right now. Most comes from work, but someday that will be changing.

    • @Cash Flow – I think you are well on your way to diversifying! I seem to see you pop up everywhere, so I know you are on the right track!

  6. Interesting!!! I always thought that he only presented these programs. Never realized that it is such a business man. This is real entrepreneurship.

    • @Van Beek — You’re right. He is certainly a great example of an entrepreneur!

  7. Damn, I knew the man was well off, but wow. I’d love to have his ban balance.
    Setting goals to work towards definitely helps. I’ve just started the goal setting journey myself. It’s pretty cool to be able to tick off the little achievements along the way. Knowing that there is a bigger picture to all the hard work. It definitely helps to have a team of people around you.
    A few of my friends and I have started a success club. We meet once a fortnight and set personal goals and then help each other stay accountable. It’s awesome, and it’s free.

    • @rene — A success club. Intriguing idea. I’d love to hear more about this.

      • It’s really quite awesome, we’re all goal driven people. We’ve capped the number of members at 4 (or else the meetings go on forever)
        We all have to do our homework before the meeting, knowing what goals we want to achieve. (we set goals in 12 week cycles)
        And then together we brainstorm different approaches and perspectives on each persons goals.
        We also have a buddy checkup call each fortnight,.
        It’s a one way call and it’s just a quick how are you going with your goals, any stumbling blocks?
        We coach each other and kick each other up the butt if necessary.
        You really should try it.

        • @Rene — That really is a great idea. Having someone to be accountable too in your business makes a huge impact on your overall success. It’s easy to let it slide when you are the only one that will know, but it is a whole new level when you throw in a success partner. I hope it goes well for you!

  8. Love this – I work part-time for an organization that does data analysis for Seacrest’s media ventures, and I couldn’t agree with your arguments more. His diversification is key – it ensures that if one project sours, he had more options on which to fall back.

    • @Elizabeth — data analysis for Seacrest’s media ventures…that sounds like it would be a fascinating job.


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