Whoopi Goldberg: Daytime's new reigning financial guru?
The cast of MTV's Jersey Shore recently sauntered in to plug its new DVD. While her co-hosts fawned over their abs and hair, Goldberg wouldn't indulge the egos of these people who live "in the thinnest layer of celebrity" (as she has put it). Instead, she demanded to know their financial plans.
"Where are you heading? You guys are going to grow a little bit older and they're gonna look for the next youngest thing, so what's your plans?"
The kids came up empty. Finally, Mike "The Situation" said he'd become an actor, but there was no Plan B.
You can imagine what our Whoopi thought of this. "Tell me you guys have a savings plan. That you've been putting money away." The Situation said yeah, they had "a team of people that try to take care of everything for us."
Whoopi pressed on: "But are you watching? Because you know, financial advisers are wonderful if you get the right people. Sometimes people get a little...strange."
The next day, the guidos and guidettes were long gone, but Goldberg wasn't done dispensing sound money advice in their absence. The Jersey Shore kids may be new to the world of money and celebrity, she said, but "it's no excuse for bad planning." This got her revved up.
"I'm sick of seeing athletes and actors and performers and folks who get screwed because they were not smart with their money," she said. "When they're this kind of young, someone should grab 'em by the booty and say, 'Hey!'" she said.
Guest after guest, Goldberg -- who, it must be noted, won her Oscar for Ghost, that movie whose big moment was the levitation of penny -- hammers 'em over the value of a buck.
On Heidi and Spencer's habit of signing things without reading the fine print: "You better get yourself together or you're gonna be in the street!"
On the Octomom's health bills: "How did you pay for it?"
On those "freebie" giveaways that TV shows have with their audiences: "If it's over $600, you have to pay taxes." (Thanks, Whoops! You just confirmed what I reported recently in WalletPop's examination of TV show winnings.)
On teen credit: "All the stuff you wonder about: what they're doing on the computer, are you aware of where they're going, who they're hanging with. If you have all that information, sure, give them a credit card. But if you don't know, and you still can't find out, you might want to hold off on that. Because 16-year-olds are very cute with a credit card." Whoopi launched into an imitation of a free-spending teenager before concluding, "And you're paying it, not the child!"
Meanwhile, talking over all that good advice, Elisabeth Hasselbeck interrupted to suggest you might want to give your teen a credit card -- as a surveillance method to track their movements. Great. Counsel that's both financially and ethically unsound.
Having a Plan B. Reading the fine print. Planning for medical disaster. Granted, her money advice is simple, but like all good wisdom, it's clear and it's consistent, and some days, it seems like all she really gets fired up about. When it comes to spinning gold-standard financial advice out of celebrity straw, that Whoops is someone to heed. Keep it coming.