smart spending

Fame & Fortune: Andy Williams

Bankrate: Were you prepared to handle the success of "The Andy Williams Show"?

Williams: Most people, when they get a break, sometimes they're not ready for it. When I got mine, I was ready for it. I had worked a lot, with my brothers and then Steve Allen. All of those things helped make me a better performer.

Bankrate: How did you invest your money?

Williams: My dad was a very bright guy; he was in real estate and insurance, but he also read up a lot on tax laws. He invested for me in a lot of citrus groves, and all of that came to be very good stuff.

Bankrate: You could have continued as the king of Las Vegas or the toast of New York, but you decided to establish a theater in tiny Branson, Mo. Why?

Williams: I was ready to be off the radar. I was on the road all the time in Asia, Japan and Australia and all through the U.K., over and over and over again for 10 years and I was really fed up. About that time, my brother Don was managing some country acts, including Ray Stevens. He invited me down to Branson and I liked what I saw. I would be the only pop singer in a country town. So I built a theater and it's been wonderful having everything just the way I want it: the lights, the sound, the band. There are no surprises. It's like walking out into your living room -- a big living room with 2,000 seats. You never have that out on the road.

Bankrate: What advice would you give young musicians starting out today?

Williams: It's very difficult for young people to suddenly get some money and then not spend it. It's good to spend it, but you shouldn't spend all of it. Always put some away, whether it's $10 or $100 or $1,000, so that when things aren't going so well you have something to fall back on.

But don't focus on the money. Try to be the best at whatever you're trying to be and everything will work out. If you really want something badly enough, don't give up too easily. That's my sermon for today.

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