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Do TV characters share your money problems?

Tracy Jordan of 30 Rock
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30 Rock

Character: Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan)

Tracy Jordan is an eccentric late-night TV star with more money than he knows what to do with. He has no sense of how much money he has or how it's invested, but often has a Midas touch when he gets involved with crazy schemes or investments.

Even with all this money, Tracy hasn't really taken into consideration his family or his health. He has poor health, which is exacerbated by a bad diet.

Key issues

5 steps

  • Overspending.
  • Hiring a financial adviser.
  • Finding balance between speculative and conservative investments.
  • Health care costs.
  • Hire a financial adviser.
  • Planning.
  • Budgeting.
  • Insurance.
  • Estate planning.

Advised by: Kelly Campbell, Certified Financial Planner and founder of Campbell Wealth Management in Fairfax, Va.

Hire a financial adviser

Bigger money means bigger toys. A theme with working with someone like Tracy Jordan would be limits and discipline. He's probably never had any limits and discipline -- but now is better than never.

One of the things he should do is hire a financial adviser, but it can't be a financial adviser who doesn't have a backbone. It needs to be someone who he's going to work well with and who will challenge him to hit goals.

He needs someone who knows his stuff from a financial standpoint, but also someone who is experienced in working with people who have way more money than they'll ever need and have no clue how to use it. The adviser will also need to have the patience to deal with someone who is going to be calling at 2 a.m. asking for more money.


Planning is putting things on paper. Not on a napkin at lunch but on actual paper, something he and his adviser can refer back to see how they're doing.

It's also about knowing what kind of distractions will come up and how to handle those distractions.

The plan will determine what kind of portfolio to put together. One of the things we might say for Tracy Jordan is that he should only put 10 percent toward speculative investments and then specify what level or degree of speculation.

I wouldn't want to put too many limitations on him and I would want to make it very easy to understand because if it's too hard, he's not going to do it.


Budgeting is about being able to pay yourself first. Not pay yourself a salary and then spend it, but pay yourself the money you're saving for your future. You can make some pretty big mistakes that cost a lot.

So Tracy needs to pocket some money, putting it away for the intermediate and long term, maybe as a plan for "What if I run out of money?"

But that doesn't mean he can't buy what he wants. You can budget for solid gold sneakers, but you need to have a limit, maybe only one pair per year.


Tracy will want to make sure that he has the money to pay for any health issues and that he's providing for his kids. The first step is making sure his insurances are up to date: health insurance and life insurance.

He's probably not going to get healthier. But he may want to come up with a rainy day health fund. If his insurance reaches a ceiling and they won't pay anymore, then he has that extra money.

Estate planning

There are three issues with the kids.

He needs to know who his heirs will be so he can put money into a trust to take care of them so there won't be a big dispute. A trust also is private, not a matter of public record like a will. In the trust, I would probably put some limits on what the kids get while he's living but also after Tracy has died.

Tracy will also want to plan for estate taxes. The estate tax ends up being close to 50 percent of what you have. But he could get insurance to pay the estate taxes. A lot of times it's easier to buy a life insurance policy that will pay for the taxes because you pay pennies on the dollar.


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