Chris Pratt recently opened up about his early acting days and the struggles he had keeping his earnings in his bank account. During an interview on ’s Sway In The Morning, he revealed that he blew through his first acting paycheck, a whopping $75,000 that he earned from a TV movie, in about two months. 


“I was under the impression that I would never run out of money,” he said during the interview. “The first paycheck I got, I was like ‘Are you serious?’ I had lived on very little money for a long time.”

His revelation came when he was asked about whether his humble upbringing led him to have difficulty with how to spend money. But he said it was actually the exact opposite. He revealed that he spent a lot of that money on vacations, travelling to places like Hawaii and Australia and thought about buying a yacht before he even thought about investing. As for his reasoning, Chris blamed his lack of discretion on the fact that he never received adequate education about financial literacy.

“It took a good amount of time for me to kind of stop and say, ‘All right, I gotta get wise about this. I have to think about, ‘What am I gonna do? How am I gonna get to the point to where if I stop working one day, I’ll still be okay? My family will be okay,'" he said.


We’ve heard this kind of thing from tons of celebrities before. It wasn’t all that long ago that Cardi B’s video about inflation went viral, with Lainey saying she would totally watch a show where Cardi teaches people how to budget. But even beyond Cardi B, there have been other musicians, actors, athletes, comedians and quite a few reality TV stars who have all opened up about the trouble that mismanaging money has gotten them into, and it’s led to some having to file for bankruptcy

A lot of this has to do with an inherently flawed education system. It may be easy to interpret Chris saying he never learned about this stuff as him not taking accountability. But in a case like this, particularly when what he’s saying is being echoed by so many others, a huge part of the blame does fall on the education system for not prioritizing the universally essential and very tangible skills of budgeting and money management.


When Cardi B made that video about the rise in grocery costs, it never struck me as odd for her to be discussing money. She’s been really open about where she came from, and she’s reflected a lot about how her career as an exotic dancer shaped her views about money. But for some reason, hearing Chris Pratt talk about his lack of discretion was unexpected. Why is that? 

Well, for one, privilege. In marrying Katherine Schwarzenegger, Chris became a part of the Kennedy dynasty. With the exchanging of vows, he entered into one of America’s wealthiest families. So hearing about his early-stage financial struggles, knowing that he and his wife, at least now, have untold dollars in their family reserve kind of overshadows his message given his privilege and access to wealth, even if it came by proxy.


Second, his recent shady real estate dealings make it a bit difficult to separate the message from the messenger. Last month, Chris and Katherine came under fire for demolishing a well-loved mid-century modern home to make space for a massive mansion they intend on building. 

The $12.5-million 1950 Zimmerman home, thought to be a piece of architectural history designed by architect Craig Ellwood, once stood in the prestigious Brentwood neighbourhood of Los Angeles. But after they demolished it, it’s been morphed into an unsightly construction site while work gets underway for the massive 15,000 foot home they’ve conceptualized.

According to this New York Post article, the teardown and rebuild trend is ‘dominating suburban landscapes’. So while they aren’t the only ones guilty of ripping down beautiful homes with history and charm in favor of something newer and bigger, it does impact the timing of his message and certainly the relatability of it, while relatability, more than anything, is one thing that Cardi, despite her wealth, has managed to hold onto.


With relatability in mind, it makes me think even more about what Lainey said, which is that she would watch Cardi teach people how to budget. But would she watch a show where Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger teach people how to budget? Would anyone? Because there is so much less relatability there, and in its place is privilege, nepotism, and an embarrassing amount of riches. All of this highlights the importance not only of the message, but also the messenger.

Chris, Cardi, and every other celebrity that’s ever opened up about their own personal finance struggles are all discussing a very real issue – and it’s a systemic problem where the American education system isn’t reflective of the information people actually need to know, especially as it pertains to personal finance, arguably one of the most useful skills you can leave school with, second only to reading and writing. 


It's a problem so big that back in 2022, the Council for Economic Education’s Survey of the States found that only 23 states had a mandate requiring personal finance courses for high school graduation. This year, though, 35 states now require students to take a personal finance course in order to graduate. This means over 10 million additional kindergarten through grade 12 students will gain access to this important knowledge. 

You can’t help but wonder how different things might look for the generation of high schoolers that graduated without the knowledge that is only now being prioritized for students. That kind of information is incredibly powerful and in a lot of cases, lifechanging. Having personal finance skills could single-handedly reshape someone’s entire life – be it through knowing not to make dire mistakes on tax filings, choosing the right saving and investment vehicles or not getting caught up in payday loan cycles because you know how to live within your means. 

It's always comforting to know that you’re not the only one in an unfavourable situation. So as nice as it is to hear Chris reflect on not being the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to his money, it’s important to note that his white privilege and financial privilege made the consequences of being frivolous with his spending early on in his career a lot less dire for him. His margin for error was much wider than most people’s, but that’s just not the case for everyone.