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May 13, 2017

Philly native Kevin Bacon on why he, and other creatives, struggle with managing money

The actor’s childhood cash issues persist today

Despite a long career as an urban planner and architect in Philadelphia, Edmund Bacon -- father of actor and Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon -- never thought about having money for his retirement until he had already stopped working.

In an essay for investing service Wealthsimple, Kevin Bacon admits that his family was never particularly responsible financially; there was enough money to put food on the table, but his parents never sat down with him or his five siblings to discuss how to plan with money in the long term.

“My dad was a pretty old guy, and after he retired, I remember him trying to figure out how to make money,” Bacon said. “He hadn’t planned for retirement. So, without much guidance, it took me a long time to come around to the idea that you have to have a kind of responsibility with money, to keep an eye on it. To a certain extent, I still kind of struggle with it.”

Even now with an acting career and Apple Music gig under his belt, Bacon said the hesitance to monitor and manage money as a creative person doesn’t go away.

“If you’re a creative person who doesn’t understand money easily, you may not want to admit how essential it is,” he said. “But ultimately if you stick your head in the sand, you’ll be sorry.”

Bacon also reminisced on some of his early pre-acting jobs, like working at a textbook warehouse as a teen before moving to New York and waiting tables.

“I was a cash-only kind of guy,” Bacon said of those days. “I’d get paid out at the end of the night, spend some of it at the bar, wake up the next day, and check my pockets to see how much money I had left. There was never a budget or any kind of longer-term financial plan. I’d make money, spend it, pay rent, spend more money, and hope that when the end of the month came around, I’d have enough to put up another month’s rent.”

Today Bacon still likes to carry cash in his pockets, even if his expenses are now a bit more than closing up a bar tab at the end of the night.

Bacon’s essay is part of a larger collection of stories from Wealthsimple, “Money Diaries,” which details the role money has played in the lives of different public figures. Other essays include profiles of Jon Hamm, Spike Lee and Main Line native Abbi Jacobson.