By the age of 12, Brooke Shields had already been working as a child model and an actress for years. Then, she gained critical acclaim for her role in the movie “Pretty Baby.”
She went on to act and model throughout her teenage years, and during all of this time, her mother was managing her finances. And while this probably isn’t a decision Shields would stick with if she had to do it over again, she definitely learned a lot very quickly.
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“When I was 20 years into my career, I had made and lost everything twice,” Shields told Know Your Value. “My mom's perspective was, if I did a movie, we could buy a house, or if I did a job, we could get a car. Her financial philosophy was [that] we work to live for the now, not for the future.”
This financial philosophy forced Shields to sell off everything in order to make ends meet. “At one point, we were incredibly cash poor but had all these properties everywhere,” said Shields.
Instead of letting it defeat her, Shields took this financial loss as an opportunity to learn and change going forward. When she was able to take over her own finances, she knew it was worth it to seek out help from professionals.
“I asked questions, sought advice from experts and had conversations with my mom about our finances,” says Shields. “Knowledge is everything. There is power in asking for help and a huge amount of strength in saying ‘I need guidance.’”
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Shields now understands that asking for help is part of fully knowing her own value. Now that she has two daughters of her own, Shields' past experiences have left her intent on teaching them how important it is to manage their finances just as they would any other aspect of their lives. Shields says that helping them fully understand their finances is one way that she’s giving them knowledge, control and power.
“Since this wasn’t something I learned growing up, I am trying to change this for my daughters by teaching them respect for money earned and not wasted,” says Shields. “It’s also really important for kids, especially girls, to believe that they can be financially independent. In my family, I make sure my daughters know that both mom and dad contribute to the household.”
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Shields is now intent on preparing for the unexpected, which is why she’s partnered with Life Happens, a non-profit that helps educate people about the importance of life insurance and financial planning resources. She explains that life insurance helps her know that she’s “not going to be the demise of anybody else.”
During the COVID-19 quarantine, Shields has found it more important than ever to stay on top of not only her finances, but her health in general. She underwent knee surgery in 2018, which forced her to adopt lifestyle changes, including becoming more physically active. This made her acutely aware of the importance of staying active, even when stuck at home.
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“During quarantine, I started sharing my workouts on my Instagram,” says Shields. “For exercise, I focus on low-impact activities that target different muscle groups. I constantly change my workouts, which means that one day I may target my abs, and the next day I will target my legs or arms.”
Through all of her past experiences, Shields has learned the importance of being prepared for the unexpected — and as the country faces continued quarantine, work-from-home orders and record job losses — this is more important than ever.
“My best advice is to remember to keep rising above whatever challenges you face in order to persevere,” says Shields. “It’s about doing the best you can and being really honest with yourself physically, financially and emotionally. You need to confront your truth — whether it’s about your fitness or finances. Don’t wait for someone else to fix it for you.”