Kevin Hart & Personal Finance

Reading Time: 5 minutes    

On a recent trip to the library, I decided to do something a bit different. I decided to check out an audiobook, unrelated to Personal Finance. I do this from time to time just to get a break from personal finance.

It was Mark Twain who said that “[t]oo much of anything is bad.”

So I ended up checking out I Can’t Make This Up – Life Lessons By Kevin Hart.  You may have heard of Hart, he is a widely known comedian and actor.

Surprisingly, I ended up really enjoying and learning a lot from Hart’s book. He came from humble beginnings, lived a tough early life with and is a fantastic example of a self-made millionaire, rather multi-millionaire!

And so I wanted to share some parts of the book that I remember, which means they stuck out and I enjoyed listening to them. I also think they may be relatable to the improvement of our personal finances.

Making More Right Turns

In Hart’s book, he talks about making more right turns and learning from left (wrong) turns made in life. He’s not shy about the mistakes he has made and we shouldn’t be either. Mistakes are especially worth it if we learn from them.

Personal Finance Relatability: if we make more right turns with our finances, we will put ourselves in a better position in our future. What are some right-turns we can make?

  • Establish an emergency account
  • Pay off high interest credit card debt
  • Focus on your primary career to increase income
  • Save and invest for retirement
  • Save and invest for your children’s college education
  • Save and invest for specific goals

Appreciate What You Have

In one chapter, Hart talks about how he is fed up with living with his mom. He says that she is too strict with her rules and his other friends have more freedom to come and go as they please when their homes. So Hart decides he’d rather live with his dad. So his mom drops him off at his dad’s place.

Well, his dad’s place is a mess. Hart describes it as animal-infested with food and random (supposedly family and friends lying around everywhere). He ends up sleeping (or trying to sleep) in his dad’s bathroom. After just one night, he calls his mom and says he wants to come back home.

Personal Finance Relatability:  Sometimes we may run across an investor who made a big risky bet and it paid off. Maybe we know someone who invested in Facebook back when it announced its IPO. At the time the price was ~$37 and now it’s ~170, a gain of over 436%, whereas the S&P in that same 7 year period gained 112%.

Kevin Hart & Personal Finance FB and S&P simple money man

The lesson here is to refrain from comparing yourself to others (as Hart tried to do via comparison with his friends).

Your situation and your financial goals and method to get there are different and your risk tolerance is different. FB went through several up and down dips to reach this milestone and an investor needed to be willing to stomach that level of risk to for brighter days.

For Hart’s mom, she wanted to keep him safe, since they lived in a tough neighborhood. Because of leniency, Hart’s older brother was going down the wrong path (with drug dealing and stealing) so his mom had him enlist in the Army. She did not want Hart to go down a similar path, which is why she had to enforce a firmer environment.

When You Think You’ve Got It All Figured Out

Hart thought he had it all figured out about comedy. In his book, he talked about doing local shows in Philly and one day he met a guy named Keith Robinson. He was a tough critic and Hart learned to appreciate his criticism.

Robinson said that it’s important for Hart to make trips to New York to learn more about stand-up comedy and observe comics at a larger stage. From his mentorship, Hart was able to learn how to incorporate his life stories into his comedy and essentially just talk and make things funny naturally instead of always coming up with more and more so-called obvious jokes.

Personal Finance Relatability: we can’t allow ourselves to become too comfortable in our personal finance situation. Too much comfort can hinder growth. This is super-critical when you’re investing early on. You need to periodically keep an eye on your income, spending and investments to ensure you are on track for achieving your long-term financial goals.

For example, if you just spent $5,000 from your emergency fund to replace your air conditioning unit, you may need to temporarily adjust your spending or take on a side job in order to replenish your emergency fund.

If your less than 10 years from retirement, you’ll want to take a look at your current asset allocation and rebalance to a more conservative one that protects the nest egg you’ve accumulated.

Never Stop Exploring

In Hart’s book, he mentions that comics would not always take certain gigs because they were concerned that the crowd would not be able to relate to their type of comedy.

Hart said he took every single gig that was available and wanted to be able to relate to the masses. He wanted to sell out big venues and wanted everyone to come to his shows, no matter what their race, background or political views may be.

Personal Finance Relatability: There are a variety of investment and savings options out there. There are stocks, bonds, funds, CDs, money market accounts. At some point in your life, you may have all of these. It’s important to use all the tools out there to help you achieve your financial goals.

And sometimes, it is important to leave certain tools because you become more focused on your personal finance goals.  For example, if you’ve paid off your credit card balance and continue to pay any new balances in full each period it may be worth exploring a card with a better rewards system rather than a lower interest rate. Why? Because you can pay off your charges every month and get more bang for your buck with a card that offers superior rewards.  

Many of the rich and famous come from humble beginnings. We should take their stories as lessons.

Join The Discussion:

  1. Have you read Kevin Hart’s book? What did you think?
  2. Which biographies have helped you with your personal finances or your life?
  3. Which types of celebrities provide the best influence in personal finance (actors, athletes, musicians)?

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