Family finance lessons: Actor and contortionist Doug Jones

The most important lessons and habits we learn about money aren't from our accountants or our radios, they come from our family. Actor Doug Jones tells us about the money tips he inherited from the people he grew up with.

Doug Jones is a very tall, very thin actor who's appeared in "Pan's Labryinth," "Hellboy," "Batman Returns" and even "Hook." Currently, he plays an alien on the science-fiction show "Falling Skies."

But you might not recognize him on the street, he's often covered up in either makeup or prosthetics.

"I'm shaped weird, which makes me an ideal pallette to build things on," Jones says.

The actor was born in 1960 and raised in the Midwest. "My household was very conservative — not only politically but also their relationship with money. They instilled in me the value of spending less than you make," says the actor.

Jones says his career choice makes that strategy difficult proposition.

"Acting is the most stupid profession to get into if you want something safe and solid. Every job I get is going to come to an end. And will I ever get another one? I don't know."

The actor and his wife live in a modest house in Santa Clarita, Calif. Prior to that, they lived in a condo that he paid off in one big lump after Jones landed a movie gig. "I got advice from [all] kinds of people, 'Do not pay your house off!'" he says, but he decided that rather than investing the extra money, he wanted the piece of mind knowing that no one could ever take his house away.

"People tend to spend based on what they think they're be making in the next year, and I've done the opposite. Wealth is not measured by how much money you earn but by how much you actually hang onto."


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation