Tag Archives: wealth

Why is George Clooney so rich?

We are all familiar with all the advice on how to get rich. However here I analyse George Clooney’s wealth and provide a possible reason for his wealth.

George Clooney apparently earns $15m per film

Assume Clooney appears for 60 minutes of a 90 minute film

That works out at $250,000 per minute on screen.

George likes coffee, in my local supermarket Lavazza beans are $30 for a 2.2Ib bag.

So if he visits my supermarket can he buy coffee faster than he earns money?

The self-serve barcode swipe machine in my local store will process 9 items a minute (thanks to help checkout guy in my local store!).

The guy on the checkout tells me he can swipe up to 20 items a minute.


So if George Clooney goes mad and does it himself he could spend $270 in a minute on coffee, or $600 if he gets the checkout guy to do it. (and that is without waiting to pay or swiping his loyalty card for air-miles (remember Up in the Air?).

This leaves George with a net profit of at least $249,400 per minute.  So this isn’t going to work.

So George likes TV (he was on it for much of the 1990s), so what if he pops down to my local electrical retailer, and spends up big on Sony 55 inch 3-D LCD TV screens priced at $3300?

Now lets assume these items are stacked right next to the checkout (to save time hauling them through the store) and the swiping rate is also no more than 20 per minute.

Now he can spend $66,000 per minute.   This still leaves him with a profit of $184,000 per minute.


Clearly consumer goods is not the way to go.

So maybe cars or houses are the go. The trouble is, with all the paper work, he couldn’t buy one in a minute.

Ebay auctions are out because they last at least 5 days.

So what if George has some help?  Lets go back to that TV retailer. Now suppose we have  his old friends from ER helping him Anthony Edwards (Dr. Mark Greene)  Sherry Stringfield (Dr. Susan Lewis) and Noah Wylie (Med Student) helping him by also swiping 20 TVs a minute. That’s 80 TVs a minute.

Now we have 4 x $66,000 = $264,000 per minute which exceeds his income.

So here could be a recipe for bankruptcy for George. Would George Clooney be so rich after that?

BUT each TV box is about 60 x 32 x 5 inches and weighs 70lbs and they dont come from nowhere. Somebody has to freight them to the store. Each semi trailer has 40,000lbs cargo capacity. So there are 570 TVs in each load.

So George and ER friends would go through a semi-trailer every 7 minutes. Is that why George Clooney is so rich?

Now allowing for backing out the empty semi-trailer from the loading bay and manoeuvring the waiting full semi into the bay, and allowing for a team of loaders to offload the TVs, even if they were throwing them off the truck, onto forklifts taking 10 TVs at a time, each trip will take at least 30 seconds to get it from the truck to the check out – that is about 30 minutes per load!

But George’s team are buying ‘em at a rate of 7 mins per truckload!!!

So, in the best case scenario the store has 570 TVs stocked by the checkout, with a full semi-trailer to go. Let’s suppose they start offloading the TVs once George’s team starting their purchasing.

In the first minute the team purchase 80 TVs.

In that time the stockers, re-stock at a rate of 10 TVs every 30 seconds.  That is 60 a minute, or a net shortfall of 20 TVs a minute!

So I calculate that after only 30 minutes of this madness, George would be the proud owner of 1590 Sony TVs, and be owed 40 the store couldn’t stock in time and in the process would still be over $10 million richer.

And that is why George Clooney is so rich.

what am I worth?

Last year Tom Cruise was told by Paramount that his salary expectations were too high. It seems that when it comes to salary expectations, there appears to be a large gap between our perceptions of what we are worth and the realities. Part of the problem is that most of us think everyone else is getting more than us. For instance what proportion of Australians as a whole earn over $104,000 a year and what proportion of Australian managers earn over $104,000 a year? More of that later, but first it is worth asking how do we form expectations about salaries? What is a normal or fair salary for a days work?

Scott Highhouse, Margaret Brooks-Laber, Lilly Lin and Christiance Sptizmueller from Bowling Green State University* argue that it is easy to manipulate perceptions of fairness. For instance suppose you are offered an entry-level job with a starting salary of $62,000 and you are very content. Now suppose you receive a salary survey from a researcher investigating starting salaries who asks you to nominate which category your salary falls into: a) $64,000 or below; b) $65,000 – $74,000; c) $75,000-$84,000; d) $85,000-$94,000; e) $95,000 or above. You are no longer such a happy bunny because there are four response categories above your salary. However had the list of options been changed to provide lots options below your salary such as a) $46,000-$50,000; b) $51,000-$55,000; c) $56,000-$60,000; d) $61,000-$65,000 and e) $66,000 or over, you are likely to feel a lot happier about your salary. The reseachers found if you provide lots of options falling above the target figure, starting salary expectations rose by $3600.

Notice this has nothing to do with individual competence, the job itself, market forces or any other external feature of the work environment. It is simply a matter of perception. If you think many people are earning in a higher bracket than you, you will be less satisfied with what you get and will expect to be paid a higher salary.

It is gets even more complicated because our age, gender and ethnicity have all repeatedly been shown to influence our expectations of our worth. Generally the findings suggest that females and ethnic minorities have lower salary expectations. The point is, rightly or wrongly, salary expectations often heavily influence career choices, and yet it turns out that our expectations are highly subjective and easily open to manipulation.

We are bombarded with television and movie characters who have extravagant lifestyles that manipulate our sense of a normal pay packet. The net result of exposure to these characters is the same as being exposed to a salary survey where your pay appears on the bottom rung – everyone in the movies seems to earn more than us! We see so much focus on the salaries in the big end of town that the effect seems to be a shifting upwards in what we think we are worth.

I am in no way defending fat cats, or suggesting we settle for second best, however there is a large gap between perceptions of what others earn and the realities. The report entitled Employee Earnings and Hours was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week and it provides a fascinating insight into what employees in Australia are really paid, and the figures may surprise you. In case you are wondering, based on the most recently released ABS statistics, only 3.3% of all employed Australians, and only 15.8% of managers earn over $104,000 a year. These figures drop to 0.9% for female workers and 7.5% for female managers. The average weekly total cash earnings in Australia (including overtime) was $1,102.00 for full-time adult employees in 2006. If you are looking for a reality check on salary levels, Rodney Stinson’s What jobs pay (York Cross) is a good starting point.

If our perceptions of what is a reasonable salary are so easily manipulated, and we continue to choose careers largely based on pay considerations, we are setting ourselves up for dysfunctional career choices and chronic dissatisfaction. A little reality checking may help you make better career choices.

Jim Bright is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU National and a Partner at Bright and Associates, a Career Management Consultancy.

Highouse, S; Brooks-Laber, M., Lin, L; and Sptizmuller, C. (2003). What makes a salary seem reasonable. British Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 76, 69-81.