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Trivia about money, jobs, budgets, credit, debt, and anything related to personal finance.

Famous People

Presidents & Patriots
*James Buchanan's nickname became "Ten-Cent Jimmy" after he unwisely said in public that he considered ten cents a day a fair wage for manual laborers. Source
*4 presidents had no written will: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant, James Garfield
*As a boy Jimmy Carter considered himself lucky to have the Sears catalog in his home which was used in place of toilet paper.
*In 1799 George Washington earned $7,500 for manufacturing and selling 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey, noting that demand for his whiskey was "brisk".
*Dolly Madison's father went bankrupt, a sin that got him ejected from the Quaker church.
*John Tyler was so poor 5 years after he was President that he couldn't pay a $1.25 bill.
*The President earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment. Source
*Mary Todd Lincoln claimed she was haunted during her life, and sewed money into clothes to foil the invisible thieves. Source
*Retired U.S. Presidents now receive a pension based on the salary of the current administration's cabinet secretaries, which is $191,300 each year as of 2008. Source
*(President) Buchanan earned a mere $938 during 1813 as a new attorney and $1,096 the following year. Source
*On July 18, 1782, James Hoban was awarded $500 for his design of the White House (called the President's House back then) and was also asked to oversee its construction. He beat out many competitors for the prize money, including Thomas Jefferson who had entered the competition under a different name!
*When Ben Franklin was 7 years old he blew all of his money (several pennies) on a whistle. He was so excited about the whistle that he forgot to ask how much it was and offered the merchant all the pennies he had in trade. His brother reprimanded him when he got home and said that Ben had overpaid for the whistle and could have got a whistle and candy as well. Source: Four great Americans: Washington, Franklin, Webster, Lincoln By James Baldwin


*Dick Clark got his big break at age 26 when the host of Bandstand was fired for drunk driving and they hired Clark to replace him.
*Oprah was the first female black billionaire in history. Source
*When 18 year old Bruce Lee arrived in America in 1959 he had $100 in his pocket, barely spoke the language, and had no employment prospects.
*Marilyn Monroe's first modeling job paid only $5. Source
*Channing Tatum's big break was being cast in Ricky Martin's video for "She Bangs," where he was paid $400 for a 7-day shoot. Source
*Samuel Colt, the famous gun maker, paid the equivalent of $400,000 in today’s money for his wife’s wedding dress and accessories. Source
*Macaulay Culkin was the first child ever to be paid a million dollars for a role. The film was My Girl in 1991. Source
*When Sylvester Stallone wrote Rocky in 1975 he had $106 left to his name. Even so he refused to sell the script to the movie studio for $360,000.00. Page 22 Source
*Dun and Bradstreet says that not only did Woody Harrelson once temp for them as a receptionist, but that Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland and William McKinley all worked for them as a credit analysts as various times.  Source
*Red Skeleton, a national radio and television comedian between 1937 and 1971, once paid for a home with $135,000 in cash he pulled out of his bathing trunks. His only condition: the family had to move out that afternoon. (They did!) Page 159 Source
*Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball's husband, had one weakness: gambling. However, he didn't always lose. One time he won $18,000 in an all night gin rummy game. The loser offered Desi two adjacent lots valued at $9,000 each in lieu of cash. Desi accepted and later spent $150,000 building a vacation home on the property. Source
*When Larry King was 9 his father died from a heart attack and there was no life insurance money or savings. The remaining 3 family members moved into an apartment that cost $34 a month and paid for it with the money they received from government "Relief". Page 13 Source


*In 1913 Clarence Crane the inventor of 'Crane's Peppermint Life Savers' sold his rights to the popular candy for $2,900. Source
*Paula Deen started her business with $200. Today, she is worth $16 million.
*At age 21 Bill Gates was arrested for speeding in his Porsche 911 and immediately posted bail from his wallet full of cash.
*John D. Rockefeller was the Depression era industrialist who liked to hand out nickels to poor children.
*In 1953, Mary Kay Ash used her life savings of $5,000 to start Mary Kay Cosmetics. Today the company is worth over $2 billion.
*In 1900, 25 year old J.C. Penny failed his first business: a butcher shop.
*In 2007, according to the labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, the six Walton family members (the original owners of Wal-Mart) on the Forbes 400 had a net worth equal to the bottom 30% of all Americans. Source
*O.D. McKee, founder of Little Debbie snacks, used a pawn shop as his "bank" in the 1930s for short term cash needs.
*Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper company for lacking creativity. Source
*22 yr old John Marriott opened a small root beer stand in Washington DC with $1,500 of his own saved money and a $1,500 loan long before opening hotels. Source
*Frank Mars, creator of the Milky Way candy bar once had to pay $20 a month in child support but couldn't afford it. Source
*Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie company once worked for Saks Fifth Avenue as a stock clerk. Even though he was promoted to supply manager in 1961 and given a salary of $85 a week he dreamed of higher achievements. Newsmakers 00, 2001 page 8


*On November 12, 1892, William Heffelfinger was paid $500 to participate in an American football game for the Allegheny Athletic Association. With this transaction, Heffelfinger became the first person to be paid to play football. Source
*Babe Ruth's highest annual salary was $80,000. Source

Andrew Carnegie   Barack Obama   Bill Cosby   Bill Clinton   Dick Van Dyke   Charlie Chaplin
Elvis Presley   Jerry Seinfeld   Larry King   Lucille Ball   Harrison Ford  
Harry Truman   Little Debbie
Henry Heinz   Ozzy Osbourne   Rick Harrison  Richard Sears 
Ulysses Grant  Wally Amos  William McKinley  William Wrigley   

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