Strike fears fuel rise in financial mapping

Clients 'panicky,' sez one planner

Hollywood’s strike threats have many industryites shivering in their boots — alongside their caterers, personal trainers and manicurists.

For one group, however, business is booming and looks likely to stay that way. Boy, is it sweet to be a certified financial planner in L.A. now.

Take Carolyn Hemann of American Express, whose Santa Monica offices have seen a recent influx of anxious Hollywood workers. She’s juggling some 300 clients, about double the number she was working with a year ago.

Most are showbiz types — actors, writers, directors, agents — with average incomes between $300,000 and $1 million.

“They’re panicky. They want to make sure they’re doing all the right things to sustain themselves for six months if they don’t have an income,” Hemann says.

“One client was so worried he said he was going to sell his house and move to Las Vegas,” citing a lower cost of living and all that. She thought he “was jumping the gun” and advised him to hold off.

Many are worried about the cost of private schools. They’re firing personal assistants and private bookkeepers, holding off on big-ticket purchases. Some clients have been spending lots of time lately working in Canada, she says.

Some advice from Hemann to anxious Hollywoodites:

  • Set up a line of equity on your home so if you need cash it will be there;

  • Insist on lower credit card rates or transfer debt to a lower interest card;

  • Rejigger retirement accounts so they’re not overly aggressive. That’s one less worry as the dour market means investments are down at the same time incomes are at risk.

Or, just call a certified financial planner.

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