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What Is Your 50+ Celebrity Financial Style?

Are you a saver like Jay Leno or a worker like Jaclyn Smith?

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    Star bucks

    Media reports about celebrities and their finances often involve over-the-top spending, IRS tax woes or bad money management. But not all celebrities squander their fortunes. In fact, some stars are pretty savvy with money and provide good examples for the rest of us. Take a look at the following seven actors, athletes, singers and entertainers, and then ask yourself, Which 50-plus celebrity am I most like financially? Though almost all have done a good job with finances, you likely can learn something from each.

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    Jaclyn Smith, 70

    She's still working and loving it. You probably remember actress Jaclyn Smith from the TV show Charlie's Angels. Smith's second act has been in an entirely different industry, in which she's built quite a brand. Since 1985, she's been the purveyor of a popular fashion line at Kmart stores, and she added her home-accessories collection in 2008. About 100 million customers have purchased her products, so it doesn't seem like Smith will be leaving her encore career anytime soon.

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    Debbie Reynolds, 84

    She's had a big financial comeback: Movie star Debbie Reynolds rose to fame in classics like Singin' in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Her finances, though, took multiple hits from divorce, bad investments and failed real estate ventures. She filed for personal bankruptcy in 1997. But Reynolds has bounced back, largely because she shrewdly managed to hang on to key pieces of an enormous collection of Hollywood memorabilia. In 2011, Reynolds sold the iconic white dress Marilyn Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch for $4.6 million. Two years later, Reynolds published Unsinkable, her successful memoir that helped put her further back in the black.

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    Mike Ditka, 77

    He's found financial peace: Mike Ditka has had his share of big wins and big losses during a long career as a football player and NFL coach, mostly with the Chicago Bears. But he's not stuck in the past or discontent with his life, his current part-time role as a TV commentator and his level of financial success. "Success isn't measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace," Ditka has said.

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    Jay Leno, 66

    He's a super saver: Most know comedian Jay Leno as the former host of The Tonight Show. Less known is that Leno is an aggressive saver, dating back to childhood. "I worked at a Ford dealership and at a McDonald's. I'd spend the money from one job and save the money from the other," Leno said in a 2009 interview. "That's still the way I am now. I live on the money I make as a comedian, and I put all the TV money in the bank. I've never spent a dime of TV money — ever." That saving has paid off: Leno is reportedly worth $350 million.

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    Teri Hatcher, 51

    She lives within her means: A lot of celebrities splurge with the first big check they get. Not TV actress Teri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives fame, who is reportedly worth $50 million. She knows that no matter what size paycheck you bring home, it's good to live beneath your means. "I don't spend my money on sports cars or new million-dollar houses," Hatcher has said. "I drive my cars for 10 years, until they have 100,000 miles on them."

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    Paul McCartney, 74

    He teaches his kids financial independence: Paul McCartney, the legendary Beatles singer and songwriter, apparently knows a thing or two about instilling financial independence in his children. Many parents often have trouble saying no to their offspring, and with adult children that can create an unhealthy cycle of financial dependence. Perhaps that's what McCartney had in mind when he made his designer daughter, Stella, pay for her own college education, as a way to foster more economic responsibility in her.

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    Dorothy Hamill, 60

    Her heart guided her business decisions: Dorothy Hamill won a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics — a feat that led to her starring in the Ice Capades and becoming the first female athlete to land a $1 million annual contract. Unfortunately, the Ice Capades went bankrupt in the early 1990s. Hamill had a soft spot for the entity, though, and in 1993 bought it with her husband and another investor. But the Ice Capades couldn't be salvaged. Hamill wound up selling the entertainment show in 1995 and filing for personal bankruptcy the next year.

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