Jimmy Osmond on money lessons and starting his own business at 13

October 2, 2015

The youngest member of the Osmonds talk about the role money has played in his life and his successful business career.

‘Little’ Jimmy Osmond found fame and fortune at an early age, becoming the youngest singer to ever have a UK number one with Long Haired Lover From Liverpool in 1972.

Now 52, here’s what he’s learned about money throughout his long showbiz career.

Did you have a lot of money growing up?
“Even though we made a lot of money when we were young, we never felt it. My dad was smart, thank goodness, and he invested well for us.

“He was also quite conservative. I had my first gold record when I was five, singing in Japanese, but we never really celebrated the successes that we had.

“It was more about: hey, you’re part of this team, we’re all pulling our own weight here and doing something valuable, not just singing on stage.”

How did you feel about that at the time?
“I found that harsh, but it saved me. He taught us to work hard – and to this day I work really hard.

“I probably shouldn’t do as much as I do, but I love feeling productive. I’ve learnt to not worry about being the star of anything, I’m happy to just be part of a team.”

Was your father good with money?
“My dad always valued people more than money. He was a really good people person.

“He had huge integrity. Even when it hurt him, I’ve seen him take the wrong end of a deal because it was the right thing to do.

“He was a great example of what a man should be. And because he always valued people more than money, I do too.”

You were the youngest member of the band. How did that affect your approach to money?
“I had a bit more freedom than my brothers – my parents must have been worn down by the time I came around – and I was quite entrepreneurial. I had some resources because of the success I’d had as a child, and so I opened my first restaurant when I was 13.

“We were the first ones to bring frozen yoghurt into Utah, which was quite fun. We had lines of people out of the door.”

You did that when you were 13?
“Yes, and I also set up a badge-making business. I would get my baseball buddies to punch our faces out of photos and turn them into badges, and then I’d sell them to the fans when my brothers and I would play arenas.”

How did your brothers feel about that?
“My brothers were just mortified. Eventually the family had to buy my business away from me, to keep the peace.

“I used the money to set up a type-setting business. That was big back then, before computers were what they are today.

“Eventually, I opened up an advertising agency called Oz-Art and ended up working for Coca Cola, Yamaha and a lot of big names. And we also handled a lot of fan clubs, we’d do their concert books.”

What’s money for, in your opinion?
“A good education, a good place to grow up, and good experiences with your family. That, to me, is what money’s for.

“You can’t take it with you. It’s about blessing the lives of those you love the most.

“If you have it, share it. The more you share, the more you get back – maybe not in real dollars, but in terms of a happy life.

“That’s been my experience.”

What’s the best money lesson you’ve ever learned?
“To have integrity. That’s what my father taught me and that’s what I hope, above all, my kids have learned from me.

“People don’t realise that if they don’t follow through on a financial obligation, other people can easily get hurt. At the end of the day, if you don’t have peace of mind that you’ve behaved well towards other people, you don’t have self-respect – and that’s all you can take with you.”

Jimmy will be touring the UK in December with the rest of the Osmonds on the Andy Williams Christmas Spectacular Tour.

Article originally posted at bt.com.

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