K-Pop star Eric Nam has a surprisingly conservative approach to how and when he spends his paychecks for someone who just came into money. Men’s Health sat down with the singer for the latest installment of Men’s Wealth, where he discussed his financial successes, regrets, and everything in between.
For the Georgia-raised star who later moved to Korea after graduating from Boston College in 2011, making money was hard for the first few years. “Living in Korea was a big adjustment,” Nam said, “because a coffee is going to be a little more pricey than what it is in the States. Wages aren’t as high either.
“Being a hungry artist, you don’t have the luxury of buying whatever you want. There were years of me doing a lot of odd jobs, this and that just to make ends meet.”
After entering a televised singing competition in Korea, his career jump started and Nam soon became the go-to interviewer for celebrities on press tours. “Pretty much any big name that came through Korea, I was the one hosting them, having conversations with them and that really took off.” Having that experience helped him hone his on-screen persona, and when he eventually made the transition to music, he found himself feeling good. “I felt comfortable on any stage, in any setting,” he added.
If there’s anything that sticks with Nam as his success grows, it’s thinking about finances in the long-term. Nam is also an angel investor, putting money into startups he finds interesting or ones he has a strong belief in. “Right now, they might not be the biggest financial returns,” he explained, “but I gain a lot in terms of insight and life experience. Hopefully down the road, I’ll get financial returns on it as well.” (His dad is also, very conveniently, his financial advisor.)
What’s Nam’s biggest splurge? A Mercedes-Benz GLC. “I had saved money and I had always wanted to buy my own car in Korea,” the singer explained. “When I finally achieved it, it was—and to this day, I still have the same car—I was like, ‘I have a car in Korea.’ It’s great and I love it.” He then began to laugh when asked about the one purchase that was a little bit extravagant. “I have those Gucci slippers,” he said. “It’s just the black leather, with the fur that sticks out the side. You’re walking on clouds! They’re not necessary in any way, but I love them.”
As for his financial regret? It’s not necessarily understanding how filing taxes actually work. “When you first make money, you’re just excited that you have it and just buy things on a whim. You don’t really think about the implications that taxes have, because when you owe money, all of a sudden all of the money in your account—it’s gone!”
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