Saving money, the Ron Howard way

Bryce Dallas Howard has a film career that includes roles in the megahit "Spider-Man 3" and the upcoming "Twilight: Eclipse." Her father, Ron Howard, has won an Oscar and directed worldwide blockbusters.

But it seems even Hollywood royalty can feel the economic pinch. Bryce said she and her husband, Seth Gabel, have had to readjust their lifestyle.

"We're needing to be significantly more responsible than before," Bryce told WalletPop in an interview to promote her new movie, "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond,"opening Dec. 30.

The 28-year-old actor said she had a recent conversation with her father in which he described his philosophy of personal finance. She listened. Bryce said she has no trust fund and has been financially independent from her family since leaving New York University in 2003.

So what were the magic words that sprung from dad's beautiful mind?

"To make it a numbers game and not an emotional thing," the younger Howard replied. "If you make your money mean something, like success or failure, then you'll make choices from an emotional place. But if you just play it like a numbers game, then you can win. It's like if you're playing poker from an emotional standpoint, you'll probably lose. But if you stick to the game and make the calculations in your head and play the odds, then you'll win."

Bryce, who starred in "The Village," "Lady in the Water," and "Terminator Salvation," said she has taken dad's wisdom to heart. Every month she deposits a slice of her earnings into "various accounts" before she's allowed to touch it.

Ten percent goes toward savings. Another chunk goes into a college fund for her 2-year-old son, Theo, and a medical fund. "Then what's left over I can redistribute among my budget," she said. "Every 30 days I ask myself where I'm at, and play that numbers game."

"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," produced from a screenplay by Tennessee Williams, features Howard as an heiress named Fisher who tries to break into the Memphis debutante scene in the 1920s. Fisher wears $10,000 earrings. Away from Pretend Land, Howard has been a picture of fiscal restraint.

Her hint for surviving the holidays on a budget diet is to cut back on the gifts for friends and family and give to charity in their name. "You can write a beautiful card and make a donation to a charity of their choice," she said. "You kill two birds with one stone."

It's all in the name of maintaining the spirit of the season while recognizing tough times.

Said Howard: "It's really important to not be in denial and look at your finances squarely in the face."
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