Money Mayhem: J.K. Rowling No Longer a Billionaire

Alden Wicker
Posted

JK RowlingLearnVest always seeks to educate and inform, but every once in a while, a financial matter hits the headlines and makes us go, “Huh.” Sometimes it even provides us a lens to learn about ourselves. In that spirit, from bad money decisions to financial lessons worth millions, consider our Money Mayhem your source of financial edu-tainment.

Just last year J.K Rowling was estimated to be worth a tidy $1 billion, which could buy a lot of butterbeer and Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. But now the author of Harry Potter (and recipient of massive income from both the books and the movie franchise) has fallen off of Forbes’ rich list because she is just a millionaire.

Was it poor money management? A Ponzi scheme? Shopping sprees at Harrod’s?

Nope, she gave an estimated $160 million away to charity. That, and the British government levies hefty taxes on the super rich.

Other billionaires fell off the list because of death or catastrophic drops in the stock of their companies, but Rowling is still flying high, income wise. She might climb her way back onto the list next year, which would be great– she would have even more money to devote to helping others!

Rowling is intimately acquainted with life without enormous wealth. In fact, she once lived on welfare, and said in her well-received 2008 commencement speech at Harvard that poverty, “is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardship.”

Knowing this, it isn’t surprising that Rowling would give away what amounts to 16% of her net worth to less fortunate individuals, and we think it’s a fitting way to celebrate her enormous success.

Update: A previous version of this article stated that J.K. Rowling donated 1.6% of her net worth to charity last year. In fact, she donated 16%. 

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Image credit: Daniel Ogren/Flickr

  • Maryk1431

    10.6%, not 1.6%

    • Anonymous

      Hi Maryk1431,

      She donated 16% of her net worth. I’ve updated the post. Thanks for your comment!

      Alden