Leon Schuster : Filmaker and comedia.
Photograph by: Simphiwe Mbokazi © SUNDAY TIMES  

ARE you responsible with money?

I think I am quite responsible, but with 23-year-old twins who just started working, you are forced to be "irresponsible", as it costs an arm and a leg to help them onto the road to adulthood.

What was the first job you were paid for and how much did you get?

I had to ride around on a bicycle in a Bloemfontein suburb after 7pm and report all the street lights that were not working to the municipality. It was around 1966 and I earned around R2.50 a night.

What is the biggest extravagance you have spent money on?

My flat in Umhlanga. I could not believe I paid that price back then, and how I survived after the cash buy is a miracle.

What is the one thing you wish you never bought?

A very expensive leather jacket that I bought in Los Angeles in 2001. I was not sorry that I bought it until we landed back in Johannesburg and I realised some scoundrel stole my jacket from my suitcase!

What is the best thing you have ever bought?

My previous house in Ruimsig. It was a beautiful place next to a river, with the best scenery and bird-life imaginable. It was in a security complex, but gave you the feeling of living on a farm. There are some nights when the tears roll from my eyes when I lie in bed and do not hear the soft rush of a flowing river.

What is your biggest money weakness?

Cars. I quickly grow tired of a car and have lost a lot of money by trading in a car for another one.

You are often hurt in your movies. Do you get special cover for such "accidents"?

Yes, and this coverage is bloody expensive at my age. I think the insurance company shudders when I am slapped around like that in my movies.

You are a Free State rugby supporter. Would you put your money on them for this year's Currie Cup?

I put my money on bugger all. I dislike gambling. But I do put my heart on the Cheetahs winning the Currie Cup.

You also played rugby in your younger days. If you could play in today's professional era, would you rather have made a living from rugby or movies?

Definitely rugby. The guys are paid thick dollars for working once a week for 80 minutes! No, I am just joking - it is hard work, but not brain-breaking work like mine. I make a movie about every two years and then I do not earn close to what these young laaities get.

Do you prefer to pay by cash or card?

Card. That way my auditor can keep track of all my expenses. But I have a fright every time I see my statements at the end of the month.

What car do you drive and do you choose a car for practicality, speed or looks?

I drive a BMW X5, but I am usually alone in the huge car and am starting to think about a smaller vehicle. My heart is set on a Porsche Carrera, for speed and looks - and the "cherries" who will check me out at traffic lights! But I will have to make a lot more movies before I will get there.

Do you tip waiters and are you a good tipper?

It depends on the service. I also cannot resist the beggars at the side of the road.

Do you own property as an investment?

I own my private house and a holiday home. In some sense, I regret not speculating more with property, but I was just too scared of the risks.

Do you invest in shares?

My investments are partially linked to the stock exchange, but my broker knows how scared I am of risks, so he invests very conservatively. Around 10 years ago, I invested R750000 in some "blue chip" product for five years. The guys who convinced me to do it assured me I would be a very rich man after the five years. After the five years, I got back R751000.27!

What is the best financial advice you have been given ?

My auditor always told me not to put all my eggs in one basket. I have also been advised to invest in my own movies, but have always been wary of the big budgets. At the end of day, the guys who make the most money from my movies are those who invested in them.

What is the one thing you would want to teach your children about money?

Forget about nice cars, gambling and the Lotto, and put down a deposit on a flat.