Christy Carlson Romano is opening up about the life lessons she learned as a young actress in Hollywood.
The “Even Stevens” actress, now 37, published a video to YouTube titled, “How I Lost All My Money.” In it, Romano took viewers through what she called, “a journey to my path of financial fluency and how I made and lost millions of dollars.”
“I really regret not investing my money wisely,” said Romano, who revealed that despite voicing the familiar “Kim Possible” and collecting checks from her time on-screen, she ultimately found herself in debt.
“I didn’t get a house. I didn’t take any money and store it away other than the Coogan money,” she continued, speaking on the trust account which by law is established to hold a percentage of a child actor’s wages.
Christy Carlson Romano enjoyed a successful run as ‘Ren Stevens’ alongside Shia LaBeouf – ‘Louis Stevens’ – on Disney Channel’s ‘Even Stevens.’ (Photo by George Lange/Disney Channel via Getty Images)
“That money I used towards going to college at 18,” she said, although she only spent two years in school and “didn’t care” about the abundance of funds she had access to.
“I was never told how much money I was making,” she said. “Money didn’t have a purpose for me.”
Soon enough, Romano explained that at 21 she found herself making exorbitant purchases and buying material items that held no tangible value, including a brand new Mercedes G-Wagon SUV and a vintage 1972 Corvette which she poured money into restoring but never drove.
“I was using buying things and money as a weapon,” she maintained and explained that she ended up separating herself from her family who she felt were trying to control her finances.
Cristy Carlson Romano played the voice of ‘Kim Possible’ during her time as a young performer in Hollywood. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney+)
“I felt like if I could just buy certain things, I would feel better or if I just lived a certain lifestyle, I would be closer to that joy of feeling accepted and a lot less alone because I felt really dumb for not knowing about my money and I never really made peace with that,” she told viewers. “Even to this day, there’s nothing I can really do about the fact that money came and went.”
Romano said she also received a recording contract and a book deal that earned her around $1 million – but lamented blowing it all in the same year on various purchases and a psychic to whom she paid “a bunch of money.”
“You think you have this extravagant life and then real life hits you in the face,” she said.
Romano said in her leisurely video upload that she eventually resorted to taking gigs for the sake of receiving a payout and not out of love of performing. One of the roles she ended up relegating herself to even involved a nude scene.
‘Even Stevens’ star Christy Carlson Romano said she ‘made and lost millions’ after her successful Disney Channel career. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
“I had never thought in a million years that I would ever do something like this,” she said.
These days, Romano is married and is a mother to two daughters. The Disney Channel alum said she now takes a scientific approach to managing her finances.
“Build small and make sure that you’re doing things that are smart,” she advised, “that can make you money, not break you and enjoy the things that are not expensive.”
“Go out. Enjoy the day,” she encouraged as she entered the fresh air. “It’s free.”
Romano played Shia LeBeouf’s on-screen sister on “Even Stevens” from 2000 to 2003. Romano recently admitted she harbored resentment towards her former co-star for the success he went on to have in show business. In addition, Romano played the voice of “Kim Possible” during her time as a young performer in Hollywood.