‘Gilligan’s Island’ Actor Dawn Wells Detailed Why She Invested Heavily in Real Estate

by Quentin Blount

You don’t need to be an expert to make smart financial decisions for your future — just ask Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells.

Fans may think that actors and actress have it made. But they aren’t always living the extravagant high-life than many of us envision. Especially those who are not Hollywood A-listers. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that actors and other artists have a tougher time with money management than most people who work a 9-5 job.

We know that Dawn Wells played Mary Ann Summers on the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island. She sat down with Bankrate.com back in 2001 where she admitted that the financial management struggle for actors is real.

“As an actor, if you’re not into the Tom Cruise salary, you have to do some careful planning, because it’s not consistent,” Wells noted. You can’t take 20 percent of your salary and put it away like you can if it comes in every week. You have to be a little bit more creative in your financial management.”

But one of the ways she was able to offset her inconsistent paychecks was to have some side hustle. Wells took to selling Gilligan’s Island memorabilia on her website, dawn-wells.com. She also ran an acting “boot camp” at her personal ranch near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

And in addition to all of that, Dawn Wells also got involved in real estate. Her ranch was just one of her many properties.

“The ranch. I have property in Florida and then I have property in Nevada,” she said. “At one point, I also had 10 to 14 rentals.”

When Bankrate asked if she had done well in real estate Wells responded, “Very well, and I believe in it very much.”

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Preferred Real Estate to Stocks

Would you rather invest in stocks or in real estate? Or perhaps both? Dawn Wells actually preferred the latter because she understood it better.

“I do better in real estate because I understand it more. Stocks I have to leave up to someone else. I was very uncomfortable with the stock market until about 20 years ago. I was never very lucky. Now I have a wonderful broker who has helped me plan for the future, which for actors is very difficult.”

Nowadays, many employees out there have a 401K or some kind of pension to help plan for retirement. As for Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells, she woke up one day and realized she, too, needed a plan.

“We have a pension, but it’s nothing compared to other people’s,” she explained. “I woke up one day and thought, wait a minute. Since I don’t have children, and nobody to take care of me, I’ve got to be able to take care of myself at 80 and have someone to wheel me around. So I’ve been trying to plan for that, and I didn’t start until late. We didn’t start with the IRAs and that stuff until I was in my late 30s.”