MY MONEY

Jacqueline's journey from stockbroker to Elvis impersonator

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Jacqueline Feilich is an Elvis tribute artist who has been singing his music for 14 years. Her love of Elvis'music, and the fact that women rarely perform his songs, steeled her determination to succeed. Armed backing tracks and custom-made costumes, including a replica of the iconic white jumpsuit, Jacqueline knocked on doors until she landed her first gig. Her first She is the King show was at Petersham RSL, and it has grown from there. She has performed at the Elvis festival in Parkes and visited Graceland nearly a dozen times, performing in the Grounds during Elvis week. She also competed in the very first Ultimate Elvis contest in Tupelo, Mississippi (where Elvis was born).

What was your first job?

My first job was in finance. I wanted to be a stockbroker so, at the beginning of 1987 after I graduated Year 12, I got a cadetship with Potter Partners. I was last in and first to go. As soon as October came (the crash) I lost my job and that led to something else. I got a job as a cadet journalist in finance and property for the last afternoon newspaper in Perth - The Daily News - and was there until they shut the door there too. I then met my husband and moved to Sydney and was still writing for a Perth publication for a year after moving to Sydney. Then I just thought it was way too hard to get into journalism in Sydney and the only other thing I could do was sing. I also did another course and became a gemologist but stuck to singing and joined a few bands. I worked in piano bars, particularly the Ritz Carlton, Double Bay, until I started Elvis in 2006.

Elvis tribute artist Jacqueline Feilich

What attracted you to Elvis?

I was an Elvis fan since the age of three. My dad would take me out in his American Thunderbird and he would listen to the crooners like Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Roger Whittaker but he had one 8-track of Elvis which I immediately loved and would play on repeat. Once the midday Elvis movies started and I saw what he looked like, I was hooked.

What's the best money advice you've ever received?

Probably to put your money into property. Buying property wasn't apparent to me when I got that advice, but it's probably the most bankable thing that will go up gradually and where you can get a proper return. I don't have the stomach to 'bet' in the stockmarket.

What's the best investment decision you've made?

To buy my current home, in Sydney, 18 years ago. I had to really do some fast talking to get my husband round to my thinking. It was more than we wanted to pay at that time but since then it has appreciated and it's the best thing we did.

What's the worst investment decision you've made?

The worst one was when I was aged 19 and I took out a credit card with a $5000 limit and spent it all on furnishing a flat. I found it so hard to pay it back over time and was just paying the interest and nothing else. I was still paying it off when I met my husband.

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

I love art and so I'm a bit of a collector of sculptures and things like that. My latest investment was a KAWS figurine - highly collectible statues in every size that capture every human emotion. Brian Donnelly, the artist who made them, was big at the end of the 1970s, and now I have everything from a 10cm figurine to a four-foot one. There is also a collectible Elvis I really want.

If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?

Maybe I'd give each to my kids to put as a deposit on something.

What would you do if you only had $50 left in the bank?

I reckon I'd want to help someone because I think that might come back to me at some point. I'd like a nice meal but I'd give one to a homeless man as well.

Do you intend to leave an inheritance?

I do, yes, especially now because it's so hard for young people to buy something.

What have you learned in your years of touring that influenced your thinking about money?

Definitely that you've got to own a piece of property at least, otherwise you've got nothing. To get to my age and not have the security is something I wouldn't be comfortable with.

Is there any money advice you think Elvis would have benefited from?

Yes, I think all those hangers-on wanted him for his money and he needed someone to say don't give everything away. I think no one gave him the advice to be generous but to hang to some. He certainly was no businessman.

Are there any Elvis songs about money?

There is a song that's called Money Honey. It's an early one from the 50s, and it's about money honey if you want to get along with me. The message is we can only get on if you have money.

Finish this sentence: money makes...

... the world go around but it can't buy you happiness, love and health.

jacquelinefeilich.com 

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Julia Newbould is the managing editor of Money magazine. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
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