Menounos: Stay with what you know

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Warner Bros.

Maria Menounos, who is a film producer and the co-host of the Hollywood news show “Extra,” calls herself a cautious investor who has an occasional appetite for risk. Her specific strategy: Capitalize on your personal experience by focusing on investments in the industry in which you work.

As a result, Menounos makes most of her serious investing gambles in the media industry, because her life on both sides of the camera taught her about the industry’s financial risks. For example, when Menounos thinks about investing in a film, she makes sure that she evaluates the actors’ work ethic and passion.

“I’d rather bet on someone I know is really going to carry the torch to the finish line and really give it everything they have than to invest in someone who’s going to make this kind of a vanity project, that isn’t going to work as hard,” she says. Consequently, when Menounos launched AfterBuzzTV.com in 2012, she scrutinized work ethic and passion to decide whom to put in charge of day-to-day operations. AfterBuzzTV.com provides webcasts that discuss prime-time series immediately after they air. The website now handles 25 million downloads per week.

Her sense of being “in the know” can lead to false security and mistakes, however. AfterBuzzTV.com needed more funds, because she didn’t factor in the expense of buying more bandwith. Now, she says, “we have ad revenue to subsidize” the website’s cost.

Menounos keeps 20 percent of her portfolio in assorted stocks, bonds, commodities and other instruments that she trades frequently to capitalize on short-term market shifts. She couldn’t say what percentages of each were in that mix. The rest of her portfolio is 35 percent real estate, 25 percent bonds and 20 percent stocks.