Joshua Bassett has a busy schedule. Between his film, TV and music careers, the 21-year-old “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” star doesn’t have much time to look after his finances.
Talking to CNBC Make It while promoting his third EP, Sad Songs in a Hotel Room, Bassett admitted that he doesn’t actually know how much Disney is paying him to play the role of Ricky Bowen on the hit show, which is in its third season.
“I still don’t know how much money I’m making for ‘High School Musical’. That’s a true story,” Bassett says. “I’ll tell my business managers ‘I don’t want to know. If I need to worry, let me know.'”
That choice was influenced in part by past experiences being broke, he tells Make It.
“I’ve lived in my car with negative $1 in my bank account, so I’ve seen both sides of the coin and I choose not to let it dictate how I live my life,” the 21-year-old says.
Indeed, despite the fact that his “agents hate it,” Bassett has no problem turning down potentially lucrative opportunities if they don’t line up with his values.
“If I’m offered a movie for something that shoots for seven months but I don’t really believe in or stand behind the message of that film, I’m not going to waste my time doing that because I could be spending seven months making music that I feel passionate about,” he says.
Part of that financial peace of mind comes from Bassett not living a particularly expensive lifestyle. He bought a Honda Civic when he landed “High School Musical”, and still drives the car three years later.
“I like how a Civic is low key. It’s super easy to drive. It doesn’t matter if you get a ding on it, nobody cares,” he says.
On top of his modest car tastes, the singer songwriter isn’t a shopaholic, and in fact owns only one pair of shoes.
“I have Converse that are black and white. And they’re the only pair of shoes that I have, period,” he says. “I get overwhelmed with choice and I’m very much a minimalist. I like to keep it simple.”
For now, Bassett is content to follow his music, film and TV careers in whichever directions his passions take him. What he won’t do, however, is let money influence his decisions.
“I was the happiest I’ve ever been living in my car with minus $1, so clearly money has no effect on happiness,” Bassett says. “Although obviously practically, yes, money can bring a lot of comfort and a lot of great things, at the end of the day, peace is up to you.”
Sad Songs in a Hotel Room will be released on Sept. 23.