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Just ask actors and lifelong best friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast, hosted by Simmons, a sports writer at The Ringer.
Damon, 52, and Affleck, 50, met as kids in their hometown of Cambridge, Mass., and have since gone on to monumental success in Hollywood. They’ve teamed up on dozens of projects, including the movies Good Will Hunting, School Ties, and Field of Dreams.
Damon’s and Affleck’s net worths are each estimated to be $55 million, per Forbes’ most recently available data (their fortunes have likely since grown), but success didn’t come so quickly. For years, they told Simmons, times were tough.
In the late 1980s, as the two worked tirelessly to advance their acting careers, they shared a bank account.
“It was unusual, but…we needed the money for auditions, for trips to New York, so that’s what the money was for,” Damon said. He added, however, that the two weren’t entirely business-minded, and occasionally dipped into the account to pay for recreation or beer.
Whenever either of them booked a role, they funneled those earnings into the joint account to go toward future audition costs, Damon said: “You were allowed to go to [auditions in] New York with the money. You were allowed to take out $10 and get quarters and go to [the arcade] and play video games.”
The decision to split finances stemmed from the pair’s mutual support; when one wins, the other wins, Affleck explained. “We were going to help each other and be there for each other. It was like, ‘You’re not going to be alone. I’m not going to be alone. Let’s go out there and do this together.’”
To split or not to split
Whether or not you expect to be millionaires one day, anyone can open a joint bank account. There are no official restrictions on who can own a shared account, according to WalletHub. And everyone named on a given account has equal access to its funds, regardless of who makes a deposit. But that goes both ways: A joint account means joint liability if one person overdrafts.
There’s also the issue of Damon’s and Affleck’s ages; while they didn’t specify exactly how old they were, minors (those younger than 18) can’t open a bank account without a parent or legal guardian. Then again, minors can’t buy beer either.
But the arrangement, which both actors remember fondly, didn’t last long. Damon admitted that it eventually became complicated, and once the two began earning steady incomes, they closed the account.
That was just the beginning of their collaboration, though. Prior to moving to a string of Los Angeles apartments together, they also lived with Casey, Affleck’s younger brother, in an apartment in a Massachusetts suburb—that may or may not have been very tidy.
“I do remember one time, me and Casey in Somerville just being like, let’s see how long he can go [without taking out the trash],” Affleck said. “Three days later, we came home, Matt was playing video games, surrounded by old sushi boxes.”
And even with their shared account in the rearview mirror, the friends often ran into trouble in Hollywood. “We’d get thrown out of some places or we’d have to upgrade or downgrade depending on who had money,” Affleck recalled.