Man finds success as accountant to fashion models

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It looks like nice work if you can get it, but the life of a model can be financially challenging, says an accountant dedicated to helping them.

Michael Tumminia abandoned life in corporate America to help successful, young people manage their finances, and some of his lessons for them surely apply to all of us.

At the Met Gala, Karlie Kloss was in her element, and one of the world's top models could work it knowing the tens of millions of dollars she makes are secure with the help of Tumminia.

"Our job is to be an advocate for the model," he said.

Behind his desk is a copy of Forbes with Kloss on the cover as one of the magazine's "30 Under 30" success stories. On the credenza next to it are copies of Vogue and other titles featuring clients like Marquita Pring.

"To have somebody else really watching you and giving you great advice, that has been life changing for me," Pring said.

She is one of dozens of models he represents, along with content creators like Wendy Nguyen, who makes her money on YouTube.

"Michael's the type of guy that will give you the broad helicopter view, but at the same time help you hone in the little details that will get you to the next level," she said.

It begins with a simple piece of advice for these self-employed young women, who -- unlike most of us -- do not have taxes withheld from their wages.

"The challenge for you is making sure that at the end of each quarter, you have enough money to be able to pay your taxes," he tells them.

Next comes a spending plan.

"Hand bags, clothes, travel, those are the sort of categories where people tend to overspend and don't even realize it," he says.

A model's career can be short, just a few years in most cases. And he advises as such.

"You cannot spend more than you earn, and you have to set aside money for times when you are not earning what you used to earn," he says.

The firm charges by the hour, but his advice is often free.

"It's extraordinarily difficult to try to get somebody to look 35, 40 years down the road," he said. "But I always tell them, your future self will thank your current self for that decision."

This money manager doesn't hang out at Fashion Week in the city, and you won't find him at any hip parties either.

Tumminia likes to keep his distance from the glitz and glamour, and his clients prefer it that way.

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