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Porn stars must plan ahead for their golden years — or mid-twenties

In an industry where careers can last as little as three to six months, porn stars must start thinking about their retirement before they start to take their clothes off.

The transition to new careers can prove tricky for some performers because their skills are not necessarily transferable to desired future jobs. To make matters more difficult, the adult film industry does not offer 401(k)s or pension plans. As a consequence, many entertainers must put money aside for saving or think of entrepreneurial ways to support themselves when their fan base begins to dwindle.

At the annual Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas last week, CNBC asked attendees who are at the height of their careers how they were planning for life out of the limelight.

When asked about her plans, the young “Skin Diamond” told CNBC, “I just try to save 25 percent of everything that I make. That way there’s a nice cushion of funds there.. I’ve never really been great at the whole investing thing. I figure my website is an investment. Even after I quit porn, that can still make money.”

Some entertainers start on their retirement plans before they even leave the industry. The red-headed Justine Joli says, “I make pot for a living outside of doing this. I’m an edible maker and I’m trying to change the way pot is viewed and also how it’s eaten… I’m different than most edible makers, as I am licensed by the state of California.”

Just like it is necessary to create a niche for yourself in the adult film industry, Joli says she understands what makes other products marketable. She explained, “I make pot beef jerky. It’s kind of a pain in the — that every edible you encounter is sweet. You’ve got your cookies, your brownies, your cakes.”

She added, “Not a single bit of it is healthy, organic or — for someone like me who is modeling and always getting naked — how many brownies do I have to eat before my — is six sizes too big?”

The curvy adult actress, Kelly Shibari, believes that if entertainers are savvy they can figure out how to commoditize themselves when they are no longer on the big screen: “I think the people who have the most longevity in the industry are the ones who actually own their brand and work towards creating products, whether it’s DVD or toys or a company. The ones who last beyond the performance stuff are the ones who find ways of investing in themselves.”

And then there is Nina Hartley, the 54-year-old actress who says that her age will not keep her out of the business. “Sex is my thing,” she told CNBC.

As a veteran in the business, Hartley says she understands how to use her tenured career to her advantage, “As I get older, my focus may change and my presentation may change and what I do may change, but the subject of my work is still going to be sexuality. I’m doing some stand-up, some coaching, some teaching, a little bit of everything. I’ve learned a lot in 30 years and I know I can make it work to feed me when I’m old, because it’s not going to be my 401(k), baby.”

In the past female porn stars could make a decent living in the industry, but their salaries have depreciated in recent years. Mark Spiegler, who runs one of the industry’s top talent agencies, told the Hollywood reporter, “While a decade ago the average female performer would make about $100,000 a year, she now might make as little as $50,000 — all while juggling responsibilities such as social-media outreach and personal appearances.”

Spiegler added that some A-list actors can still live comfortably off of their earning.

“For the select few females who make it to the top of the industry, paychecks can be upward of $350,000 a year, while top male performers can make more than $100,000 annually,” he said.

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