July 15, 2014

How Famous People Lose Their Money

Credit: photostock
One of the saddest lessons I’ve learned during my time in the wealth management/financial advice business is that no amount of money or income can make someone immune from overspending. If you don’t live within your means, you can blow it; if you don’t properly diversify your assets, they can vanish; and if you do something that’s just plain stupid, you can make a lot of dollar signs go bye-bye, too. When I started writing this post I was going to give you some specific examples of how some famous people lost their fortunes, but the more I researched, the sadder I got. I just couldn’t believe what I was discovering. So, I’ve decided I’ll give you the examples, but I’ll remove the celebrities’ names. This will protect the identities of the personally innocent, but financially guilty. After all, they don’t need any more pain; they’ve already lost most of their money.
  • Can you believe that an actor who has been in films grossing more than $4 billion has been reduced to having to take almost any role thrown at him because he lost tons of money on highly speculative investments and wasn’t paying his share in taxes? Maybe so, but he also bought a castle, a dinosaur skull, 22 cars, 47 pieces of art, and a bunch of real estate. Are you kidding me?
  • Can you believe that a pretty famous golfer nearly lost it all as a result of gambling away $60,000,000? Sorry, but the zeroes were for effect!
  • Can you believe an actress walked away from a movie she had agreed to be in knowing it would cost her $9 million not to honor her previous commitment? Oh, and by the way, she probably could have written a check for the $9 million if she hadn’t recently purchased part of an actual town!
  • Can you believe a boxer could throw away $250 million through a bunch of divorces and alimony and child support payments? Of course, there was also a 109-room house…
  • Can you believe a really successful musician would buy a $30 million mansion? Actually, I can. What I can’t believe is that he paid 200 people to be part of his “entourage,” and it cost him $500,000 per month! How could anyone maintain that sort of lifestyle? Better yet, why wasn’t I invited to be part of his entourage?
  • Can you believe a world champion (and likely hall of fame) pitcher would invest almost everything he earned in his entire career in one, single, solitary investment? Guess what? It didn’t work out! And now he’s too old to pitch…
  • Finally, can you believe an actor who has made millions and millions of dollars since 1999 thought it would be okay not to file a tax return reporting his income until 2006? Did he think what happened in 1999-2005 would go away? A lot of back taxes (with penalties and interest) and a little jail time just rocked his oblivious world!

Like I said earlier, I started this post intending for it to be funny, but the stories aren’t funny – they’re sad. I can’t help but think of what I could have done for them if they had sought some genuine, unbiased advice. I can’t help but think about what they could have done for themselves if they’d just lived within their ample means, prudently diversified at least a portion of their assets, and avoided doing things that just aren’t smart. They had it, and they threw it away. Grrrrrrr.

1 comment:

  1. Like I've always said, you need to take these young people that have come into great wealth overnight under your wing and protect them from their worst enemy--themselves!