Bankrupt Celebrities

What can we learn from bankrupt movie stars?

When the rich and famous lose it all, we are intrigued about what went wrong. Should we instead ask ourselves what we can learn from their financial mismanagement?

Dionne Warwick rose to fame in the 60’s with hits like Walk on By, Say a Little Prayer, and Do You Know the Way to San Jose. She won five Grammy awards, charted more than 60 singles, and had album sales over $100 million dollars. In 2013, she filed for bankruptcy at age 72, down to her last $1,000 in cash and a $10 million tax debt. Reportedly, it was the mushrooming of accumulating tax penalties and interest that did her in financially.

poor rich

George Foreman, Debbie Reynolds,
Dionne Warwick, Burt Reynolds.
Copyrights belong to the respective owners.

Burt Reynolds, the popular star of movies like Smokey and the Bandit and The Longest Yard, made his big mistake with a $750,000 second mortgage on top of a $1.2 million dollar mortgage on a home valued at $4 million. As the story goes, he woke up one morning as surprised as everyone else that he was broke. His financial troubles have been attributed to a 1996 bankruptcy after divorcing ex-wife Loni Anderson and launching an unsuccessful restaurant business. Then he remarried, divorced the next wife, and ended up with lawsuits and ensuing money battles.

There were others: Ed McMahon, George Foreman, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Unitas, Debbie Reynolds, and Michael Jackson. Going back to our early history, there were others who either lost it all or came perilously close: Thomas Jefferson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Mark Twain, and Ulysses S. Grant.

Each of these big names had problems with money management. Some spent too much, made poor financial decisions, or simply squandered the money away.

What can we, who make far less money and have far less fame that these, learn from their mistakes? Stay simple. Live within our means. Pay bills on time, especially taxes and interest on bank loans. Avoid over-investing and marry for love, not money. With simple financial discipline we can enjoy our later years in life without worrying about money.

Halloween: Growing Old Is Scary

Growing old is downright scary – when you’re young. But ask an elderly person and, surprisingly, most of them don’t have a frightened bone in their body. In fact, they feel pretty good about old age.

Luckily in this business, you have the honor to talk with older people. They tell me how they’re finally the person they always wanted to be. No more trying to break a bad habit, be a better parent, or make something of themselves in the world. If it’s not crossed off on the bucket list by now, it was probably never meant to be.GB Shaw quote

I’ve learned that when you’re older, friends are more dear and less likely to hurt your feelings. You have cookies with your coffee and not worry about the weight. You walk less, but enjoy yourself more along the path. You’re less critical of yourself, and the same goes for your friends. There’s an old story about a reporter asking a 103-year-old woman “what do you think is the best thing about being 103?” Her reply, “No peer pressure.” I really do believe that aging makes us more positive.

After 60-something, it’s easier to relax socially. Older people usually care less what other people think, and are more comfortable with themselves and their opinions. When a mistake is made, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve earned the right to be wrong now and again.

Family members grow more thoughtful of an aging parent’s time and capabilities, which comes in handy when the chore is is cooking Christmas dinner or sawing down a huge elm tree. Now the big family dinners are at Grandma’s house only when the kids do the cooking and cleaning up. Grandpa is less likely to be asked to saw off a low-hanging limb, and more likely found napping under it.

Wrinkles are timelines, nothing more. Sounds wonderful. My plan is to enjoy growing old. To be the “go to” gal for sage advice and the “how to” resource for my grandchildren. Even though it’s October, the scariest month of the year (if you believe in goblins and ghosts), I’m not in the least scared of aging.