Welcome to another week of financial learning. Today, I want to touch on how celebrities and sportsmen are supposed to manage themselves financially. Fame and fortune do not guarantee financial security. Whether it be tax issues, poor spending choices or bad investments, these folks learned some money lessons the hard way. We the ordinary people also repeat their money mistakes but do not get the mileage on CNN, BBC, TV3 or GTV Entertainment news.
Making huge sums of money from your chosen field of work be it, professional athletes, superstar entertainers, and other famous celebrities are not enough to guarantee that you will continue to live comfortable lives in the future. A misconception out there suggests that huge income guarantees financial freedom.
Fame and fortune do not make you more financially literate. The opportunity of having more money does not mean you will make better financial decisions, without an intervention and a serious commitment to financial education. Your number one goal as a celebrity is to invest in financial education through an advisor or management team.
Many stars who are going through financial challenges now reached this point through three major avenues; Marriage legal tussles, tax issues, and overspending.
We all know the story of one time great Boxer Mike Tyson. During his career as a boxer, it is estimated that he won the sum of 400 million dollars. Despite this huge amount of money, Tyson wasn´t able to manage their finances and in 2003 filed bankruptcy because of its great debts. In fact, today he lives in a modest house renting in Phoenix.
This singer Toni Braxton gained most of her popularity in the nineties for the hit “Unbreak My Heart”. The six-time Grammy award-winning artist has filed for economic failure twice. The second time, the debt she owed to some companies -including AT&T, Tiffany and The Four Seasons-was around more than 50 million dollars. Even worse, her financial troubles resulted in her losing the rights to 27 of her songs. Her last album was released in 2010, without achieving great sales records. These financial problems, plus her lupus diagnosis, allowed her to be the star on her own reality TV show.
Finally, the Italian design duo, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, were accused of tax evasion in Italy in 2013. Apparently, they failed to report 1.3 billion dollars to the authorities. After the trial, they were found not guilty by Italy’s highest court, but the pair still had to pay 343.3 million euros in fines.(Above examples were picked from Premier Consumer.org)
The above examples point to the fact that, discussions on financial education for Celebrities and sportsmen is very important. In Ghana, we continue to find similar mistakes.
In the late 90s and early 2000, we had celebrities who were well to do and flashed their wealth all over the place. Ranging from footballers to boxers to movie stars to television personalities. Yet, we find some of them living modest lives due to wrong investments and frugal living.
The purpose of this article is to touch on how we can teach the new crop of celebrities’ basic money management skills.
Let me start by saying that, any celebrity without a qualified financial advisor among his or her management team is destined to fail!
The mission of managing our finances requires some organizational skills, ability to prioritize needs and wants as well as discipline. Deficiencies in these areas can cause financial problems with long-lasting effects. Choosing the wrong financial advisor is as bad as managing your finances yourself. For example, Dionne Warwick’s publicist blamed her financial troubles, marked by a bankruptcy filing and a huge tax debt, on financial mismanagement in the ’80s and ’90s.
Popular Business man Robert Kiyosaki, and author of the award-winning book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” has even employed a personal financial advisor for guidance when it comes to his investment in real estates.
With the above foundation laid, what can our celebrities do differently today to reverse this unending tide of financial challenges?
Live within your means: The tag celebrity does not immune you from the harsh realities of life! Every celebrity should learn to manage their lifestyle and purchases in accordance with their current income levels. Whether you have an income of GHS 20,000 or GHS 2 million a month, if you spend more than you make, you will be broke. We have many broke stars simply because they failed to accept this easy fact. Lifestyle competition in the celebrity industry coerce some to go beyond their boundaries. Competition is only good for improvement purposes.
The fact that you are Morning show host does not mean an equal level of income across stations. The salary add ons are different. The promotional opportunities are different. So what your colleague in a similar position can afford, you may not! Over stretching yourself to look like others will only lead you into selling your hard-earned assets in the future.
Your car, house, wardrobe, etc. should match your level of income. Do not compare yourself with Asamoah Gyan whiles playing for Accra Hearts of Oak with all due respect.
Make financial decisions based on future incomes not current alone: Financial decisions by celebrities should be based on earnings needed over their lifetime. A million dollars seems like a lot of money until you try to make it last for 40 years. This is not the case in most scenarios.
Decisions are made based on how much we earn today without consideration of how much we will earn in the future. Let us take a related example. We all agree that most footballers reach their footballing peak from the age of 23 to 30 years. It is an open secret that they make most of their income from wages, sponsorship deals and add ons within this period.
This is likely to drop after age 30 until they retire. Any financial decision made within this period without consideration to after retirement can lead to severe money struggles.
With experience and little research, I can say with few reservations that, income levels of most footballers drop by almost 70% when they retire. Income levels of most musicians drop by 50% after a hit song. The potential constant income after retirement for footballers has to do with advertisements. However, with time, most of these companies will like to sign on new trending stars to the neglect of the old stars.
These are the realities of life. Deciding to, therefore, buy an expensive building amidst its maintenance at your peak should be well considered. The money for maintenance from your current status may reduce or vanish in the next 5 to 10 years. Will you be able to successfully manage this house or car when you retire or wander in the wilderness without any hit song?
Celebrities should not create a lifestyle based on what they can afford at their peak income potential, as if what goes up, must go up. As a result, they are unprepared when their income drops, or is eliminated altogether.
In case you have not noticed, celebrities get pay cuts, laid off, chronic illnesses and fired, just as we do. Being famous does not stop their bills from coming–in fact, it could be argued that bill collectors and creditors come for them even harder than they would for the average person.
Celebrities who are able to avoid bankruptcy tend to live relatively modest lifestyles. The rest tend to follow the examples of the ones with the multimillion-dollar homes, the most expensive car they can get a loan for, and huge appetites for shoes, clothes and other high-priced consumer goods–only to face foreclosures, repossessions or worse–like the former NFL star reportedly selling clothes to meet his child support obligations.
Hire a good financial planner: I hinted this point in my introduction. Celebrities need good financial advisors who will give them directions towards financial discipline. A financial advisor can help you to take a loan to buy that flashy car and pay within a period of 5 years. Hitherto, you will pay for that same vehicle now and end up drying down your liquidity. The financial advisor will do a cost-benefit analysis on investments you may want to try be it real estate, transport or commerce.
Whiles you maintain your talent manager, do same for your finances. Never mix the two. Your talent manager should not be allowed to manage your finances. It is not proper for accountability purposes.
The recent financial challenges in Ghana brought to bear some wrong investments by our celebrities. The question is, who did they discuss these decisions with? Their ignorance friends?
Their families? Your financial advisor should even regulate how much you donate towards a foundation and projects as a celebrity. Your financial advisor should do endorsements screening!
In the midst of the financial advisor, take a personal interest in financial education. Spend time reading about financial stuff online and programs. If you are too busy to learn, others will also be less busy stealing your money!
Learn to just say NO: Only a few of us have the discipline to say no to ourselves. We allow money to burn holes in our pockets or purses just to have the latest kicks, smart phone or other ego-boosting status symbol. More painful for many celebs is that, they too often don’t say no to the friends, family members, and others who will gladly spend their money for them, if you let them. Celebs need to live according to a budget, so they can make money decisions based on their agenda, not the desires of others.
It is also a reason why having a trusted qualified financial advisor is important. All you need to do is to send funding requests from your friends and relatives (and enemies and strangers, if you are rich and famous), to your advisor and let him be the bad person. You do not pay him to make the decision. You pay him to say no, and to take the blame for standing in the way of your boundless generosity.
The same family and friends will throw shades of insults on you in time of future financial challenges. Wise up!
Huge income without corresponding financial plan and advice will lead to bankruptcy!
I wish everyone a wonderful and memorable week!
Patrick Baah Abankwa is a chartered banker with over 5 years experience in main stream banking having worked in various capacities. He is currently at the Branch Manager Position of his institution.
He has been a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana with a good membership standing since the year 2013.
He also holds EMBA and BA from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science, Technology, and the University of Ghana respectively.
Patrick is the originator of the daily epistle dubbed “Savings Tip of the Day” which has been running for over a year on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Patrick has also been teaching on the Topics Savings, Investment and Financial Independence for over 2 years and a research fellow for ILAPI Ghana. He runs a financial channel on Youtube by name “Patrick TV Gh” and has appeared a couple of times on the business segment of TV3 News 360.
Patrick is into youth facilitation and counselling. He can be contacted via email@example.com and or 0243984492.
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