Judging from the e-mail response I have gotten from my article on Michael Jackson, there seems to be some more interest in celebrity debt.
What can I say about celebrity debt? Not much more than was said in the previous article. There are some interesting points though where people get caught in the same situations as celebrities (actually it is the other way around). Ed McMahon was involved in a lawsuit over mold in his house when construction workers were working on his own house and he won a settlement for several million dollars. There were stories about him also having money in offshore accounts though I don’t know anything more about that other than it was a report.
What I do know is that Mr. McMahon did have a huge cash burn each month and in his own words stated that after having a lot of ex-wives, an expensive mortgage and having his income stream diminish it was pretty easy to see in hindsight that he was in debt.
A lot of celebrities get into trouble with the IRS and end up having their property seized and sold for back taxes or, like Willy Nelson, work years to pay off their debt and get back into the black and making money.
We don’t have to be in a position where we are living beyond our means. All it takes is that we start reeling in the spending and start cranking up paying off the bills that mount up each month and slowly and then hopefully a little faster later on, the debt shrinks and eventually goes away.
This may not be the case at the national or state level because of all the leveraging that we are doing but for the average person even though it may take some doing, a person can get out of debt.
Similar to celebrities, the average person these days may not know where his or her next job may be coming from. In the case of a lot of people, they are working part time hours or for short term gigs. That has been the story for most actors for years and often times even the highest paid celebrities drop down into out-of-work status once in their lives at the very least.
The tip we can take from them is that the ones that bounce back try to reinvent themselves. John Travolta was a superstar, out of the limelight for years and came back around the time of Pulp Fiction and Broken Arrow. It happens and with time and patience, people can change and make a living.
One thing that I haven’t seen a lot of is celebrities making the change into manufacturing. Sure there has been outsourcing of production of designer clothing lines but that kind of business usually goes out of the country. I am talking about celebs going ahead and starting up and continuing businesses here in the United States. There isn’t a shortage of labor and we definitely have the resources to get things done.
Going back in time, there are dozens of television celebrities who have died without a lot of money. From the television show, Bewitched, back in the 1960s, the actor who played the “first Darren”, Dick York, who spent time also arranging homes or places for the homeless to stay in. Medical bills when one gets older afflict both the famous and us regular joes and that was an issue that affected Mr. York.
I’ve often been asked – even be told – that I would make a lot of money later on for celebrity wannabees if I help them out now for free and that when they hit it big later they would take care of me. If you want to make money in show business, you need to start a laundry business near the apartment buildings that actors are living. It is very hard to break through and make a living where you can support yourself as an actor.
I generally smile when people propose payment later on for an offer to hitch a wagon to their star. I would rather, as John Dillinger (I hope it it was him that said it), “Take the cash and let the credit go.”
In this current climate and economy it is better to take the cash and payoff your credit cards before you let them go.
Before I forget, I am looking to take on new clients for the upcoming income tax season. If you have any issues or want me to see if your tax professional who did your return previously did a decent job, please drop me an e-mail or a post. The information and requests will be kept in confidence. Please include your name, phone number along with the best times or dates that I can contact you.
Have a great day and week people!
June 29 2009
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Kim Isaac Greenblatt
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