We live in a quick moving world. We watch others live the fast life, and we often desire the same. But as the saying goes, ‘easy come, easy go.’ While it’s not just society’s fault, and while we see people make millions and acquire the lifestyles that accompany it, each one of these elements, plus others, have fed into financial immaturity.
ESPN’s “30 For 30: Broke” recently touched on the astronomical percentage of athletes who end up with nothing. According to Sports Illustrated, 60% of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. For the NFL, two years after they walk off the field, 78% are under financial woes. But, athletes aren’t the only ones living outside of their comfort zones, or to impress those who won’t help once it’s all gone.
When is enough, enough? If you grew up with nothing, does that imply you will never learn how to keep anything? Music glorifies it, but there isn’t much good that comes from blowing money fast.
The strip club theme songs, flashy cars, lavish gifts, and once in a lifetime trips, are an almost hourly recurrence on the radio stations from ATL to L.A., and back. But the rented mansions and clothes the stylists will return once the shoot is done should actually show an up-and-coming entertainer that many of their realities are actually just the opposite. And while we aren’t what we listen to, we become engulfed in things the more we hear it. Even “YOLO” insinuates that living for now far outweighs planning for tomorrow.
Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is also the life code of some of the biggest names out there. Chances are, the hot artist that millions love now will someday run cold – once the shows stop, singles fail to catch a buzz, and they don’t make the most of fame while they have it. Many miss the business side while chasing success; from starting other ventures to starting to learn money management, they don’t take heed to what they should. Then they are left with stacks of bills and still plenty of people with their hands out for the last bit of money they’re attempting to hold onto.
Some familiar names in music such as Toni Braxton, TLC, MC Hammer, and Young Buck, have all had face the ugly side of the music business known as bankruptcy. While they aren’t the only ones, the sad fact is they probably won’t be the last ones either. When you enter a world where everyone has all the most exclusive things, things become your focus. You work hard the same way they do, you put in hours in the studio, you start from the ground up, so now it’s time to stand up and show the world all you have. Actually it’s time to hold on tight to every penny, so you can count them after the spotlight dims.
At any income level, the only way to ensure that you’ll continue growing wealth is to spend less than you earn. That sounds simple enough – basic, if you will – but is one of the most complex principles in entertainment, from the looks of it. Fame isn’t easy for some, and the price tag can be heavy, to the point of breaking one star after another. Yet and still, several houses, way too many vehicles, and cute women who make even cuter babies, keep putting those on TV and stages in the same predicament. Much of nothing leaves nothing. Living a dream shouldn’t end in a nightmare. At some point, these celebrities should use some common sense – or borrow some. After all, that’s better than having to borrow money.
It’s always easier from the outside looking in, but when are those on the inside going to start looking at what fame could be doing to them? It’s never any of us until it hits home, or until that home is taken away.
Tawni Fears is a freelance writer and contributor to AllHipHop.com. Follow her on Twitter (@brwnsugaT).