No One’s Immune to Money Problems: How Three People Who Had It All Went Broke
We’ve all heard the statement that money will never buy you happiness. Our usual response? Well, it sure wouldn’t hurt. While it may help, the fact of the matter is that money problems happen to everyone, even people with millions.
The number of people who have more money than they could ever imagine only to end up broke a couple years down the road is astonishing. We all say that would never be us. Unfortunately for 90% or more, it would be. It doesn’t matter if you have $10,000 or $10 million your habits are your habits.
Today I want to share with you some stories of people who in most of our mind’s had it all. They had the homes, the cars, and anything else you can think of. These people I’m sure never thought they would obtain the amount of wealth that they did. But they truly reached the .01%, for a short time at least. This, of course, didn’t last and I’m willing to bet they never would have thought they’d be penniless in the end.
First up is a name that most of you will be familiar with: Johnny Depp. Most famous for his role in Pirates of the Caribbean, this actor has been in the business for almost 30 years. Johnny’s specialty is playing characters that are mysterious and sometimes sinister. The problem was that Johnny didn’t separate his work as an actor from his personal life.
For example, in Pirates of the Carribean Johnny played the infamous Jack Sparrow. A rough yet clever pirate who loved his fix of wine. Unfortunately, Johnny wasn’t just acting when he would drink a bottle for the movie. In a recent Rolling Stones interview Johnny admitted to spending over $30,000 a month on wine. JUST WINE. For most, this is more than your annual salary and he is blowing it on alcohol.
His excessive spending didn’t stop there. Homes, cars, and jets all added up to Johnny’s demise. In all, Johnny owned 14 homes. These included places in LA, France, and even a chain of islands in the Bahamas. The total bill for this added up to just over $75 million, pocket change for Johnny at the time.
Johnny had two purchases though that stand out as just outright crazy. The first was a whole town. Yes, he bought a town. It has everything a town needs including a church. He is currently trying to sell the whole thing for $63 million. The second purchase was for his friend Hunter S. Thompson’s funeral. This wasn’t any normal funeral though with the highlight being Hunter’s ashes blasted into the air with a custom-made cannon. To be honest, that’s pretty awesome. But at the cost of just over $3 million, I think I’ll pass.
All in all, Johnny has blown through a fortune just over $650 million. Most of us will never even be able to comprehend how much money this is. Unfortunately, this has led him down a road of drug and alcohol abuse as well as lawsuits against his former management company. It’s just the first example of dozens of Hollywood stars who have had it all and ended up broke.
Athletes aren’t immune to losing it all either. While doing my research, I wanted to pick someone most people would be familiar with and Mike Tyson seemed like the perfect fit. Some of you know him from his boxing career while others just know he was in the movie The Hangover. A fun fact that you must know is that he bit a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear off in a fight in 1997. Yeah, it really happened. Back to his money problems though.
If you own tigers you better have a load of cash. Tyson had both, at least until 2003 when he filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. In his bankruptcy filings, Mike admitted to having over $27 million in debt that he could not pay. What didn’t make sense though was that he had over $400 million in earning from fights up to that point.
You may be asking yourself how this happens? Well, it’s simple and its something that you may run into down the road if you’re not careful. The only thing Mike did wrong was he didn’t live within his means. I’m going to take an educated guess here but when the first fight check came in with a whole bunch of 0’s on it all he could think about was spending it. This habit went on and on until it finally caught up to him.
You and I aren’t immune to this. Just because you aren’t making millions doesn’t mean you can’t outspend your means. In fact, most people still do in the form of credit cards. That’s another topic for another time, back to the storytelling.
The bottom line is Mike liked to buy expensive stuff but simply never pay for any of it. Foolproof plan until creditors come looking for their money. Some of my favorites are $13.4 million to the IRS, $800,000 to his trainer, and $51,949 in child support. The list of debts is literally over 50 line items long, but you get the point.
David Lee Edwards
Last but not least is David Lee Edwards. Who is David? Well before doing my research I had no clue either. With all the hype over the past month around the $1.7 Billion Mega Millions and $750 Million Powerball I had to include a story about the lottery. Like most people, I’ll occasionally play the lottery. I know I’ll never win and that it’s a waste of money. Even so, I enjoy the thrill and the chance to daydream.
David got the chance in 2001 to quit daydreaming and instead live his dream when he won the $280 million Powerball jackpot. It was the third largest pot in history and it changed 46-year old David’s life. You see David had no job and had told reporters that his friend had to actually pay to turn his water back on days prior. The dude was down on his luck.
That all changed one night when he bought a ticket where he actually picked the numbers. He claimed it was God’s work. Unfortunately for him, God didn’t stop his compulsive spending. Within 6 months he had bought a couple of sports cars, race hours, a jet, and three mansions. A year later and half the fortune was gone.
The spending didn’t stop there either. Drugs started coming into play, specifically cocaine and heroin. You’ve read stories like this before so I don’t need to explain what happens next. Remarkably David made his fortune last for almost 10 years before it was completely wiped out and he died penniless.
Wrapping it Up
Do you see why building habits are so important? Don’t get me wrong I want to have nice things and a tiger or two (not serious). I just don’t want to do this at the expense of risking everything. For every bad story like these, there are 50 good ones of people who have large amounts of wealth and do a great job managing it.
I want everyone who reads YD&NB’s content to be the person who can manage it. I’m not saying we’re all going to be millionaires but that doesn’t matter. Building strong money habits when you have nothing will make all the difference when you have started to accumulate some wealth. So which side of the coin do you want to be on?