It’s true. A lot of singers go BROKE!

By Michele Thorne, GTA Instructor

At some point during every cycle of GTA, I ask the group if anyone wants to give a quote and picture for the GTA social media pages. One of my more engaged students immediately volunteered.  I asked if she wanted to do a video and she said yes.

Here’s what she said. Meet Ashley.

I thought it was great. Not only because she recognizes this problem among talented professionals in her desired career, but also because she is taking what she’s learning in our class to heart so that she can make different choices.

The reality is, having money isn’t the confusing part, its what you do with it that comes with so many consequences. Here’s a story I’m sure you’ve heard…singer explodes onto the scene with a hit song, get’s a lot of money, spends a lot of money and then goes bankrupt. There’s one singer that comes to mind…he’s one of the world’s most famous singers to go from rags to riches back to rags. His name is Stanley K. Burrell.

He was unquestionably one of the most popular singers of the 90’s whose priorities just spiraled out of order. He went on to declare bankruptcy due to some “bad” decisions and spent 14 years of his life paying it off. The world knows him as MC Hammer.

Unfortunately, the list goes on to include many, many other singers that have had serious financial problems. Some of them eventually get it together, but many are still paying off debts. I’ll spare you all the details of all their financial woes but the list includes some of the most successful singers of the world like Marvin Gaye, Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, Lionel Richie, Toni Braxton, Roberta Flack, Robin Thicke, TLC, Michael Jackson – and the list goes on and on throughout every genre of “celebritydom”.

Many of these folks simply lacked “perfect” information claiming they “just didn’t know”. Not knowing turned into serious consequences that either compounded their debt, made bad deals worse or failed to curb impulsive social status spending. So, I’m really glad Ashley is thinking about these things.

However, singers aren’t the only ones getting it wrong. The average individual debt in the United States has reached record highs and is still climbing. The average American either owes money on a house, a car, on stuff or on education – in most cases Americans owe money on all four.

But the fish stinks from the head. In just one year, the total debt of the United States has grown almost a full trillion, it’s expected to keep growing and the weight of the outcomes of these past bad financial decisions are impacting all of us.

I’ll spare you the diatribe but the point is, so many teenagers like Ashley are just starting their adult lives and the economy is an absolute mess. I feel for them. I feel for all of us. Thing is, Ashley knows that she can make different choices. She’s open to learning the tools that can frame the complexity of decision-making and begin to think strategically about the future impact of her choices.

There are a lot of factors to consider and whether she makes the best choices for her financial life will be revealed in time but I’m super excited to know that she’s at least giving it some serious thought.