Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rich People Gone Broke - Jerry Lee Lewis

The Personal Finance Bloggers Network Group Writing Project is talking today about Rich People Gone Broke. There is certainly a watching a train wreck mentality when rich people lose everything that people like to watch, but the one thing a lot of people don't do is learn.

Jerry Lee Lewis (of Great Balls of Fire fame) has been a fantastic performer since the 1950's. He kept company with the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, and you can be sure that he had a lot of money. 
He also spent a lot of money on drugs, cars, instruments and houses. It's rumored he once set a Steinway Piano on fire during a Great Balls of Fire performance. He certainly wasn't frugal. 
He also didn't keep up with his taxes and eventually was hit by an unpaid tax bill for $3.75 million. Financially, he was ruined. 

What he did was pick himself back up, get into the studio to make a new record, and settled with the IRS. Through hard work, he managed to continue a successful career and get his life back on track. He's never stopped touring.

Granted, he had the leverage of being a celebrity with the ability to make more money than most people, but he also owed more money than most people. The lesson to be learned here is that when you've made big financial mistakes in the past, and when it's all caught up with you, if you knuckle down and work hard instead of pulling the covers over your head, you can certainly fix it. 

Everyone makes mistakes, we're human and we are prone to err. But most of us don't err to the tune of $3.75 million. It can always be worse!

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