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Making money seems to be relatively easy in the United States.  I guess that’s why individuals seeking refuge from their respective countries of origin migrate here.  With our love of singing, sports and entertainment, many people find that talents which were of no use in their home countries (or even home cities) can suddenly propel them to the top of society.  No.  With the right talent and drive, making money is not a problem.  Keeping it, however, seems to be a major one.

I cannot help but consider the many athletes and entertainers who accumulate vast wealth during their lifetimes, only to die destitute and penniless years later.  Of course, there is no ONE reason for this trend.  It is a combination of trusting the wrong people, living above one’s means (no matter how big the means in question are) and not planning for the future.  I also cite back taxes, unfamiliarity with tax shelters and laws—laws that somehow don’t apply to them (you know who they DO apply to), poor investment choices and possible addictions as some of the main causes.

I cannot tell you how often I have seen it happen.  A young entertainer rises to the top of the musical charts.  He continues this trend for a number of years to the excitement of all, including his record label.  Then, with little to no explanation other than a few disparaging reports in the tabloids, he disappears from the spotlight after music changes course and/or the discovery of the next Idol.  Just a few years thereafter, he makes headlines once again, only this time it is because he is sick, dying and broke.  Yet, somehow, the Executive with the dark blue pants and the white shirt—who, mind you, has never sung a single song—has managed to maintain the wealth he received as a result of the entertainer’s efforts.  Somehow, the Executive manages to own the original tracks—tracks which, once again, he neither wrote nor performed—of the former artist such that all royalties, rights etc., associated with this entertainer belong to the him.

How is this possible?

To some extent, one must blame a lack of understanding.  Many people simply do not understand the intricacies of finance and live as though the high times will continue forever.  As someone who has watched the lives of many young entertainers and athletes end in ruin, let me tell you, they will not.  And the only way to weather the storms ahead is to gain the understanding and knowledge of how to use wealth to accumulate more wealth; that is, diversifying one’s interests so that other forms of income will continue to come in, even if the main career goes down.

That being the case, I suggest that rather than simply focusing on gaining wealth, we open ourselves to the benefit of financial education.  Just a few business courses can be the difference between rising and falling and rising and maintaining.  Can anybody hear me?