Sunday, 5 July 2009

Michael Jackson - Lessons About Money And Wealth

Michael Jackson aka "The King of Pop" was an incredibly gifted pop star and will forever remain an icon in the eyes of his fans who so revere him. However, there's no doubt he was also a rather troubled individual.

He made millions of dollars with his music but it was also clear that he was not adept at money management. In fact, he has been described as "a millionaire who lived like a billionaire".

Jackson may have had lots of riches but he also accumulated massive debts and, as for wealth, there were many areas in his life where he lacked wealth. And, one of the reasons Jackson agreed to the comeback "This Is It" tour was he needed to raise cash.

But Michael Jackson was not healthy. He was frail both mentally and physically and many people, for whatever reason, seemed to ignore the signs that his well-being was in serious decline.

When you hear reports that he was underweight and taking a variety of drugs on a regular basis it makes you question what kind of medical examination could declare him fit period, far less fit for such a strenuous undertaking as this proposed tour.

You need to be in tip-top physical shape to be able to withstand the rigours of the entertainment business. And it was not like he was going to sitting on a stool to serenade his audiences. No this was meant to be a high voltage comeback tour. This level of performing will find your Achilles heel and take you out if you're not properly prepared.

And while Michael Jackson obviously loved to perform, he had no need to ever perform again. He created such a body of work - a wonderful legacy that will live on, thrill, awe and inspire entertainers and other people for generations to come.

So, getting back to the lessons about money and wealth that can be learnt from this saga. Basically, at age 50, Michael Jackson decided to go back to work. Now don't get me wrong, I love entertainment and if artists want to go on performing well into their later years I applaud them but not if they're obviously not cut out for the physical and mental rigours required for this level of performing.

So here's the thing we all need money in order to survive in this world but if you don't learn how to rule money, money will rule you. Money cannot buy you happiness but the lack of money can cause a great deal of pain. As Ayn Rand said:

"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver."

And it's not even about the amount of money you make - it's the amount of money that you keep that counts. Throughout our lives a great deal of money will pass through our fingers and those of us who learn and practice money management skills and who are disciplined with regards to money will get to keep a larger proportion of that money.

Now while it's important to accept responsibility for the management of your money you don't have to do it all yourself. You can hire individuals to help you manage various aspects of your finances.

So decide the age that you wish to 'retire', set goals for your retirement and work diligently towards achieving your goals. And ensure that when you reach your 'retirement' age you can simply live your life as you choose.

Ideally, you'll already be following your passion and so it's unlikely that you'll just live out the rest of your days chilling out on some beach or whatever else takes your fancy. Instead, as you reach your designated retirement age your life will evolve into a new and even more exciting phase.

For a contemporary example of this just take a look at Bill Gates who is now able to focus his efforts on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And while even donating money has its challenges there's no doubt that Bill Gates is enjoying these new challenges as well as working together with his wife in a new and exciting way.

Michael Jackson also donated generously to many charities but this is not about philanthropy. It's simply about having the financial freedom to live life on your own terms and to be able to dance to the beat of your own music.

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