The death of pop singer Michael Jackson is a huge loss to the music world.
Less easy to understand is another type of loss: in the music icon’s personal worth. Associated Press reports that he died with $400 million in debt.
What gives? Jackson’s debts are just the latest examples of similar trysts with bankruptcy for many other celebrities. Think Elton John and Mike Tyson.
We offer four very tentative explanations.
One, entertainment and sporting stars hit gold at an age when they do not have the maturity to handle millions.
Two, they earn fortunes through talent rather than hard work and intellectual ability.
Three, celebrity earnings tend to be volatile: Windfalls are followed by sudden ends to careers. Hence, they find it hard to estimate life earnings and then take sustainable spending decisions.
Four, celebrityhood has to be maintained by lavish lifestyles that keeps stars in the public eye. Else, their market value declines.
Take your pick.