financial lessons from prince

Dvorkin On Debt: A Prince-ly Sum

The groundbreaking musician Prince died one month ago, and only now do I have something to add.

You might think, “What can a CPA and a personal finance expert possibly have to say about the death of this famous singer, guitarist, and songwriter?”

My answer: Not much about his music, but quite a bit about his money. We can learn three financial lessons from Prince’s life. One is an example to follow, the other two are things to avoid…

Lesson 1: Work for yourself or others, but work

Like most pop stars, Prince’s time at the top of the charts was brief. He kept his creative juices — and his income — flowing by writing music for other artists. From  “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinead O’Connor to “Love Song” for Madonna, Prince was the genius behind many other singers. (Check out 11 songs you didn’t know were written by Prince.)

Too often, I counsel hard-working and talented Americans who have gotten laid off through no fault of their own. They get so discouraged looking for the same job they had before, they don’t apply their talents in other ways and in other fields.

Lesson 2: Budget for good times and bad

Only after his death did stories of Prince’s financial problems emerge. According to reports, his biggest problem was not planning ahead…

The primary way Prince made money was concerts, but our sources say the singer was so impulsive he would do shows on the spur of the moment with poor planning and little promotion. Although many were successful, enough of them weren’t … causing him to lose a fortune.

This is a common problem I see in the suddenly wealthy. They strike it rich with a business idea or their art, and since their success happened so fast, they continually believe their next success will also come quickly. So they no longer put in the hard work that got them where they are.

Budgeting isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. Check out’s Money Management section for making it painless yet lucrative. If Prince had followed these concepts, which apply to rich and poor alike, he wouldn’t have had so many money problems.

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Lesson 3: Plan for when you’re gone

The most recent news about Prince’s death has happened just in the past week or so: He had no will.

Because of that, his sister Tyka has sued to get access to her brother’s fortune, and the entire mess has ended both in court and in the tabloids.

TMZ has reported…

We’re told in the 5 years leading up to Prince’s death, it was virtually impossible to get his signature on any legal document. Sources who worked with Prince tell us, he felt “screwed over” by people who had him sign deals in his younger years, and that made him “paranoid” to sign anything.

I know how hard it is to figure out complex documents like mortgages, wills, and contracts. However, that shouldn’t stop you from getting this crucial paperwork working for you.

My recommendation? Consult an objective expert. That’s why I launched Figuring out the differences between debt management and debt settlement, or how an income-based student loan repayment program differs from an income-contingent program is enough to make you as distrustful and procrastinating as Prince.

That’s why you should check out this site and even call one of our trained counselors at 1-888-472-0365. The call is free and so is their consultation. Whether you’re a pop superstar or a business professional or a proud parent, you need to talk to people you can trust.

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