Just ask Chris Tucker. Or Nicolas Cage. Or the artist formerly known as Kanye West.

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I was thinking about Chris Tucker the other day. I’ve never met him, but I loved his acting as the comedic cop in the Rush Hour movies with Jackie Chan.

MSN recently reported that the movie star is only now beginning to claw his way out of personal debt. Tucker went from being paid $50 million for those Rush Hour movies to owing the IRS $14 million that he didn’t have.

As MSN reported, Tucker still has a Georgia estate home with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms on 13,000 square feet. And while there’s a tennis court out back, this is still a step down from his highest-flying days.

Reporters haven’t uncovered the exact reasons for Tucker’s financial woes, and he’s not revealing them. But if he’s like other celebrities, there are only a couple of reasons, and often it’s both of them…

  1. Not keeping track of what you earn. When you don’t pay attention, you often don’t pay enough income tax. The IRS doesn’t like that.
  2. Not budgeting what you spend. When you get handed a check for many millions of dollars, it’s easy to think it’ll last a lifetime. It often doesn’t last a decade.

Debt.com has compiled a list of other celebrities who went from banking millions to declaring bankruptcy. These included Kanye West (now Ye), Nicolas Cage, and Charlie Sheen.

It’s not just actors and musicians, though. My friend Don Silvestri is president of Debt.com, but in his youth, he played in the NFL. He’s publicly spoken about the young NFL players who were handed checks for millions of dollars – without anyone guiding them about how to save or invest those huge sums.

Sports Illustrated has reported, “By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress.”

Whenever I tell people about the rich and famous who have become poor and infamous, they usually react in one of two ways.

  1. Some feel very depressed because they’re struggling financially, too. If celebrities earning millions can’t make it work, how can I?
  2. Some feel very upbeat. They’re not making millions, but even at their current salaries, they have more in the bank than their favorite celebs.

I firmly believe in No. 2. It’s not how much you earn, it’s how wisely you spend.

Of course, I’m not talking about 580,000 Americans who live in poverty. That’s a huge societal problem that all of us need to work on. But there are millions upon millions of Americans who make enough to live a full life and provide for their families. It’s not always easy, but it’s doable with just a little effort.

If you’re already mired in debt – whether it’s a steep credit card balance or an upside-down auto loan – you can get professional help to get back in the black as fast as possible. Then you can get even more professional help to learn how to never fall back in the red ever again.

If that sounds too good to be true, then you need to know this: Don and I have personally counseled some household names who were facing financial catastrophe. We can’t reveal who they are, but they had earned some hefty paychecks and were burning through them faster than they expected. We got them on the right path before they ended up on MSN, with their financial problems splashed across the Internet.

If we did it for them, we can do the same for you. Just as fast, just as quietly, and just as effectively. Don’t believe me? Call Debt.com at (800) 810-0989 for a free debt analysis from a certified credit counselor. They’ll treat you like a celebrity.

For more information, check out: debt.com/vicki

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About the Author

Vicki Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson

Before Vicki Gunvalson starred on Bravo TV’s hit series “Real Housewives of Orange County” – which launched the franchise in 2006 – she was already a financial expert. Gunvalson has owned and operated Coto Insurance for three decades. Based in Irvine, California, Coto has been ranked among the top 1 percent of insurance companies nationwide, with more than 10,000 clients in those 30 years. Coto’s success helped Gunvalson become a member of the Million Dollar Round Table – which represents the top life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 70 countries. She continued to grow Coto during 16 salacious years on the hit show and subsequent celebrity projects. But it wasn’t just Coto that has earned Gunvalson praise and awards for her financial acumen. Licensed in every state not just as an insurance agent but also a retirement specialist, she has made it her mission to help people – especially women – become financially independent. She has partnered with Debt.com to help even more of them. “I’ve counseled thousands of Americans who experienced their own melodrama – over money,” Gunvalson says. “Debt.com is in some ways exactly like me – and in other ways, unlike me. We both care deeply about getting good people in better financial shape. But unlike me, they do it quietly!”

Published by Debt.com, LLC