Nicolas Cage and the Financial Ruin Blame Game
In any aspect of your life, all final decisions and actions taken would always be to your discretion which means that ultimately all responsibility falls solely on yourself especially in financial terms. Whether or not you have employees or advisers hired, these people are merely there to assist you. Placing your fate into their hands is the ultimate form of irresponsibility. Many may get the erroneous notion that when you hire people, they will be the ones to run the show for you and that all you have left to do is provide them with their paycheck. What most fail to understand is that employing others will disseminate the tasks but management must remain hands on to a certain extent. After all, this is YOUR money we’re talking about and not theirs.
When your business or money management goes bad, you must never resort to blaming your staff or financial advisers. The notion that the “blame game” is even remotely a possible option gives us a false sense of reduced responsibility thinking that someone else will do something about it or take the fall in our place. The famous Nicolas Cage is a perfect example of this fatal mistake. Raking in millions from numerous box office hits the American actor, director, and producer was notorious for his spending habits which literally cost him his fortune. But instead of owning up to his mistakes Cage decided to sue his financial adviser, Samuel Levin, for allegedly causing his financial ruin.
Nicolas Cage an Oscar-winning actor with over 90 screen credits to his name, born on the 7th of January 1864 in California U.S.A., was the son of a literature professor and a choreographer. His original name being Nicolas Coppola, through his father he is a nephew of the acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola, but wanting to make a name for himself he changed his name to “Cage”. At an early age he aspired to act and at the age of 16, dropped out of high school to pursue an acting career making a television debut in 1981. He has then starred in several films including Ghost Rider, Leaving Las Vegas, The Rock, Face/Off, City of Angels, Con Air, Face/Off, Adaptation, Sonny, Shadow of the Vampire, The Life of David Gale, National Treasure, Kick-Ass, and Knowing just to name a few, raking in numerous awards in the process thus becoming one of the highest paid Hollywood actors.
According to his former financial manager and several sources, Nicolas Cage blew his $150 million fortune on a string of extensive and often eccentric purchases. Cage was into some peculiar collections namely dinosaur skulls, albino King Cobras, a famous haunted house, a pyramid tombstone, and shrunken Pygmy heads. Cage was also known to have purchased two Bahamian islands for private use. He was a collector of extremely expensive luxury items and spent his money on high ticket purchases including two castles, the Shah of Iran’s Lamborghini, 15 personal residences, 30 motorcycles, 50 cars, a Gulfstream jet, a flotilla of yachts, a squadron of Rolls Royces, as well as countless jewelries and art that cost millions of dollars. Apparently he also fancied some unusual animals keeping a crocodile, a shark, and an octopus as pets. The one item he purchased that appreciated in value was the first Superman comic. Cage bought it for $150 thousand and was able to sell it at the record setting amount of $2.16 million.
A lien against Cage from the IRS was filed on 2008, for his debt on the 2007 tax year, which he was unable to pay upfront. The lawsuit brought to light the full extent of Cage’s bleak financial situation which he claimed to be unaware of. In order to pay the $6.6 million in back income taxes together with interest and penalties, he had to undergo the the foreclosure of several properties and was forced to sell major assets and investments at a significant loss. According to Cage in an exclusive statement for PEOPLE “over the course of my career I have paid at least $70 million in taxes, unfortunately, due to a recent legal situation, another approximate $14 million is owed to the IRS,” the $14 million was a result of back taxes from years prior to 2007, dating way back 2002.
In spite being fully aware of his own compulsive self-destructive spending, he refused to simply accept the consequences which he brought upon himself. Cage instead sued his former financial adviser for $20 million, with the accusations of negligence and fraud. He claimed that his former business manager, accountant, and adviser Samuel Levin was the one who failed to pay the taxes when they were due causing him to suffer catastrophic losses according to Cage’s lawsuit, Levin “lined his pockets with several million dollars in business management fees while sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin”.
The actor claims that Levin has irreparably tarnished Cage’s reputation for failing to alert him to the fact that his money was running out and that he has over-extended his lines of credit with banks, all of which Levin denied whilst filing a counter-complaint demanding $129 owed by the actor for recent work. In the former adviser’s filing it was said that he did in fact inform Cage that he was living beyond his means and urged him to spend less, repeatedly, and “warned him that financial disaster loomed if he continued to spend uncontrollably,” and that Cage had full knowledge of his debt having signed each check for every monetary transaction. The lawsuits were soon settled, but the terms remain confidential and Cage hired a new manager shortly after.
Although Cage was obviously reluctant to admit his mistakes, and up to this day he still denies having foresight to his demise and still insists on blaming Levin, but the good thing is it served as his necessary wake up call. “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of being human, some people say you have to be a sinner before you can be a saint” Cage stated on an interview with Good Morning America. According to him, he is under new business management, all of his debts will be paid back including any to be determined state taxes and he will see to that his tax duties would all be fulfilled responsibly starting 2009.
Learning from the past, Cage is now living a relatively modest life and confessed that doing so has made him happier compared to when he was constantly going on spending sprees. This newfound peace is evidently rooted in a sincere desire to spend more time with his family. It could all have been avoided had he educated himself financially and heed to Levin’s advice but there is no use to crying over spilled milk – like everyone Cage deserves a second chance and it is never too late to change one’s ways. I hope we could learn from his story as much as he has, take this as a cautionary tale which comes with these three main points: avoid unnecessary luxuries, educate yourself with financial literacy, and never assume that your wealth will take care of you forever if you fail to do the same to it.
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