The King of Pop – in Debt Before Death
Michael Jackson is one of the most popular entertainers in the world, a music legend we all know of – the best selling music artist of all time who at the peak of his career was a multi-billionaire. He was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter dubbed as the King of Pop. Even after his passing his popularity hasn’t faded, in fact he was the best-selling music artist on the year of his death. Unfortunately according to multiple sources, when the King of Pop passed away he was almost $400 million in debt.
It’s a shame that even someone as iconic as Michael Jackson met a tragic financial fate; which is why precaution is necessary in finances. His contributions to music, fashion, and dance along with his publicized biography made him a global figure in pop culture for over four decades. He enjoyed a chart-topping career both as a solo artist and as a member of the Jackson 5. Let me give you a brief insight of the ups and downs of the King of Pop’s life.
Michael Jackson was born from an African-American family on the 29th of August 1958 in Chicago as the eighth of ten children. His father was a former boxer turned steelworker, and his mother was an aspiring country and western performer but ended up working part-time at a department store to help support the family. His father performed on guitar with a local band to further supplement the family’s income, performing local rhythm and blues. Their father’s passion for music drove the man to force it on the siblings.
The King of Pop had a troubled childhood. His father was physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive. During the siblings’ rehearsals their father often sat in a chair with a belt in his hand and would beat them up if mistakes were made. The whippings were harder on Michael because he was younger. Although Michael claims that the beatings helped discipline him and played a huge role in his success, he openly admitted in an interview that his dissatisfaction with his appearance, nightmares, chronic sleep problems, hyper complacency, and childishness even in adulthood were effects of the maltreatment he has endured.
As a child, Michael become the lead singer for his family’s group, The Jackson Brothers, also known as The Jackson 5 or The Jacksons which was formed by his father in 1964. Overall, 23 of their released singles were included in the Billboard Top 40, with the first four titles claiming the top spot. In the early 1970s, Michael was already beginning to emerge as a solo performer. He evolved into a teen idol and went on a solo career while still maintaining ties with the Jackson 5.
The staggering success of his solo album Thriller, with the sales of around 65 million copies, marked Michael’s true beginning as a solo artist and the end of The Jacksons leaving the group in 1984 which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Michael’s success as a solo performer in the music industry was astounding, releasing one hit album after another.
His troubles began in 1993 when he was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13 year old boy. A case was filed but Jackson decided to settle with the family outside of the court for $22 million stating in documentation that he admits to no wrongdoing and no liability. It was Lisa Presley who urged him to undergo this settlement and to go into rehabilitation out of her concern for his faltering health and drug addiction.
They got married soon after but the marriage ended in less than two years. According to speculations, the relationship could possibly be just a failed stunt aimed to boost Jackson’s sagging record sales. In 1995 Jackson’s album sales disappointingly plummeted amid a costly $30 million publicity blitz. Jackson’s second marriage was with Deborah Rowe in 1997. In 1999 the couple divorced where Rowe received an $8 million settlement and a house in California. Michael was granted full custody of their two children.
Michael’s dwindling income was problematic as he never adjusted his spending habits, kept spending like an actual royalty. Jackson routinely hands each of his children thousands of dollars for their entertainment. It is estimated that in the years close to his passing, he was spending over $20-30 million more than he earned per year failing to live within his means.
Adding to this is the expense from years and years of court battles where the fees mounted endlessly during the time when he didn’t have enough income to both pay them and maintain his lavish lifestyle. In the year 2005 the case known as People vs Jackson arose where a second child abuse case was filed against Michael. He was charged for molesting a 13 year old boy, he trial spanned 18 months with a not guilty verdict.
Known for his insane shopping sprees and child-like disregard for the importance of money, nearing the end of his life in a financial crisis he was dependent on his rich friends and even his bodyguards who have claimed they had to buy gas for his car. Michael died of cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009 leaving a debt of almost $400 million.
Michael Jackson’s life reveals some important lessons for individuals that desire to achieve and maintain financial freedom. No matter how much you earn, you can lose it all without proper financial management. Choose to spend your money on investments that offer a long-term value rather than on things that would only provide short-term pleasure because these investments will be the ones to support you when the time comes. It is possible to enjoy life without living above your means, set your priorities straight to secure your future.
Here’s to your success!