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Nicolas Cage is broke – and you can be, too!

nick-cagePoor, poor Nicolas Cage.  Despite making millions upon millions of dollars over the course of his career, he’s in the poor house.  Of course, his poor house is a $10 million mansion in Beverly Hills, but do not judge him!  Because, of course, none of this is his fault whatsoever.  It’s the fault of his incompetent financial manager, who lined his pockets, didn’t file Nick’s taxes, and committed other sundry vile acts against Mr. Cage for which we should all be shocked and appalled.

Readers here often work for themselves, or aspire to.  Many, like myself, own their own business and/or are independent contractors.  Nick Cage’s unfortunate situation provides an excellent framework for how you too can get yourself in dire financial straits when you aren’t competent with your coinage.  So, if you want to be a floundering financial failure like Nicolas Cage, follow these easy steps:

1.  Trust someone else entirely.  Whether it’s a financial manager or accountant, trust them entirely, never learn anything about what they’re doing with your money, and never, ever, ever get a second opinion.  These people are paid to take care of your finances, and to second-guess them is a waste of your time and an insult to them.

2.  Spend, spend, spend. When you’re an independent contractor, and even more so when money and work in your industry can be fleeting, you simply shouldn’t waste any time being concerned about how you’ll pay your income taxes.  If you get a $10 million payday from making a movie (or a smaller one for developing an iPhone app or typing dictation) don’t even think twice that you might need that money down the road for obligations like taxes or for something practical like savings.  Instead, spend it, and spend it now!  If finances allow, you can even buy a $12.5 million, 24,000 square foot estate in Rhode Island (that Nicolas Cage has put on the market because he needs to have a fire sale to drum up some cash).

3.  Invest “glamorously”. Art and real estate can be excellent investments (if you make the right choices, buy low, and aren’t forced to sell before the value has peaked).  But this isn’t a life of “ifs”.  What other investments can land you in the society pages or in Architectural Digest?  It’s just so much fun to bring your fancy friends over to your new estate with its new helipad and wax poetically about your new sculpture, its history, and what a great ‘investment’ it is.  After all, mutual funds and savings accounts are so pedestrian, and it isn’t nearly as sexy to show off a financial statement.

4.  Blame someone else.  Finally, eventually, your money mismanagement and shortsightedness will catch up to you.  You won’t have money to pay your taxes and you’ll find that your money manager, who you trusted implicitly and never verified his work, did some really stupid stuff (because it’s not *his* money, after all) and you lost a ton of cash.  The real estate market might tank and significantly lower your net worth, and when you find you do need money you have to have a fire sale and sell at a loss.  But, this is NOT your fault!  You had a supposedly great manager, who was supposed to take care of all these things for you!  You are busy, and important, and simply cannot be expected to spend the time worrying about the minutiae of things like your financial well-being.  So throw blame!  And sue!  And go on national television and give interviews about how you are a helpless victim and that none of this was your own doing!  Everyone will sympathize with you!

Or, not.

Let poor, sad Nicolas Cage be a lesson of what not to do when you’re an independent contractor.  Save your money.  Pay your taxes.  And always stay at least partially involved in the management of your finances.  You aren’t too busy – it only takes one unscrupulous/incompetent financial manager or accountant to literally ruin your financial well-being.

Buried in Credit Card Debt?


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