Celebrity Financial Illiteracy: $55 Million Jet That Spells Stupid, If True
First it is true, with the artist and aides quoted by TMZ, and today (after someone must have said this is the most stupid decision, or hype, ever articulated) the world is being told it is "all just rumor." Okay, I will accept that it is just a sad rumor and say "thank you."
That said, hypothetically "if" it were true, this would have qualified as one the single most unintelligent financial decision I have ever heard, from someone in their right mind.
The math doesn't even work. He made by some estimates approximately $6 million last year, and then turns around and purchases a $55 million jet, with four liquor bars and marble floors? Of course this cannot be true. And I cannot believe that anyone who loves and cares for him, would ever give him this advise or otherwise allow him to do it.
So, let's again assume the rumors are untrue, and that somehow TMZ got it 100% wrong, even after confirming from two sources and having the singer himself hyping the purchase on a radio show. Okay, fine.
But this unfortunately is absolutely true, and potentially offensive to the millions of Americans who are dealing with foreclosed homes, no jobs, and shattered dreams across America; he spent an estimated $300,000.00 on his BIRTHDAY PARTY this week. A birthday party.
Are you kidding me? Aren't millions of Africans literally dying right now trying to cross the desert in Somalia, looking for water?
You are a brilliant talent, complete with good common sense. Translate that immense talent onto your intellect, in turn recognizing that anyone can become successful for a moment, but not so many remain so over time. My mentor is Quincy Jones. Look at THAT legacy for guidance. He has been in the game for 50 plus years, has a net worth that would shattered office building windows when he closes his wallet, and he often flies commercial. Quincy defines smart as sexy.
And so, if you want to survive this business you are in, and to become more than the latest artist with "15 minutes" of fame, even if it is a long 15 minutes, then you need to understand this, and quick; you are not a rapper sir, you are a businessman. And your corporation just experienced a $300,000 one day theft against you and your family's future financial sustainability.
Respectfully, you have been pimped, punked, pilfered, lifted, and financially sucker punched, all at the same time. I am sure that the hotel, the limousine companies, the liquor companies, the valet company, the countless vendors, and most everyone else that smiled and took a check from you on this occasion, are simply ecstatic. Ecstatic. And they will not return your call when you are dead broke.
Everyone, you heard it from me first, right here. Financial illiteracy is the new modern day slavery.
If you don't understand the universal language of money, and you don't have a bank account, you are an economic slave. Quoting my hero Ambassador Andrew Young, "to live in a system of free enterprise, and not to understand the basic rules of free enterprise, must be the very definition of slavery." Financial literacy is the new civil rights issue, and Operation HOPE and others are helping to lead a new silver rights empowered generation.
The urban celebrity culture that has so much impact on our youth, should be leading this movement, not representing the need for it.
Onward and with HOPE
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama.