It’s hard to imagine having millions of dollars one minute and then nothing the next. There is an assumption amongst most people that a lottery win or any other sort of financial windfall will ensure you never have to worry about money again, but that’s not always the case. The super rich have shown us that it’s very easy to spend millions of dollars and blow your millionaire status in just a few years.
As we shall discover, it takes some doing, but it is not unprecedented for the super-rich to become the super-poor.
The American Idol presenter is unique, in the sense that his story is not one of simple “rags to riches”, but rather it is a “rags to riches, to rags, and then to even more riches.”
In his 20s, Simon was a record producer on his way up in the world. He had a lot of money, nice cars, nice houses, and some great prospects. Then, like many young people before him, he made some terrible decisions. These included the group Girl Thing, a manufactured girl group he created and then pumped a lot of money into, trying to turn them into the next Spice Girls. The project failed and cost him a fortune, but it wasn’t his only failure.
Before long, Simon was under a mountain of debt. He lost everything and had to move back in with his mother. At that point, his story could have ended and it would have been like the tragic stories of many formerly rich producers before him. However, Simon turned it around. He stayed in the pop business and his first stroke of genius was to create the Pop Idol show in the UK.
This spawned some respectable musical talent, but more importantly it gave Simon a springboard. From there he created shows like X Factor, American Idol, and Britain’s Got Talent, all of which became global brands. As well as starring on the shows as a judge, Simon owns the rights and he franchises them all over the world, making a bundle in the process. When you factor in the acts from these shows that have signed deals with Simon’s company, including stars such as One Direction, then you begin to understand just how monumental his wealth currently is. He may have lost everything, but he bounced back to have more money, more fame, and more respect than he ever had.
Nicolas Cage is a good actor, but one whose reputation has been tarnished by some terrible films. You can’t dispute his acting prowess in films such as Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona,and The Rock, but when you add to this films like the remake of The Wicker Man, 8mm, and Ghost Rider, you have to question his choices.
However, it seems that Nic Cage had very little choice. To say he has expensive tastes would be an understatement. In the past, he has bought castles, private jets, islands, sports cars, and exotic animals as if they were baseball cards and he was an avid collector. Although he was once earning more than $40 million a year, it seems he spent the cash as quickly as he earned it.
Add to that all of the back taxes that he was ordered to pay in 2009, and you have someone who needs to earn tens of millions of dollars just to maintain his lifestyle, which means that he needs to star in terrible films in order to collect paychecks. These days, Nic doesn’t earn nearly as much as he used to, and nowhere near as much as he could be earning if he had stuck to quality scripts and had become the sought-after actor he could have been.
Nicolas is by no means broke, but he is still paying back big debts and is one or two missed paychecks away from declaring bankruptcy.
Mike Tyson was far from being the people’s champ that Ali was, but he was still a very respected boxer with a mean right hook. He was the Mayweather of his day, because if you wanted a big PPV fight, he was your man. Over the course of his twenty-year career, it has been reported that Mike earned over $400 million, which should mean that he still has a few piles of cash burning a hole in a savings account somewhere.
The heavyweight champ was never very good at saving though and in 2003 he filed for bankruptcy, declaring debts in excess of $23 million. This is partly down to extraordinary spending habits, which tends to happen when someone goes from having nothing to having everything. However, his divorce is also partly to blame, as that cost him a hefty lump sum, and he also owes a significant amount in tax.
Mike has done his best over the years to generate some extra income. He has starred in a few Hollywood films, including The Hangover series, and he also released a memoir in 2013 and a TV series after that. However, it seems highly unlikely that he will ever return to the sort of wealth that he used to have.