Although famous rapper Kanye West has earned $72 million in the past three years, according to Forbes, the 21-time Grammy award winner, fashion designer and actor said he has $53 million in debt. While Kanye’s spending habits and lavish lifestyle aren’t uncommon among superstars, he is turning 39 on June 8 and nearing his 40s, when financial missteps can be harder to rebound from.
To help him prepare for his best financial future, GOBankingRates talked to financial experts on their advice on how Kanye can better manage his money. Note that these financial advisors do not represent Kanye West.
1. Admit Your Debt and Curb Spending
“The first thing Kanye needs to [do is] accept that he is in debt and that he needs help,” said wealth manager and principal Kirk Chisholm of Innovative Advisory Group.
Even though Kanye’s potential annual earnings might be enough to fund his lavish lifestyle, his personal debt could be indicative of poor savings, a common problem among Americans. Without adequate savings, he might be unable to properly fund business projects.
“It can be challenging since entertainers and athletes frequently feel the need to impress others by spending their money like rock stars,” added Chisholm. Still, careers in the entertainment industry are notoriously unpredictable. It would be wise to scale down spending to prepare for a future with a decreased cash flow.
In other words, Kanye West shouldn’t be keeping up with the Kardashians.
2. Buy a Smaller House
With a $20 million mansion in Hidden Hills, Calif., and other properties across the U.S., Kanye West is due for a downgrade.
“One easy way to chop off a chunk of debt would be to sell his ‘cheaper’ mansion,” said Andy Josuweit, CEO of Student Loan Hero, a website that helps student loan borrowers repay their debt. “This could cut his debt load by 20 percent right off the bat.”
While many celebrities maintain more than one residence, “Being limited to a $20 million mansion doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice,” Josuweit added.
3. Focus on Core Competencies
Kanye’s foray into fashion has been less than profitable, due primarily to prices that have been ridiculed as too expensive. His Yeezy Season 3 line, for example, featured a destroyed sweater costing over $2,200.
Jim Wang, founder of Wallet Hacks, said, “[Kanye] needs to shed himself of a lot of the other things he’s spent his money and energy on — like his clothing line. Shut it down, sell it, move on so you can focus on your true calling — music.”
4. Generate Passive Income
The Kanye brand might be worth more than Kanye the man. If properly harnessed, “This means he can easily correct course with the responsible use of future income,” said William Lipovsky of First Quarter Finance.
“He needs to channel future income into debt repayment plus income-generating assets,” Lipovsky added. Kanye’s current income stream could be more than enough to both pay down existing debt and acquire assets that can support him long after his career ends.
5. Get Expert Financial Advice
Financial advisors can help Kanye develop an overarching plan to get out of debt, build assets for the future and raise capital to fund future entrepreneurial endeavors.
“You don’t have to know everything, but you should know whom to speak to about specific areas of your financial life,” said Jason Vitug, founder of Phroogal and author of “You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.”
Kanye’s financial plight isn’t all that different from that of many Americans — it’s just his debt and income levels are much higher. Like Kanye, “People in the U.S. spend money before they have it, then repay it later with their salary,” said Chisholm. Instead, he said, Kanye — like the rest of us — should be doing the exact opposite.
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