Personal bankruptcies are on the rise in the United States. Seven hundred and seventy thousand individuals have filed for bankruptcy over the past six months. According to CNN Money, another 1.6 million Americans are expected to file before the year is over. One of the primary reasons that most people list as filing for bankruptcy is having too much debt. High levels of debt and a low amount of savings is the perfect recipe for financial distress. Living below your means is not just a problem for the average Joe, but for celebs as well.
In Pictures: 9 Ways To Go Bankrupt
Let's take a look at some formerly wealthy celebs who have found themselves in financial distress:
The baby Baldwin brother filed for bankruptcy in 2009 because of debts totaling over $2 million dollars. Baldwin owes mortgage lenders, credit card companies and Uncle Sam for back taxes. Baldwin has resorted to appearing on shows like "I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" and the "Celebrity Apprentice" to raise cash. There is even a website started by a Baldwin fan that is attempting to help Baldwin regain his previous financial status. While the actor's career never seemed to take off, his spending habits surely did. (Learn more about celebs who left the spotlight in From Celebrity To Working Stiff.)
Do you remember the movies "Houseguest" and "Jingle All The Way"? Well, Sinbad is sure hoping that you do. The comedian turned actor has only $50,000 in total assets and debts totaling between $10 million and $50 million dollars. Wow! That's a lot of debt. Sinbad owes over $8 million dollars in back taxes alone. Sinbad had been trying to sell his home before potentially losing it to an IRS seizure.
Mark Brunell was a three time Pro Bowler in the '90s and the second best left-handed quarterback in the NFL right behind Steve Young. The former Jacksonville Jaguars star QB invested in a number of different real estate ventures that have led him to the brink of bankruptcy. Brunell has made over $50 million dollars during his playing career. He currently has $5.5 million in assets and $24.7 million dollars in liabilities. (Learn more about athletes' post-sports careers in For Athletes, Is There Life After Sports?)
Screech from "Saved By The Bell" isn't the only '90s sitcom sidekick facing financial problems. Aames is best known for his childhood role in television sitcom "Eight is Enough" and "Charles In Charge" sidekick Buddy Lembeck. Aames was forced to sell off all his possessions in a garage sale last year to raise cash. Aames is on the road to recovery with a career as a financial planner
The former Oakland A's slugger who busted the lid off of the steroid scandal is struggling to remain financially solvent. Canseco was once the most feared hitter in baseball and the first ever player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season. Now he has resorted to amateur mixed martial arts fighting to try and pay the bills. He walked away from his multimillion dollar mansion due to his inability to make the payments. Canseco has sold everything from World Series rings to personal appearances just to stay afloat, however he has not filed for bankuptcy.
The Bottom Line
Looking at these '90s stars can be a lesson, not to mention a warning, for us all. Everyone from Major League sluggers to popular actors have proven that it's not about how much money you make, but how much you keep.
Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: I-Spy, IPOs And iPhones.