With respect to my namesake, Michael Jackson was both a hero to business savvy music artists and a nightmare to creditors.

The New York Times, along with many other outlets have started playing the speculation game about the financial mess the now deceased legend has left behind.

It’s been estimated that Jackson has earned as much as $700 million over the span of his career. But instead of coasting on his fortune and inching towards billionaire status through shrewd business investments, Jackson instead spent several of the last years of his life moonwalking from store to store spending money as if he hadn’t amassed an estimated $300-$500 million in debt.

While I agree with those who point out that his financial portfolio was asset heavy, his liquid assets were as dry as the Sahara. Moreover, he used his much touted stake in the Beatles catalog and his own publishing as collateral for additional loans.

It’s likely his estate will maintain ownership of both catalogs; however, the fact that Jackson put those assets at risk speaks volumes to his discipline when it came to his personal finances.


If you recall the 2003 British TV documentary, “Living With Michael Jackson,” you know Michael’s spending habits can be best describe with footage of him shopping saying, “I want this…this…this….this…this…this.”

Needless to say, it would behoove all of us to forgo building our own theme park, buying expensive art pieces as regularly as we do toilet paper, and flying across the world with a chimp named Bubbles.

I imagine that so long as a proper financial team is put in place, Michael’s debt will be cleared over time and his estate will generate millions upon millions for decades to come.


Still, how sad is it to see the world’s greatest entertainer who also made some of the best deals in music history die with a credit rating that could only net a loan from a pawn shop?

Though his financial matters speak nothing to his creative genius and charitable spirit, how did Michael Jackson’s his excessive spending, inconsistent financial team, and blasé attitude towards his personal finances influence your own attitudes towards money?

Please leave your comments below and share your own stories of financial mishaps with me by emailing therecessiondiaries@gmail.com.



Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.