A lot of folks have discussed the fact that Toni Braxton, a phenomenal singer whose melodies can make your heart shed a tear, recently filed for bankruptcy relief. Again.
Sure there was gossip and rumors about Ms. Braxton’s spending habits – but was this really a case of spending out of control? Or was it all just Lies, lies, lies?
Seems like it was the latter. Like many people who find themselves choosing bankruptcy – life can frequently take unexpected turns that leave your pockets dry and empty. In an interview with Black Enterprise, Toni Braxton revealed the true nature of her financial woes – and I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to her story.
For example, ever have a dream that you put your heart and soul into? Ever have a dream you pour your entire being into that…just did not work out? It happens. I can tell you from experience. Ms. Braxton experienced something similar as a young singer with a dream of singing her way into the future.
Due to the awesome power of her vocal chords, Toni sold more than 40 million records when she first came out. This should be no surprise to anyone who spent fifteen seconds listening to her sing.
However, due to the nature of the contracts she signed as a young artist – she only earned a big, fat check of $2,000. Yep. That’s right – and no I’m not missing any zeroes. She earned two thousand dollars.
When asked about the rumors of her spending habits, Ms. Braxton responded:
People were reporting things like I bought Gucci flatware. Yes, I treated myself, and it was only $500. If I bought 1000 count sheets, they were from TJ Maxx for about $49, so I wasn’t living extravagantly. Yes, of course I spent money, but when you consider that an artist makes 4 to 7 cents on the dollar for every album sold and they have to pay back $20 million to the label for all the money that was spent to create, promote and sell that album, then, yeah, chances are you’ll end up in a whole lot of debt.
Suffice it to say that you can’t believe everything you hear. Life happens – and so does debt. The question is, will you allow yourself to be buried by your debt or will you take control of the situation and use the tools available to you to dig yourself out of the hole so you can start again on firm ground?
Now Ms. Braxton actually ended up having to file for bankruptcy twice. While many were willing to look past the first filing – a lot of people were shocked when she filed her second bankruptcy petition. She served as fodder for comedians and was the butt of too many jokes.
But the truth was a lot less humorous.
Life Happens … Again (Wash, Rinse, Repeat…)
Despite the misfortunes leading to her first bankruptcy, Ms. Braxton bounced back. She used her own money (i.e. no investors) to fund a music-based business venture that was poised for success. But then like many Americans in the prime of their lives – she got sick.
So sick in fact that she had to cancel her business venture and break many of her contracts. But since she used her own money to fund the venture, when it fell through she was back in the same position: unable to pay for her mounting expenses and once again staring bankruptcy in the face.
You should know from reading these pages that medical bills rank as one of the top reasons for why people file for bankruptcy relief. Unemployment or failed business ventures are also part of the top 5 reasons for why people file for bankruptcy.
In fact, if you know someone who is dealing with some combination of medical issues, unemployment or marital problems – it is a safe assumption that that person may be considering a bankruptcy filing at some point in the near future.
But Braxton did not allow her life to stop there. She refuses to be defined by her financial situation – and you should not either. She made her bed and she laid in it. But she did not stay there – she woke up refreshed and ready to start again.
Now as the star of the reality series The Braxtons, Toni is using her second third chance to set her financial situation back on track. Personally, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll be successful in doing so.
Resetting Our Priorities & Patterns of Thinking
So the next time you find yourself facing financial trouble, remember that it does not have to be Another Sad Love Song. Take some time to Breathe Again (heck, take Seven Whole Days if you need to) and remember – all is not lost. Like Braxton, you may find yourself down – but you most definitely do not have to be out.
A lot of people who work for a living believe that bankruptcy is a bad thing, a negative mark and something that they should be ashamed of. But people who grow money for a living don’t have the same beliefs. When they reach financial difficulties that they can’t get out of – they go to their financial tool box and pull out the tools necessary to fix the problems. Bankruptcy is frequently one of the tools that they use.
They are right.
Look, bankruptcy is a tool to help you fix your financial situation. The wealthy and financially sophisticated see bankruptcy as just that – a tool. The don’t ascribe positive or negative attributes to it – it’s just a tool. Much like your hammer or saw are tools without positive or negative characteristics. A hammer is neither good nor bad. The only time a tool is bad is when you use the wrong tool to fix the problem.
I’m sure they’d rather not have to file bankruptcy. But if the situation requires that tool – then bankruptcy becomes an intelligent way to fix the problem. Once the bankruptcy is over, they get the fresh start they need to start building wealth again.
Sound off in the comments. Were you surprised to hear about Toni Braxton’s financial troubles? What do you think the every day person can learn from stories like Ms. Braxton’s? Why do you think working people believe that bankruptcy is a mark of shame – but corporations and the wealthy see it as a useful tool?
photo credit: kindofadraag
Liked This Post? Then You Should Check Out These Too!: