50 Cents on 50 Cent’s Bankruptcy: Money Management is Not a Money Problem


Some thoughts inspired by the very public bankruptcy filing of 50 Cent, who, in better times, rapped about how he’d Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Which isn’t sounding so good right about now….

If we were to use Twitter as a baseline, the general reaction to the news could be summed up as disdain and mockery. How could he? What a fill-in-the-blank! I have 21 Questions about how a millionaire has to file bankruptcy! How is that even possible?

Except, it isn’t really much of a mystery, is it? No matter how much money you have, if you keep spending more than you earn (or are on the wrong side of multiple expensive lawsuits), you will run out eventually. If you don’t know how to manage your money you are likely to make (expensive) mistakes.

And most people are never taught how to manage their money.

What I find more shocking and offensive than 50 Cent’s bankruptcy, is that every year students graduate with very expensive degrees having learned about World Civilization, English Literature, Philosophy and Chemistry but rarely a word about how to manage their money. Or worse–how to pay off all the student loans they took out to fund said education.*

If you take a step back, 50 Cent probably isn’t all that different than the rest of us.

Whether you are In Da Club or picking up kids from school or another example of normal people, your money is finite. 50 Cent was living dangerously close to the edge of his means. He was living in the moment. Until something unexpected (and expensive) happened — in his case, lawsuits — and suddenly he found himself under water.

No amount of money makes you immune from needing to save for a rainy day. No amount of money provides security without solid money management.

This is why, at YNAB, we consider our primary and most important product YNAB’s Four Rules. Yes, we are a software company, (and our software is beautiful and absolutely the best out there.), but more valuable than our software, is the understanding and application of our core philosophies.

I don’t know 50 Cent, but I’m guessing he never learned how to prioritize. YNAB’s rules would have taught him. I’m guessing he thought he’d always have enough money to throw at a problem. YNAB’s rules would have prepared him to deal with any number of his 99 problems (Oh, sorry, wrong rapper) and make adjustments when necessary.

Whether you’ve got ten, ten-thousand or even ten-million dollars (or even just 50 cents. See what I did there?), you need a budget. Just keep it simple and prioritize with those four simple rules. I think you’ll find yourself better off (and less stressed) than you ever thought possible.

*This is precisely why we give our software to all college students for free. Full details here.