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Do you really expect celebrities to invest wisely?




What’s easier, shooting fish in a barrel or making fun of famous people losing their money?

If most of us live lives of quiet desperation, the media turns up the sound for the loud ones. And nothing gets louder than rich-man failure in America.

Show business people losing money isn’t new. You’d be more surprised when smart money people do it.

First the AARP sample.

  • Why pick on Nic Cage?

Here’s a Hollywood actor with one of the great names in Hollywood history, Nicolas Coppola, but he uses Cage to avoid the coattails of Francis Ford Coppola.

Now AARP blames him for being a poor money manager and buying castles and cars and art. If you know what the view looks like from the gravy train, report in. The guess in these parts is no one ever thinks that train will ever slow down. When it did, baby boomer Nic sued his money manager, who sued him back.

Remember, this is the man who married Elvis’s daughter after her divorce from Michael Jackson. He’s a bit of a collector, even likes haunted houses, but he’s getting better.

  • Annie Leibovitz borrowed $24 million? In 2005?

Today she’s selling her $33 million property for a new price of $29.9 million. If you want a city place with sixteen rooms and thirteen wood burning fireplaces, this is the one.

Getting wood delivered is probably extra.

  • Burt Reynolds needs help?

If you’ve got a big life, it takes big money to keep up. How big? If you have to ask…but here’s Burt giving up a Florida house. And he’s a Florida guy. Not good.

Calling your place Valhalla probably doesn’t help.

Then smart money guys take a hit from one of their own money wizards.

Others have lived large and fallen hard, but no one pushed harder than Bernie Madoff. His reward of serving a 150 year prison term comes from the work he did blowing smoke at the smart money guys.

AARP has a nice piece on the man who cracked the case, but his victims deserve a nod.

Besides banks and investment firms, Mr. Madoff put a hand in individual’s pockets too. Did Nick and Burt get tagged? Did Annie?

Before getting to the people, the biggest loser in Madoff’s scheme was named Fairfield Greenwich Advisors. Their loss: $7.5 billion. Further down the list comes Fairfield, Conn.’s town pension fund. It lost $42 million. Is there a worse name for the losers? You hope for better when you’re named Fairfield, maybe something fair.

Richard Spring, a former securities analyst, lost $11 million. On top of his loss, he introduced Madoff around his social circle so they could lose money, too.

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon lost, but won’t say how much. Deadspin makes it sound huge with Wilpon’s seventeen accounts when Madoff went down.

Just below Mr. Wilpon sits Steven Spielberg, who also opts out of saying how much he lost. Money is so crass sometimes.

ABC News quotes the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffet with, “Only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”

Lawrence R. Velvel, a co-founder and Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, is also the founder of the American College of History and Legal Studies. And naked swimmer?

It’s hard to imagine the amounts of money lost, or even people who have those amounts to lose. Why didn’t Bernie Madoff crash sooner than later? Fear.

Smart people make smart decisions other smart people follow. When names that sound like drug cartels and Mafia members come up, smart people quiet down. Or disappear.

AARP pointed their money finger for the rest of us to enjoy, but were also smart enough to include an article on how to protect your parents from financial fraud.

Thanks for that. At least you’ll keep Cyrus the Virus out of the picture. We don’t need to see John Malkovich and Nic Cage debate again so soon after Con Air.









About David Gillaspie
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