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Why your favorite celebrities are going broke


In the recent past, Ghanaian veteran actor Sam Adjetefio, aka T.T of Taxi Driver fame, has been begging for help. Despite his meteoric rise to fame through popular tv Program Taxi driver in the early 2000’s, Sam is Unable to pay his rent and fund his daily life bills.

In a viral video, the star who is fast falling from grace to grass reveals that life has been handing his blow after blow. With the threat of poverty shredding into pieces any sense of pride or dignity left in him, Sam is begging for 3000 cedis to cover his rent, failure to which he will get kicked out of the apartment this coming September.

While some Ghanaians sympathized with him initially and contributed, now, the pleas for help have become one too many. The good Samaritans will to help has run dry and trolls have taken over. Jokingly, some have asked him to surrender to prison for free food and accommodation.

This turn of events is not unique to Sam. It is happening to many celebrities. This is because it is often believed that people who work in the creative industry all make a ton of money, enough that one might think they are set for a lifetime of comfortable living. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.

More than once, we headlines have hit on how the fortunes of the famous vanished into thin air.

One of the key undoing of celebrities is their lavish lifestyle and poor spending culture. While fame can be exhilarating giving one a celebrity high, many tend to forget that there is always a younger and fresher talent being churned out daily. As such, one can’t be famous forever. Even if the fame sticks, the fortunes dwindle due to competition.

Once a celebrity is past their hay days, all their poor spending habits, lack of budgeting and inadequate investment creeps up on them and catches up.

Rex Omar, the president of the Ghana Music Right Organisation (GHAMRO) blames this unfortunate series of events on lack of financial literacy for creatives.

“When it’s your moment, you make a lot of money. The hype gets into your head. You are deluded to think it will last forever. This leads them to make mistakes. Financial planning mistakes, spending mistakes buying expensive things they done need, investment mistakes such as buying luxury cars instead of asset classes such as real estate that will appreciate over time.”

Omar also disputes the public assumption that all celebrities are well to do. According to Omar, 80 percent of artists cannot solely depend on dues from entertainment for survival. Further Omar disproves the one hit wonder assumption stating a single hit can make an artist popular but cannot change their fortunes overnight and make them rich.

Like any other business, diversification of income streams in showbiz is key. An artist should be able to make money from the music they make through streaming platforms such as YouTube, make money through performance, copy rights and intellectual property and through social media through partnering with relevant brands for influencing and advertising.

“Build a reputable brand. As an artist, let your music speak for you on the stereo. Use social media platforms to build up on that. If your brand is reputable and your work is successful, brands come running to you for partnerships. Look at Sarkodie working with Standard chartered bank, Joselyn Dumas with DSTV, Eugene Kumai and Stone boy both have mobile phone brand ambassador deals.”

Question is, when the fame translates to fortunes, how do you invest wisely to ensure longevity? Victor Tandoh is the Head of Corporate, Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC) Investments believes smart investing is the only way to stay financially afloat.

“The only way we can correct financial indiscipline is financial literacy. Understand money, how to earn money, how to spend, how to save and where and how to invest. Many work for money but do not understand how to make money work for them. Some are unfamiliar with the principles of inflation; they do not understand the principles of investing money. Some people do not know the difference between savings and investment so the best way to check financial indiscipline is to inform yourself.”

One key thing to check financially according Tandor is budgeting and having a savings plan. This is because fame only lasts 15 seconds.
“The financial management plan for the people in the art industry should be simple. Pay yourself first. Second, cut out unnecessary expenditure. Third, make a saving and an invest plan. Fourth, do not become an income distribution centre and finally live within your means.”

According to a report by PWC, Ghana’s Entertainment and Media (E&M) industry has more than tripled in value since 2013, with the total revenue reaching $752 million in 2017.

The arts, entertainment and recreation industry in Ghana employed over 11 thousand employees in 2018. The majority worked in the gambling and betting sector, while the creative, arts, and entertainment activities accounted for some 25 percent of employees.

According to Statista, music accounted for 6.4 million dollars while cinema accounted for 1.4 million dollars. Internet takes the lion share accounting for 957 million dollars.


By: Francisca Dickson Arhin

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