Rapper 50 Cent, who wrote the hit album “Get Rich or Die Tryin,” today found out he won’t be getting rich anytime soon. In fact, he may be considerably poorer after declaring bankruptcy today.
…but then again, maybe not.
Unlike other stars who’ve pushed the bankruptcy button, like as M.C. Hammer, Walt Disney, or Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, this case appears to have more to do with defending turf than losing it. This isn’t a clear case of “another star overspends.” According to the New York Post, court documents show 50 Cent has assets of between $10M and $50M but also has debt of $10M – 50M. Those don’t show much of a case for bankruptcy.
Also, those numbers give us no clue how much he really is protecting, do they? Why so vague?
In truth, this isn’t a simple bankruptcy. Sure, either way, $10M or $50M is a lot of debt, but as they say, this onion has many layers.
What’s Really Going On
It appears that in this 50 Cent bankruptcy, he’s trying to avoid payment in a lawsuit filed by a woman who sued him for posting a sex tape online. She’d just won a judgement of $5M against 50 Cent. As part of those proceedings, 50 Cent was instructed to hand over a net worth statement and his tax returns for the last five years to the court. These detailed financial documents would help the jury calculate any additional damages 50 Cent would have to pay for the woman’s emotional distress.
What happened? Instead of documents, 50 Cent fired back this vague bankruptcy filing (including a statement that says he has between 1 and 49 creditors). I’d say that statement is probably 100% accurate, but once again, the 1 – 49 range gives us no clue into his financial prowess. How many people does 50 Cent really owe? It’s unclear, and I don’t think you have to be Sherlock Holmes to know that’s on purpose.
What Can We Learn?
I don’t want to comment on the court case or the sex tape, but on the personal financial front, you can see how important it is to have a strategy to protect your net worth. Bad things happen. Sometimes you bring them on yourself and other times they happen to you. Either way, when difficulties hit, you have to know a few things:
- Who are you going to turn to for help? Whether you’re for or against 50 Cent in this case, it’s clear he’s getting good, aggressive representation.
- What measures do you have in place to make sure you protect your things? On 50 Cent’s level, I’ll bet most of his assets are tied up in separate companies so that bankruptcy will cost him little, and he’ll maintain his empire. On a more basic level, disability and life insurance coverage provide this for the average person trying to stack either 50 cents or serious Benjamins.
- What will your actions cost? Putting a sex tape on the internet may have seemed like a great way to get back on someone…but now, 50 Cent looks to be paying for it in public opinion AND in the pocketbook. Even if the other side of this lawsuit doesn’t reach his money, his lawyers will take a big chunk. I promise.
While bankruptcy may seem straightforward to many….as a way to get rid of debts you cannot pay, I don’t think the 50 Cent bankruptcy case falls into that camp. This looks to be about control, protection and refusing to pay out a $5M judgement made against him in court.