Lending Club Blog

4 Personal Finance Lessons Courtesy of Charlie Sheen

So . . . Charlie Sheen. There’s not much to say except that someone should get the poor man some help before it’s too late to save him. If you’re not familiar with the story, thank the lucky stars you were born under. For the rest of us, well, we might as well learn from him since we can’t shut him up.

While there are a lot of life lessons we can learn from Charlie’s very public downward spiral, there are some things we can learn about personal finance, too. Hey, if he’s going to keep talking, we have to make the best of it, right?

1. There’s a Right (and a Wrong!) Time to Ask for a Raise

While Charlie’s life has been a bit of a saga for quite a while now, the current hullabaloo started when CBS postponed the rest of the season of his sitcom, Two and a Half Men, because Charlie was in rehab and seemed to be living erratically. In return, Charlie made some public allegations about the producers. They went back and forth several times, and the network ended up cancelling the rest of the season. Now, Charlie (who, at $2 million an episode, is already the highest paid TV actor around) says that he will not go back to the show unless he gets a raise – to $3 or $4 million per episode.

If I were his boss at CBS, I would laugh in his face, and your boss will laugh at you, too, if you ask for a raise when the company is struggling (especially if you had a hand in causing that struggle). There are good times to ask for raises, not-so good times, and downright terrible times. If you’d like to make more, look for times when the company is succeeding overall, you’ve had some recent personal successes, and people are generally in a good mood.

2. Your Financial Decisions Affect Other People

Charlie’s actions didn’t only cost him his paychecks for the rest of the season, but the rest of the cast and crew lost theirs as well. While CBS did relent and offer to pay them for half of the cancelled episodes, that still leaves some people with significantly less income than they’d planned on. Charlie’s addictions and his erratic behavior don’t just mean that he’s making less this year, but could put some families in very difficult situations.

While you’re probably not going to be responsible for reductions in income for quite that many people, it’s important to remember that the financial decisions you make every day do touch others. If you’re part of a family and you make a large purchase without consulting the others, it might mean skimpy rations for a while or someone else foregoing something they really need. Remember that you’re not alone with your money, no matter how it might feel that way sometimes.

3. Spending Excessively Doesn’t Make You Happy

Charlie’s always been a party boy, so flying from Aspen to Vegas to LA and back to Vegas in a weekend isn’t unheard of. And back in 1996, he once spent more than $6,500 to buy most of the seats behind left field in Angel stadium, just so he would be able to catch a homerun ball (if one was hit that night, which it wasn’t).

I could go on and on about his antics, but I don’t need to. He has a lot of money and a lot of leisure time, and yet it’s pretty clear that he’s not exactly happy right now. We all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it’s another thing to see it in such an awful, public way. The next time you’re tempted toward excess, remember Charlie and maybe you’ll think twice.

4. Having Good People Around You Makes All the Difference

One of Charlie’s latest antics is to have not one but two beautiful young women sharing his home. And he’s had several very public . . . relationships, if they can be called that . . . over the last several months, sharing hotel rooms with up to several prostitutes at a time.  He seems to think that these women love him, and maybe they are fond of him, but they also seem to be rather fond of all the stuff he buys them… and the media attention, clearly.

Whether Charlie’s experiencing true love or not, the people he needs right now are stable and wholesome, not ones who are going to push him farther over the edge. And it’s the same for you, especially when you’re trying to make changes in your financial life.  If you surround yourself with people who spend, you’ll spend more, too.  But if you have people in your life who live simply because they know what really matters, you’ll be more likely to live that way, too.

That’s what I’ve learned from Charlie over the last several weeks. What about you?

Image courtesy of Poster Revolution.

Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Comments (16)

  1. Can’t believe Sheen’s debacle has so many applications to life
    lessons… even in personal finance

    March 4th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

  2. March Tatil:

    You should consider financial innovation outside of the US. Happy
    to see lots of movement in your country, but other countries have
    their own intrinsic economic and cultural challenges that is also
    prompting new ideas there.

    March 4th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

  3. Paul Paydos:

    Thanks Charlie…when next I make 2 mil a week….I still won’t
    follow your lessons ! How sad. But hey…the rest of us have family
    and friends…and you have prostitutes…who I’m sure love you
    dearly forever ! Get a life ! Odd post for this blog but well

    March 4th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

  4. The financial Cloud Stack is taking shape : Back End Will Still Be
    Dominated by the Banks though

    March 4th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

  5. Funny Conservative:

    Charlie Sheen’s cheese has finally slipped off his cracker. It is
    sad because “Two and a half men” was a really funny show. Let’s
    hope Sheen recovers from whatever his problem is.

    March 5th, 2011 at 3:19 am

  6. Allan Guadeloupe:

    Awesome read. Enjoyed it a lot. Way to make fun of a seriously odd
    situation with this gentleman, and at the same time, let us learn a
    few things about money. Thank you.

    March 5th, 2011 at 6:45 am

  7. Jerri R:

    How about “Don’t fuck it up if you have it good”. Thanks.

    March 5th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

  8. Benjamin Jarda:

    Ha! Very good take on the vomit-inducing situation with Sheen,
    loved it, carry on.

    March 7th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

  9. Darrin B:

    I’m starting to think Charlie Sheen has been running a long con to
    get out of that really bad show and still get paid a lot of money.
    THAT would be a financially safe move.

    March 7th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

  10. Suzzi:

    Maybe everyone should unfollow Charlie Sheen for International
    Women’s Day.

    March 7th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

  11. Glenn Scott:

    Why did Charlie Sheen threaten his wife with a knife? Because he
    left his gun in Malibu!

    March 7th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

  12. Mr Benavides:

    Charlie Sheen has a knack for knowing what makes people laugh. He’s
    just being himself and people are laughing it up!

    March 7th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  13. Wendii:

    Millions hear when Charlie Sheen gets fired. But did u hear that in
    Providence, RI, 1,900 of their teachers were fired? yeah, man,
    that’s sick. Now, those people are probably having to learn
    personal finance lessons the hard way.

    March 7th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

  14. Hah!. That was amusing. That’s the fifth time I’ve come across a
    blog post that uses Charlie Sheen’s situation like this: in a
    creative way to a seemingly unrelated topic. Interesting.

    March 7th, 2011 at 10:57 pm

  15. Louie M:

    If it’s not one thing, it’s another for Sheen. He just can’t seem
    to keep out of trouble. For me? I learned my lesson: having all you
    want is not going to make you happy, and yes, asking for a raise at
    the wrong time is a career killer.

    March 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am

  16. Boyd:

    Lol.. Charlie Sheen, what a joke! At least you got something out of
    it guys.

    March 11th, 2011 at 6:39 pm


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