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