The Financial Lessons of Kanye West (Who Is $53 Million In Debt)

When the biggest rapper on the planet releases his first album in years, it's an enormous event.  When a rising star in the fashion industry debuts a long-awaited new clothing line, it's huge.  Kanye West is both of those people, producing critically acclaimed and chart-topping hits with every album he's released, while his shoes sell for $16,000 on eBay (please note, we do not currently offer 30-year-term sneaker loans).  Anticipation has been enormous, leading to Kanye selling out Madison Square Garden for a simultaneous album-listening party and fashion show.  One person who didn't have to wait is President Barack Obama, who invited Kanye to the White House to deliver a pair of his newest sneakers.

Thant's why it was so surprising to see all of that anticipation overshadowed by the news that Kanye is currently $53 million in debt.  That certainly raises some questions, so it's time to see what we can learn from "The College Dropout" himself, Kanye West.

1).  There's good debt and there's bad debt.

Since you were old enough to understand money, you've been taught that having enough money is good, having no money is bad, and being in debt might be considered an embarrassing tragedy.  but that's not necessarily the case.  you can use a loan to pay for an education, buy a home or open a business.  All of those options are good debt, because they can eventually make a profit for you.  Bad debt is what you carry for living past your means, spending money you don't have on things you don't need.  Kanye's debt, according to Vanity Fair, is good debt, because it represents his efforts to enter the fashion industry, which has notoriously outsized entry costs.  With his clothing line finally generating revenue, he'll soon be out of debt, and he'll have a very nice asset to show for it.

The mistake Kanye made was using his personal fortune to finance his dreams instead of finding outside investors.  If he had, he could have structured his payments better and had the financial infrastructure to avoid many of his problems.  If you want to achieve your dreams, whether it's debuting a home, starting a business, or going back to school, start by talking to us.  We have amazing (and free!) advice and a ton of options when it comes to loans to make the financial part of your dreams come true.  If you're stuck with too much bad debt, we can help you there, too.  Follow this link to find out how you can turn all of those high-interest credit cards debts into a single low interest home equity loan:  Info Here.

2). Find someone who believes in you, then collaborate willingly, honestly and often.

Kanye West began his music career as a producer working with Chicago acts, most notably, producer Just Blaze.  In "Spaceship," he described the surreal experience of having strangers recognize him from MTV while he was working retail to make ends meet.

Once he met Jay-Z, all that changed.  The two became close associates and collaborators, helping each other develop independent voices that defined popular music for most of the last 15 years.  Kanye helped create the chipmunk soul sound that defined the second half of Jay-Z's career, while Jay-Z brought Kanye into Rocafella Records as a rapper when other labels insisted he remain as only a producer.

You need someone to believe in you, and it helps if they can offer something you don't have - a unique perspective, a challenge or the means to help you accomplish your dreams.  We'd like to help with that.  If you're ready to take the leap on the next stage of your life or career, we've got resources to help you get there.  From scholarships, eBooks or even a loan for just about any mission you're planning to undertake, we've got something that can help.  You can find our scholarship information here, and see our amazing selection of loan products here.

3).  Money can't save your soul, but don't be ashamed to spend it.

When Kanye finally achieved commercial success as a rapper, his lyrics addressed the tension between personal fulfillment and the allure of wealth.  In "Can't Tell Me Nothing," for example, he tells his listeners "I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven, when I awoke I spent it on a necklace.  I told God 'I'll be back in a second, man, it's so hard not to act reckless," summarizing how appealing it can be to spend money on things we want, even when we know it won't make us happy.  On "Watch the Throne," he explained wealth can be an incredibly powerful force for personal happiness, as long as we use our money to be ourselves.  Kanye's lyrics celebrated how much freedom he felt by no longer trying to impress strangers.

What are you doing with your money?  Are you spending money to keep up appearances?  Have you ever made a financial decision based upon what your neighbors have? In "The Millionaire Next Door," author Thomas Stanley demonstrated that the most direct route from the middle class to being rich is to find a job that pays well, own your home and avoid the trappings of wealth.  So, figure out what you really want out of life and start making plans for financial security that include the things you want and don't try to impress people that don't really matter.

We can help you there.  Drop us a line at talktous@hcfcu4u.org, give us a call at 314-645-5851, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more great information about how to live your financial life.  We promise that our Twitter feed is more coherent that Mr. West's.