Today, precisely the 25th of June 2015 was the first time I heard about a one Mr. Scott Spencer Storch. Apparently he was a big name producer who at his peak was involved in 50 Cent’s album “Candy Shop”, Fat Joe’s “Lean Back”, Jadakiss’ “U Make Me Wanna”, Chris Brown’s “Run It”, G-Unit’s “Poppin’ Them Thangs” among others. The brother had amassed a fortune of 70 Million dollars by 2006 according to Wikipedia. In 2006, he took “a month off” to vacation in Hollywood having been a wonderful year for him. What followed next is interesting, he withdrew from producing, focused on partying hard, with friends at a 10 Million dollar mansion he owned. He purchased a private jet, a 117 foot yatch, bought nearly twenty luxury cars, half of which he believes he purchased while high on cocaine. He abandoned clients like Janet Jackson in the studio making them wait for hours without end. In 2006 alone, he blew 30 Million dollars within six months and begun the downhill descent. Fast forward, in 2014, he is said to have earned a paltry Ten Thousand dollars and is reported to be filing for bankruptcy with his assets totalling to a measly Three Thousand Six Hundred dollars. His music companies are said not to be worth a penny.
Am sure you’re surprised why I have come with a showbiz related story this time round. Am not the type to follow show business news because I tend to believe that it negatively impacts on my grey matter. However, I had to share this story. Many times I come across people who believe that their runaway success is in amassing more money. A long time acquaintance met me a few days back and as we discussed he told me how he is planning to re-invent himself. He’s spent most of his time since December 2014 trying to chart out a new path for his professional life. Eventually he admitted to me that he considers his first priority being getting a job that earns him not less than Thirty Thousand dollars and apparently he was on his way to actualising that, with a move to South Africa being imminent. While I respect his aspirations, I felt that he was being a little too focused on what he earns as opposed to how he spends what he earns. We all need to keep earning and growing our income, however what happens when the money starts rolling in uncontrollably is what determines our destiny. Issues like;
Does more money mean increased spending?
Does more money mean increased luxury?
Does more money mean less work?
Does more money mean new friends?
Does more money mean more women?
Does more money mean more arrogance?
Does more money mean less attention to detail in your business?
As we fulfill our desire for more money to come into our possession, we need to be careful about our habits with it.
Consumption lifestyles will never enable one to thrive in wealth irrespective of how much money is thrown at you. You need to take great care to mind the pennies and cents afterall a small leak can sink a great ship. No amount of net worth however much can never get down to zero. When you want to spend your money, there are always people around ready to help you spend it and with very compelling propositions.
Scott’s story is one of a rough childhood and he went through a lot that you would expect him having acquired such a fortune to balance it out well and guard it all the days of his life. He is now 41, flat broke and filing for bankruptcy. Am not writing him off yet afterall Donald Fisher, the founder of Gap Store (a big retail outlet for clothes in the USA) started it at 40 years, Samuel L Jackson the celebrated Hollywood actor got his breakthrough at 43 years, Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart at 44 years, Henry Ford was 45 years when he created the revolutionary Model T car in 1908, Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) began her painting career at the age of 78 and in 2006 one of her paintings sold for 1.2 Million dollars.
What do we learn from Scott’s experience?
Mind the Minutest; This was a quote popularised by Brother Kalungi Martin (RIP) of the Brothers of Christian Instruction during my school days. Essentially he always urged us to pay attention to the smallest of things. Failure to do so, could very easily turn that small thing into your nemesis. Jerry Rawlings a one time president of Ghana attempted a coup at 32 years and was unsuccessful. General Fred Akuffo who was the president then had him go on trial and he faced a death sentence. However, due to the light handed manner in which he handled the then young soldier, Rawlings with the help of some sympathisers was able to escape detention and thus survive the hangman’s noose. A short while later, Rawlings organised another coup and overthrew General Akuffo whom he later executed with other leaders. So, even in business, that competitor you are underrating could become your nemesis a few months down the road. Whoever knew that WhatsApp, Viber and a host of other phone applications could literally bring SMS services down to their knees?
Neglect Nothing; When Scott had the money, his thirst was quenched. He had arrived afterall. Big names were literally begging for his services. A story is told of how he had Janet Jackson wait in his studio for five hours. Janet Jackson? If he did that to such an icon, then how many upcoming stars did he ignore? Maybe they would have given him a new lease of hope. In the business space, it helps to always scan the environment and look out for the unusual. One of the biggest investors in the entertainment business in Uganda is a one Charles Lubega. Stories are told of how he practically visits nearly all discotheques within his area of coverage weekly to establish what the competition is upto. Its no wonder that his Angenoir empire has been around for over 20 years and has extended its tentacles as far as London.
How much do you save and/or re-invest? Yes, you may earn all that the world has to offer, but how much of it do you multiply (re-invest for profit) or save for the future? This is one of the reason gamblers hardly ever sustain their won earnings. He will win a million dollars today but file for bankruptcy within three months. The culture of expecting windfalls and consuming what is earned can never allow us to sustain wealth.
If you thought you needed a higher pay from your employer and had designs of renting a better house, buying a bigger car or sending your children to a more expensive school, you have your priorities wrong. Like Scott, you’ll end up a corporate pauper whose worth is that job contract document. Look at your current earnings, figure out how to structure them better to cater for consumption and re-investment. Once you have been able to achieve that, only then can you start wishing for greater income because you will precisely know better how to utilise it.