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    I'm A Celebrity... And Bankrupt

    By Maynard Paton (TMFMayn)
    November 8, 2004

    "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." -- George Best

    Lifestyles of the rich and the famous are not always endless tales of glitz and glamour. Just ask George Best. Despite being one of the best paid sportsmen of a generation, he was declared bankrupt just one year after playing his last professional match. As well as the 'booze, birds and fast cars', Best's other money-draining extravagances included a number of fashion boutiques, a couple of nightclubs and even a travel agency.

    Best is one of a hoard of celebrities past and present that have successfully spent their way to insolvency. Indeed, other big-name footballers that have had everything -- but then lost the lot -- include Frank McAvennie and Malcolm MacDonald. Both were declared broke in the 1990s, with McAvennie succumbing to drugs and MacDonald enduring a failed business venture.

    Business trouble also brought upon the downfall of the late Adam Faith. The 60s crooner and former Daily Mail financial columnist created the Money Channel in 1999. But the station ruined him in 2002 after it went under in the dotcom crash.

    Gary Glitter is another pop star that's hit financial rock bottom. The end of glam era left Glitter bankrupt in 1980 and apparently owing the Inland Revenue £170,000 (as well as the Fulham Road Tandoori £60). And then there's music maestro Mike Stock -- of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame -- who following legal wrangles over copyright issues was cleaned out in 2000.

    Soap stars have also run out of money. Actor William Roache -- known as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street -- ended up penniless in 1999 after spending his life savings winning a court case. And the late Peter Adamson, who played Corrie's Len Fairclough, was bankrupted in 1991 after he mistook his tax money for beer money.

    Another to end up skint was the late Rod Hull, who was declared bankrupt in 1994. The economic demise of the Emu comic followed his £387,000 purchase of a mansion in 1987 -- plus a further £500,000 for refurbishments. And Clarissa Dickson Wright, of Two Fat Ladies cookery fame, has called in the receivers on three separate occasions. The first time (1975) was triggered by the champagne bill at her mother's funeral, the second (1982) is clouded by a drunken haze and the third (2003) is explained here.

    So what do these monetary sob stories mean for the distinctly obscure like you and me? The lessons are simple.

    * Even if you earn a packet, you can still go bust. Spend conservatively and budget properly;
    * Plan for the financial future, especially if your working life is likely to be short-lived or your income is haphazard;
    * Save for the unexpected (especially 'surprise' tax demands);
    * Don't risk more than you can afford to lose on investments, business ventures, property and court cases, and;
    * Keep off the birds, booze and fast cars.

    And be aware: government statistics last week revealed individual bankruptcies and insolvencies totalled 11,967 between July and September -- up 31% on the year before.

    More: Get Out Of Debt | Bankruptcy Made Easier

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