July 2, 2009
Posted: 12:28 AM ET
By Michelle Singletary via Washington Post
Long before his death, we heard more about Michael Jackson's financial troubles than his incredible music. The singer was reportedly more than $300 million in debt.
...A large part of the reason that Jackson was slated to make a 50-show comeback tour was to generate more income. This global superstar may not have been technically bankrupt, but he continued to be cash-strapped. Jackson reportedly borrowed heavily against his assets.
In the same week that Jackson was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center after collapsing at his rented mansion in an upscale Los Angeles suburb, Ed McMahon, the longtime pitchman and Johnny Carson sidekick, died at 86. Like Jackson, McMahon had earned millions during his lifetime yet fell into financial trouble because of his overspending.
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," McMahon acknowledged his poor handling of his money.
"Well, if you spend more money than you make, you know what happens. And it can happen," McMahon said.
But what leads so many people to a financial fantasyland?
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