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Star Powered: What we can learn from celebrities who are broke

Do you ever shake your head, close your eyes and wonder to yourself how movie and television stars and other celebrities of that ilk declare bankruptcy?

The easy answer to this question is just assuming that they were stupid with their money or simply weren't talented enough to sustain the lifestyle they enjoyed after a few movies, one hit TV show or perhaps an album that sold well initially.

Maybe that got some bad advice from a lawyer, accountant or someone else in their “camp” that wasn't looking out for their best interest, such as Nicholas Cage or others like him that once were worth millions and now are putting their various homes on the market and searching out living space that hardly match their palatial palaces they once had.

No one feels sorry for these celebrities but their plight can prove to be beneficial and positive for you. No, you're not going to be able to afford their old homes but rather can learn what not to do when it comes to money and how to spend it.

Granted, you don't have millions of dollars, hundreds of cars or handful of homes but that doesn't mean spending money wisely can't be universally understood and done correctly.

Here's a perfect example: let's say you get a new job, double what you made before and you decide it is time to start buying everything you previously couldn't afford, much the same way an up and coming actor does when they finally land a TV series or staring role in a movie.

That mentality couldn't be more foolish for a number of reasons.

What if the job doesn't work out and the success you're having at the moment isn't sustainable?

Wanting to buy a new home or car after a big promotion is fine but only if you give it at least six months to see how it is working out and if it is something you can see yourself doing well for years to come.

From the prime of your career to retirement, plenty of A list actors spend like crazy when the money is rolling in only to find themselves flat broke by the time they turn 65. Unless you're an actor like Jack Nicholson who works well into his 70s, you should take note of spending money frivolously when you're young, only to have none when it is time to stop working.

If you're doing well financially in your 30s and 40s, you should start putting money into retirement funds, 401K accounts or starting to think about how old you'll be when your house is paid off, rather than forking over thousands more to buy a beach home that doesn't fit into your retirement plans.

Living beyond your means and living to regret it isn't exclusive to just the rich and famous. They do it well, and their mistakes are highly publicized. Yours aren't as much, but they still aren't fun, but as much as you idolize celebrities and their talent and wealth, you could stand to learn from them by not being anything like them when it comes to money.

Career Booster: How a few choice changes can lead to higher salaries

Who doesn't want to make more money, right? Even if you love your job and have a respectable to remarkable salary, you still believe there's more money on the table to be had.

The flip side are those with paltry, meager incomes that undoubtedly want more.
One thing holding back both groups could be how they're perceived once they submit a resume, write a cover letter and, if they're lucky enough, participate in an interview with the supervisor, manager or person responsible for filling a particular position.

So when you sit back and wonder aloud and to yourself why you can't break through that proverbial glass ceiling that is your current salary, you might want to take stock in the aforementioned elements that are involved in garnering a job that pays you something respectable.

Let's start with the cover letter.

As much as it seems like commonplace and common sense, you might want to give that short sentiment a quick look and at least proof read it for poor grammar and misspellings. Nothing is going to send your resume to the bottom of the stack or in the garbage for that matter like words in the wrong place or sentences that don't make sense. That comes across as a lack of caring or attention to detail, two aspects employers want in their prospective new hire.

And as much as you want to sound glorious in your cover letter and tout your accomplishments, you also want to exercise a little restraint and not make this document too long winded or filled with generic rhetoric no one cares to read.
The resume itself should be no more than one page; anything longer gets pushed aside. As far as the content of the resume, it should be filled with facts and ways you made your previous employer better (i.e. more money because of a sales initiative or decreased marketing costs by 12%). What you don't need are fluffy, meaningless words like “team player,” “organized” or “savvy.”

Those don't mean nearly as much as concrete examples of your skill.

If you've managed to nail the cover letter and resume, chances are you'll be sitting across from the person who is going to hire you. Make every second of that interview count: know about the company, ask questions that pertain to the organization and the job itself and always dress in accordance with the position. If you're going to be supervising a warehouse, don't come in a full length suit. Conversely, if you're interviewing to be an assistant to a CEO, leave the denim at home.

Doing that, along with perfecting the cover letter and resume, stand to lead you down the path of a better job and more money.

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