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My 2 Cents on 50 Cent: Are You Making the Same Mistakes as the Rapper?

My 2 Cents on 50 Cent: Are You Making the Same Mistakes as the Rapper?

Click here to ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

So many celebrities make millions of dollars, and then end up in bankruptcy. There are lots of headlines right now about the Rapper "50 Cent," Curtis James Jackson III, who the Wall Street Journal says has assets worth more than $24 million but he says he's broke and filed bankruptcy. If he can't make it, how can someone like me make it with so much less money?

Struggling in the heartland.

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett.

Dear Struggling,

Most of us have heard the phrase "Fake it 'til you Make it," but that advice really is disastrous. Proverbs 12:9 says, "Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food."

According to media reports, 50 Cent (also known as Curtis James Jackson III) lived the life of a high profile music star, getting famous for his bling, becoming well-known for an album and movie titled "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."

But what people saw wasn't real, according to the artist, who is now in bankruptcy court testifying that all the luxury that he flashed in videos and at events was returned to stores when the cameras switched off or borrowed for show.

While this is a sad story of someone wanting to display a pretentious life of ease, comfort and worry free riches, he's not alone. Many people try to keep up with the Jones, and make purchases so that others will get the impression of prosperity.

Today's easy credit and low interest rates offer Americans the ability to leverage their spending in a way to give an appearance of wealth that is not reality. We have become a land of McMansions, designer clothes, high tech gadgets and flashy cars and much of it is based on borrowed money.

Because it's not about how much money you have, but how you use your resources that determines whether you can truly get ahead.

50 cent told the court that it cost him $108,000 each month to maintain his home, cars, clothes and lifestyle. The Daily Mail noted, "Even though a recent appraisal estimated the rapper's worth at $150 million, Jackson claims he is $28 million in debt and even owes nearly $2,000 to his own grandfather."

So while he made a lot of money, more went out the door than came in … a problem that many of us share.

From Rapper, to School Teacher to Factory Worker, two important financial principles begin any journey to freedom: Spend less than you make and know what you spend.

In a time in which a lot of people had their income tied up in cattle, King Solomon writes in Proverbs 27 that people need to keep track of their money. "Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations."

Maintaining the impression of fake wealth leads to anxiety and fear of discovery and can lead to financial ruin, should the façade crumble.

Free yourself from the burden of meeting other people's expectations — and start a budget. It's ironic that many people, who have the most money, manage it so poorly because they trust that cash flow will keep their heads above water. But life is full of unpleasant possibilities that you need to plan to overcome. Crown has many free tools to help you build a budget that works for you and your family, so that when tough times come, you're ready.

Not only will you have a far more secure financial foundation, you will also have what the Bible calls, true riches. And contrary to the movie title, Get Rich or Die Tryin — you will live with true riches now and for eternity.


Chuck Bentley

Ask Chuck is a weekly column featuring answers to your financial questions. Click here to ask Chuck a question and his response could be featured here.

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of My MoneyLife- a daily radio feature and a frequent speaker on the topic of Biblical financial principles. Follow him on Twitter @chuckbentley and visit for more help.