Celebs dish on debt

Money habits are ingrained from childhood, say some famous folks who save rather than squander their money.

Hard work is the pathway out of debt 


  • Gretchen Wilson
    Singer ("Redneck Woman," "Here for the Party")
  • Q&A:
    Bankrate: Was the release of the single "Redneck Woman" your ticket out of debt?

Gretchen Wilson: Absolutely. I struggled up until that time. I was a struggling musician from the time I started working at 14 until I signed that record deal -- even after I signed that record deal -- because you end up getting yourself in a lot of debt trying to come out there and look like the big star you want to be. You end up spending a lot of money on production, on a band and touring to try and go out there and support it. I don't think I really felt successful at it until I got that first money in the mailbox -- that first big check where I could pay off my old debt that had been hanging on to me since I was a little kid and get in the clear. It was the first time that weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

  • Lesson learned: Working hard for success can lead to the pathway out of debt.
Childhood debt lessons last a lifetime 


  • Jodi Picoult
    Writer ("Harvesting the Heart," "Nineteen Minutes")
  • Q&A:
    Bankrate: How did your parents teach you sound spending habits?

Jodi Picoult: What I remember the most about money was, when I started to drive, my parents got me a used car and they paid for the car and said, "There you go, but if you want to drive it, you have to pay for the gas." All of a sudden it sort of reminded me, oh yeah, I have to actually make the money to go into the gas tank. I thought that was a great lesson. In fact, we just bought a used car for my 15½-year-old son, and guess what I said to him?

  • Lesson learned: Teach your children smart spending habits -- they'll pay off for a lifetime.
Do homework before choosing advisers 


  • Don LaFontaine
    Actor (voice behind approximately 3,500 trailers over 40 years)
  • Q&A:
    Bankrate: You had a crooked accountant who left you about $750,000 in debt. What did that experience teach you?

Don LaFontaine: When I saw myself in that hole, I was more pissed than anything else, and I decided to never again entrust my money to somebody I didn't investigate fully. Luckily, I met up with a fellow who took over those affairs and got me out of that hole tout de suite, and has been my dear friend and confidant for many years since then. So that's how I handled it. I never found there to be much percentage in running off henny-penny, screaming into the woods. I've never found a creditor who would take your screams of anguish as collateral against your bills.

  • Lesson learned: Do your homework before choosing someone to handle your money.



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