Duff McKagan starts financial firm for musicians

When you think about 80s hard rock bands what behavior comes to mind? Do you picture wild parties with various forms of intoxicants, destroyed hotel rooms, and police visits, or do you picture quiet and thoughtful review of financial statements and investing strategies? In the case of Duff McKagan from Guns'n'Roses, and later Velvet Revolver, it was both.

Rock bottom.
Duff McKagan did his share of partying. In fact it was his partying that eventually led to his interest in financial planning. In the early 1990s McKagan's partying ways were out of control. In their article "Duff McKagan, Guns N’ Capital", Bloomberg Businessweek writes that McKagan was drinking a gallon of vodka a day and using cocaine so that he could continue to drink even more. Eventually his pancreas gave out. McKagan explained that he was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis and that it caused third-degree burns on his other internal organs.

Starting over.
Once released from the hospital McKagan spent his time sobering up. During that time he determined to make positive changes in his life and one of those changes was taking an interest in reviewing the bands financial records. His interest grew and he studied financial planning. Along with two partners, he even started his own investment firm catering directly to musicians. When asked why his firm would cater to musicians McKagan said “Some [musicians] don't want to know—but others are kept in the dark, or are too self-conscious to ask simple questions.”

Just like the musicians McKagan mentioned, asking for help with your finances can be intimidating to some of us. Sometimes we don't seek help because we are afraid of the potential cost or even of what people will think of us. There are many people and resources you can turn to for help before you run into problems. Here are a few places that can offer free help with your finances.

1. Your Human Resources Manager.
Your Human Resource Manager is someone who most likely is well versed in benefits that affect your personal finances, such as medical insurance, retirement investing and plans, payroll taxes, and employee/workplace rights. Even if talking to your Human Resources Manager doesn't provide an answer to your particular problem she may be able to recommend an expert that can provide free help with your financial question.

2. Your insurance agent.
Insurance agents are required to pass certain licensing tests in order to demonstrate their knowledge in key insurance areas. However, in addition to those requirements, many agents are also CFPs or Chartered Financial Planners. That means they have also demonstrated a professional level of knowledge in financial planning and investing. Perhaps the agent through whom you purchase your car or home owners insurance has one of these designations. As one of their insurance clients don't hesitate to ask them for free help with your other financial concerns.

3. Seminars conducted by your bank or credit union.
Many banks and credit unions will host seminars that offer free help with finances as a service to their customers and the community. These free seminars will typically be conducted by a banking or finance professional and cover topics such as investing, retirement, mortgages, etc. These is a great opportunity to both increase your own knowledge in a particular area of finance as well as meet an expert and ask for advice regarding your own related questions. Similarly, it doesn't hurt to ask your bank if there is someone you can talk to at the bank's office.

Get three more ideas here.


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