Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tips & Money from Dead Celebs: Cobain tops Presley in Forbes Ranking

Passive income, prudent sales of business stakes and estate planning take on new meaning in the recently released Forbes ranking of top earning deceased celebrities. Those are a few of the lessons, I've gained from the annual Forbes Ranking of Life-After-Death Income.

For the first time in the six-year history of Forbes Dead Celeb Income ranking, Nirvana's deceased lead Singer, Kurt Cobain, topped Elvis Presley from the No. 1 spot of the Forbes chart. The estate of Cobain -- who committed suicide 12 years ago -- pulled in $50 million over the last year.

Forbes attributes the growth in Cobain's estate to the recent sale of 25 percent of Nirvan's catolog of songs by rocker Courtney Love, Cobain's widow.

What I've learned from the Cobain/Love Transactions

1) Passive income is important for the living and the dead.
2) It's important to leave a legacy and property for heirs.

Love's sale of the rights came even though Cobain himself was famously anti-commercial, once wearing a T-shirt on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine that read ``Corporate Magazines Still Suck.''-- report on Forbes article.

Frugal Duchess Lesson:
1) Stay flexible
2) Sell shares prudently
3) Read corporate magazines

Meanwhile, the estate of Elvis Presley, pulled in $42 million, down from $45 million in the 2005 Forbes ranking. The source of the drop in revenue: fewer projects.

Frugal Duchess Lesson:
1) Maintain a steady supply of projects
2) Second-place is OK.

Other Money-after-Death Forbes ranking:

Charles Shulz (Peanuts creator) $35 million

John Lennon, (former Beatle) $24 million.

Estate of Ray Charles, $10 million,

Other estates of dead celebrities that earned more than $7 million according to Forbes were physicist Albert Einstein, artist Andy Warhol, children's-book author Dr. Seuss, actress Marilyn Monroe, singer Johnny Cash, author JRR Tolkien, Beatle George Harrison and Jamaican reggae star Bob

Link to Bloomberg story about Money after Death story

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