Michelle Williams

Grammy Award winner. Destiny’s Child performer. Singer, songwriter and actress.

Athletes and entertainers face unique wealth management opportunities, considerations and challenges. The athletes and entertainers we interviewed shared their personal stories and perspectives to highlight the need for more financial education in the sports and entertainment world. We thank them for being strong advocates of financial literacy.

Michelle’s advice

“You should understand exactly what you’re investing in, the risks involved, how much you can lose and how you can access your money. Don’t rely on someone else to make financial decisions for you. You need to stay involved.”

Independent women

Michelle joined Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling female recording groups of all time, when she was 21 and rocketed to fame with the hit single “Independent Women.” The song was featured on the soundtrack for the movie Charlie’s Angels and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 11 weeks. The whirlwind success took her far from her hometown of Rockford, IL, where she grew up with a strong role model for an independent woman: her mom, Anita.

An all-star mom

Anita raised four children with her husband, Dennis, while working full-time in the medical field. “My mom invested for her retirement through her job. I would see the envelopes with the account statements all the time. She had a nice nest egg when she retired.” Her mom set a good example and taught Michelle the importance of setting financial goals.

Music contracts and royalties

Michelle recalls how she felt when she signed her first contract as a member of Destiny’s Child. “You look at your record label contract and it’s worth literally what most people will make in a lifetime.” Record companies give artists an advance on the contract and recoup that money through music sales, tours and endorsements. Artists don’t receive royalties on their music until the full value of the advance has been recovered.

You look at your record label contract and it’s worth literally what most people will make in a lifetime.

Although Destiny’s Child released their last studio album, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2005, their music remains popular. Michelle reunited with her bandmates, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, for the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show and the 2018 Coachella music festival, engaging a new base of fans. “I’m blessed. Every time one of our songs is used in a commercial or sung by an American Idol contestant, we receive a nice-sized royalty check.” Digital downloads of the group’s music also add to the royalty stream.

Money mentors

Mentors in the music business like “Big Jim” Wright, a producer who worked with Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle and other renowned artists, offered Michelle frank advice about money. “Big Jim said, ‘Always live below your means. You shouldn’t buy a multimillion-dollar house just because you can.’” Keeping this in mind, Michelle purchased real estate in her hometown area, where the cost of living is lower. “I’m a homebody. My home is my retreat. It’s just me. Why would I need to live in a 7,000-square-foot house?”

She also learned about finances from her uncle, a successful doctor. “He’s not flashy. He can afford a Bentley but drives a modest car. His kids got used cars when they started driving.” Instead, her uncle chooses to spend his money on experiences that bring his family together and create lasting memories. He treats his extended family to annual vacations, such as a recent trip to Hawaii.

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