Did you hear? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided they want to be like you. They want to find jobs, start paying bills, put their kid through college and get a mortgage.
Welcome to our world. But as millions of commoner consumers will attest, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by life and end up in debt.
Fear not, your ex-Highnesses. We’re here to help. But before we give you advice on how to keep collection agencies from hassling you, one quick question:
Are y’all nuts? Approximately 99.8% of humans would love to have your royal lifestyle.
And now you want to have ours?
In case anyone isn’t up on the latest Buckingham Palace soap opera, the Duke and Duchess are Prince Harry, sixth in line for the British throne, and Meghan, American actress and first in line for Yoko Ono’s crown.
Yoko, as old-timers recall, broke up the Beatles. Megs, as she’s now known, supposedly split Britain’s official royal family.
Less than two years after they were married, Harry and Megs announced they are cutting back their duties, moving to Canada and plan to become “financially independent.”
That will necessitate some major lifestyle adjustments. Harry gets to ride around in gold-leafed carriages. He gets backstage passes to Queen concerts. His polo ponies have their own butlers.
In other words, being a Royal is a good gig, if you can get it.
The downside is your clothes have way too much starch, the media is constantly going through your trash and everything you say has to be approved by Buckingham Palace.
Harry and Megs decided that’s not their scene. Not only are they tired of all those early-morning fox hunts, they have an entrepreneurial streak and wants to make it on their own.
That’s admirable, though it’s not as if they’re exactly graduating from college with $80,000 in student debt.
Megs has earned about $5 million in her career. Harry’s inheritance is estimated at about $35 million. His father, Prince Charles, gives his boy about $3 million a year out of private royal holdings.
That’s a nice start for a couple setting out on its own, but it’s not the kind of money Harry and Megs will need if they want compare yachts with showbiz pals like Oprah.
Their plan is to market the brand “Sussex Royal.” They’ve trademarked that name for hundreds of products, like clothing, home goods, media services.
Coming soon: Sussex Royal dandruff shampoo!
Consumers might be lining up, but there’s a hitch. As part of the separation agreement, Harry and Megs had to give up their royal titles.
Harry’s full title was His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Try fitting all that on a Canadian driver’s license.
Harry and Megs vowed “everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.” The problem is Queen Elizabeth does not allow the House of Windsor to trade off its name. There will never be an official Prince William Scalp Polishing Cream.
That could torpedo Harry and Megs’ marketing dream and force some real belt-tightening. Visions of sitting around the kitchen table debating whether to pay their electricity bill or cable bill must be flashing through their heads.
Don’t freak out, kids. Here are few simple steps people do to keep their checkbooks in balance.
- Make a budget – Budgeting should be simple. Write down your monthly expenses and income. If the first category is more than the second one, cut back. That might mean no equestrian lessons for little Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, but nobody said this career move was going to be easy.
- Avoid credit cards – Chances are Harry doesn’t even know what a credit card is. Megs should explain you have to actually pay real money for things you charge, so Harry shouldn’t get carried away the next time he visits the local Mercedes dealer.
- Maintain good credit – Paying your bills on time means a better credit score and lower rates when you apply for a loan. That means you won’t have to ask the Queen to co-sign that home equity loan.
- Seek help – If financial issues overwhelm you, there are plenty of organizations you can turn to. Nonprofit credit counseling can always help you navigate the troubled waters of debt.
It’s hard to imagine Harry enrolling in a debt management program. But then, whoever thought he’d give up being a prince?
We wish he and Megs good luck as they join the real world. It can be a real rat race out here, even when your rats have their own butlers.
Tom Jackson focuses on writing about debt solutions for consumers struggling to make ends meet. His background includes time as a columnist for newspapers in Washington D.C., Tampa and Sacramento, Calif., where he reported and commented on everything from city and state budgets to the marketing of local businesses and how the business of professional sports impacts a city. Along the way, he has racked up state and national awards for writing, editing and design. Tom’s blogging on the 2016 election won a pair of top honors from the Florida Press Club. A University of Florida alumnus, St. Louis Cardinals fan and eager-if-haphazard golfer, Tom splits time between Tampa and Cashiers, N.C., with his wife of 40 years, college-age son, and Spencer, a yappy Shetland sheepdog.