Who could even think of taking a U-turn in their career after being a member of one of the most successful bands in the history of music? Well, Duff McKagan is a man familiar with this situation. After being the bassist of Guns n Roses, arguably the best hard rock band in history, Duff has flipped his career path and now is excelling in the finance sector.
After ruling the music industry for years, this rock star has now put his education at Albers School of Business and Economics to good use in amassing a net worth of $20 million. You heard it right $20 million! So how did he make such a leap from his gallon-of-vodka-a-day lifestyle to advising people how to rebalance their investment portfolio?
Duff started his career in finance with a $100000 investment in 1994 in his hometown of Seattle. This first venture of his turned out to be successful. Then, his investments expanded to include a chain of coffee shops, a software company and an online book seller – Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon.
His next venture came after he started getting regular calls from musician friends with questions about where to make investments. So, in 2011, McKagan founded Meridian Rock, a wealth management firm for musicians along with British investor, Andy Bottomley. This firm aimed to educate musicians about their finances.
He also tried his hands in writing. He wrote a weekly column for SeattleWeekly.com from January to December 2009 and also had a weekly financial column titled "Duffonomics" for Playboy.com. And now, he writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com which he started from January 2011.
But how did this music icon change his life in such a drastic manner? As fairytale-like as it may sound, Duff's transformation began with a near death experience. Amidst all the success Duff was having, his rock-star status was leading him down the wrong path with alcohol, drugs and women. His excessive drug abuse took such a toll on his body that it resulted in an explosion of his pancreas, causing third degree burns inside his intestines and stomach.
After recovering from this tragedy, he realized that he had no knowledge of what had happened to the millions he had earned as an international rock star. "I couldn't make sense of it. I didn't know how much we had made or lost on the tour" were the words of McKagan in an interview with Fortune Magazine, as he recalled the time when he first went through the financial records of his previous band Guns n Roses. This was a wakeup call for him. In the same interview he said . "I didn't want to be 60 years old and broke, having made all this money in my twenties…that was my simple goal."
So, McKagan, 6’3” of height, who had long blond hair, a lot of silver jewelry, and many tattoos while living the rock n roll lifestyle, trimmed his locks, went by his real name, kept it low key and started concentrating on getting his degree instead of living off his fame. And it paid off. He now is truly rocking the financial sector and has got a bank balance to support himself.
Now, 13 years after leaving college, he is millions of dollars richer. Duff has made finance and investment his passion and it has paid off. He is not only getting rich, he is also helping his musician friends get richer as well. As for his rock n roll avatar, it is still alive. He has his band Velvet Revolver to thank for.