Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of Debt?

And yet, a prominent figure like Ferguson is a little like a CEO. She has a number of people -- agents, publicists etc. -- on the payroll and is marketing a product -- herself.

Just like a corporation, celebrities like Ferguson have monthly obligations to meet but may not have the training or skills needed to keep the business thriving, financial advisors say.

"Celebrities have many talents but running a business is likely not one of them. You have to know how to hire people, how to monitor their performance how to set benchmarks," said Douglas Freeman, the managing director of strategic planning for California-based First Foundation Advisors.

And then there's the business of keeping up appearances. The cost of flying first-class, paying for multiple homes and swanky vacations adds up quickly. And just like the rest of us, when the market goes sour or we lose a source of income, it can be hard to cut back.

"When you have a high income, many people think it will never end … they almost think the law of gravity was repealed and they don't do any planning," Freeman said. "That's when they get into trouble."

With reports from ABC News' Alexa Lightner.

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