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‘I Would Have Been Crazy…Seeing This Type of Paper’: Former Child Star Bow Wow Says He’s Happy He Couldn’t Access His Money Until He Was 18

Bow Wow is thankful that he had a special blocked trust fund account when he entered the entertainment industry as a minor, saying that he could have lost his fortune if he had started in the industry as a man.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 26: Bow Wow during his visit to Harbor NYC on March 26, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Making Money as a Minor

A Coogan account, also known as a Coogan Trust, is a type of blocked trust account that parents manage on behalf of their children, particularly child actors or performers under the age of 18 who earn income from work in the entertainment industry. 

The purpose of a Coogan Account is to protect a portion of the child’s earnings, usually 15 percent, until they reach the age of majority, which varies by state, but is usually 18. The money in the account can only be accessed by a court-appointed guardian or trustee, and is intended to provide financial support and stability for the child after his or her entertainment career ends.

Bow Wow was 13, a minor, when he entered the hip-hop and acting industries, so his earnings were protected in a trust fund designed to keep child stars out of debt due to parental mismanagement.

“That for the first five years of my career, I couldn’t touch none of my money,” Bow Wow, who prefers to be referred to by his real name, Shad Moss, said in an interview with the YouTube show “RealLyfeStreetStarz” on April 22. He was asked about what he considered “a gifted curse” in his career.

He added, “If I would have came in the game man, 19, or 18, I probably would have tapped out the game because I would have been like this is crazy that I’m seeing this type of paper and I get to touch it as soon as I hit, so I was, I was kind of thankful for that,”

How He Became Bow Wow

Bow Wow began his career as a child rapper at the age of 13 as Lil Bow Wow. He was first discovered by Snoop Dogg, who introduced him to record producer Jermaine Dupri. 

Dupri became Bow Wow’s manager, and signed him to his record label, So So Def Recordings.

Under Dupri’s management, Bow Wow released his debut album, “Beware of Dog,” in 2000, which became a commercial success. 

Dupri continued to manage Bow Wow throughout his early career, helping him release several more successful albums and facilitating his transition into acting.

However, in 2018, Bow Wow announced that he had parted ways with Dupri and was now being managed by his mother, Teresa Caldwell.

Money Woes

Despite the financial protections early on, Bow Wow’s net worth took a hit. Bow Wow owed the IRS and had a tax lien filed against him in 2011, TMZ reported. The star owed the IRS $91,105.61 for 2006, Forbes reported.

Bow Wow claimed he was broke and only making $4,000 a month and only had $1,500 in his checking account. Following a court hearing, he would go on to sign on as one of four new co-hosts for BET’s “106 & Park” TV show.

By this time, his tax debt had grown to $126,000, according to And he was court ordered to pay more than $3,000 in child support to Joie Chavis for his baby Shai. Bow Wow also was ordered by the court to pay $11,500 in back child support, TMZ reported.

In 2013, he lost a copyright lawsuit to an adult film star for using her pole dancing footage in his music video without her permission. He had to pay her more than $7,000, according to Grunge.

As for Bow Wow’s net worth, some outlets have reported his current net worth to be $1.5 million, but others have listed it as $600,000.

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