What a difference a year has made for “Eight Is Enough” star Willie Aames!
Last December he was broke, jobless and alone, living in a house without gas or electricity and cooking meals in the fireplace while awaiting foreclosure.
But just 12 months later, the former child star has embarked on a new career working as a financial adviser with Waddell & Reed in Overland Park, Kan.
“It was a long struggle back, but here I am now with a whole new life,” 49-year-old Willie told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview. “I have a car, an apartment and a new job.
“I’ve gone from just trying to help myself to helping other people with their own financial problems.
“It’s been a remarkable journey!”
Willie, who played Tommy Bradford in the classic late ’70s TV show, says his wake-up call came on Dec. 12, 2008.
“I came home and had no water, no car, no phone, no computer, no heat. And no means to obtain any of it.
“My wife Maylo had left me and taken our daughter. It was 19 degrees INSIDE the house when I walked in the door.”
Willie’s luck began to turn around when VH1 reality TV producers became aware of his plight and asked to tape his predicament for a show called “Willie Aames: Broke and Famous.”
The project teamed him up with financial experts who mentored him and helped get him back on his feet.
“They told me, ‘Look, you can do this. You’re not a stupid guy.’ I said, ‘I know. I’m just ignorant when it comes to finances.’”
For the next nine months he studied seven to 10 hours a day, seven days a week, learning basic finance principles.
After becoming certified as a financial adviser, Willie has started helping everyday people learn to manage their money.
“They feel comfortable talking to me because they know I’m not going to judge them because I’ve been where they are,” he said.
Willie is now optimistic about his future, adding: “I have my work – I have a purpose.”