According to a source, Richie, 32, who is worth about $35 million thanks to her reality show career and fashion business, "is ready to transform herself economically by the end of the year and is desperate to achieve billionaire status before she turns 40."
But it won't be with much help from rocker Madden, 35, said the source in Richie's business team.
"Nicole is pretty let down by how much she and Joel made in the last two years," the source noted, pegging the number at just under $10 million.
"And there's been a tacit understanding among her team lately that Joel simply isn't going to be making much more money in the future. His prime earning years are behind him which is why Nicole wants to up the ante."
The Good Charlotte front man has recently been better known in Australia, where he appears as a judge/mentor on the Australian version of The Voice. Last summer, however, Madden was embroiled in scandal when police in Sydney seized a small amount of marijuana from his hotel room. But Madden wasn't charged with anything, as Australian law permits authorities to issue a warning when only a small amount of drugs are found.
While Madden is getting ready to appear on the next season of The Voice Australia with fellow judges Kylie Minogue, Ricky Martin, and will.i.am., "Nicole wants to re-invent her fashion business and is locking herself into long meetings with advisers about how to actually do that," the source said.
In 2008, Richie launched her high end House of Harlow jewelry line which expanded to clothes and shoes in 2010. She has also designed a line for the maternity store A Pea in the Pod and was a judge/mentor on NBC's Fashion Star reality show, which was canceled last year after two seasons. In 2012, she was behind a collection for Macy's and released her first perfume, called Nicole.
"Nicole believes there is much, much more money to be made off of her name and her taste," the source revealed. Meanwhile, Madden, whose reported net worth is $16 million, is lagging behind.
"Nicole's advisers think Joel's hot earning days are a thing of the past," the source said.