WHOLE NEW BALL GAME
Football and basketball season are in full gear! A local football team Winston Salem State Rams just won the CIAA Championship and their basketball team as well as Wake Forests’ are hitting the hardwood running! These players may be playing for college fans now, but some may be playing for fans in the professional arena in the near future. Recently ESPN broadcasted its’ documentary “30 For 30 Broke” and it was about professional athletes who signed contracts for tens of millions of dollars and still ended up bankrupt and BROKE! As I watched the documentary anger rose up in me, not because these athletes were wasting their money on toys, but because majority of the athletes had the money stolen from them by people they trusted. I have known for years about millionaire athletes going broke such as Mike Tyson, Allen Iverson, Warren Sapp, Sheryl Swoops, etc but it wasn't until this documentary that it started to hit home. The reason that it bothered me so much is that I know kids who could be in the same situation in a few years. My husband has been coaching AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) boys’ basketball for six years now and the kids are seniors in high school. Every one of these kids have signed to Division I schools for basketball and some of them have a real chance at making it to the NBA in a few years earning the same millions that these other athletes on this documentary lost.
Once the program was over I started to think that every other person watching probably was wondering to themselves “how could anyone lose millions of dollars?” These athletes are just like everyone else who finds themselves in debt they just have more money to be in debt with. People with hundreds or thousands of dollars are no different than these millionaire athletes when it comes to money management it is just to a different scale. These athletes may have spent money buying new Bentleys, but the average middle class person is spending their money on a new BMW. The millionaire athlete may have bought the mansion with the six extra bedrooms they didn't need, but the middle class homeowner is in the average household debt of $47,000 (credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc) and as a result they are falling behind on their mortgage, light bill, water bill, you name it and it is a late payment. These athletes trusted the wrong accountants and financial advisors and all their money was misused or stolen, but the average middle class adult has purchased whole life insurance and their money is being misused just the same.
The problem is not the amount of money you make it is your behavior with that money (Financial Literacy) that gets you out of debt and creates generational wealth. When we all learn that we don’t have to spend money we don’t have, buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like only then will wealth start to accumulate. Majority of these athletes come from humble backgrounds so when they get these million dollar contracts they just sit back and let someone else handle their finances and it ends up costing them dearly. Just like these athletes you have a salary that is much more than you had growing up and you have to be diligent on how you handle it or you could end up broke or worse just getting by for the rest of your life. No one is going to care more about your finances than you will, so pay attention to what you spend and save whatever you can because only YOU can control your financial future!