I read an article last week about how Washington Redskins rookie running back, Alfred Morris, is still driving the 1991 Mazda that he purchased when he was a junior in college, despite the fact that he recently signed a contract worth over 2 million dollars. Morris indicated that he has no plans to go buy a new vehicle despite the money he is making now and if the Mazda breaks he plans to just fix it. He likes the car because it keeps him grounded and reminds him of his roots.
I applaud Morris for being level-headed, though with his new-found income there wouldn’t be anything wrong with moving up in car a little.
The sad truth is that very few professional athletes really know how to handle the money that comes to them so quickly. Sports Illustrated did a study that showed that 78% of NFL football players and 60% of NBA basketball players declare bankruptcy within 2 years of their retirement. I recently read a story about another former star athlete, Vince Young. He has made over 26 million dollars in his career. It’s all gone and he’s filing bankruptcy.
Easy come. Easy go.
This really shouldn’t surprise us that much. The Bible tells us this in Proverbs.
The more easily you get your wealth, the sooner you will lose it. The harder it is to earn, the more you will have. Proverbs 13:11 GNT
Many people spend their lives hoping for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.Perhaps you understand that your fortune will not come from the playing field or the stage, but that doesn’t stop you from dreaming.
There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
The gambling industry is largely fueled by playing on these desires. One of these days I’ll hit it big in the lottery. If I just buy enough tickets eventually I’ll get the big winner. Heading to the casino to pop some coins in the machines. Somebody’s got to win right? Or perhaps I’m smarter than that. Those games are just luck. I’ll do something that takes skill like blackjack or poker.
Or perhaps that pot of gold is in that late night cable show. You can become a real estate baron without ever spending a dime of your money. Really? (I’ll give you a hint. The only one getting rich is the guy selling the program.)
Maybe you are hoping to get a big inheritance some day and when that happens you’ll be all set.
If only I could hit the jackpot then everything would be ok in my life.
Sadly it’s just not true. Wealth simply doesn’t work that way.
Wealth gained quickly often disappears as fast as it came.
Real wealth comes a little at a time
It comes from spending carefully. Doing a budget so that you can live on less than you make.
It comes from saving up and paying for things you want as opposed to an “I want it all now” outlook that leads to mounds of debt.
It comes from saving money and having a good emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses. That way when life happens, and it does, you aren’t completely derailed.
It comes from investing small amounts, regularly and over a long period of time. And making those investments in things that you fully understand and that have long track records of success through good times and bad.
There’s no get rich quick method
The number one way to wealth comes through discipline and time.
I don’t know if Morris will be one of those 22% of former NFL players that do not find themselves in bankruptcy court some day or not. This article gives me hope though that he might just make it.
Photo credit: Keith Allison creative commons