For many, the arrival of spring means March Madness. So here’s a little trivia for you basketball fans. What do Dennis Rodman, Allen Iverson, Scottie Pippen, and Antoine Walker all have in common? Truthfully, I have no idea if they have anything in common as far as college championships go. I do know, however, that they all ended up broke. In fact, according to a Sports Illustrated report, 60% of former NBA players are bankrupt or near bankrupt within the first five years of retirement. Now that’s hard to believe. It’s almost incomprehensible that Scottie Pippen, who had tremendous success on the court with the Chicago Bulls and $120 million in career earnings, is broke. How could this happen? The answer, quite simply, is a gross lack of planning.
The fact is whether you’re a world-class athlete or a yoga instructor, everyone needs a plan. It’s crucial to having control over your financial future. And here are four ways that you can start taking control of your financial future and dodge becoming a statistic like Dennis Rodman and too many other NBA players.
1. Get educated. Everyone needs financial education to improve their financial well-being. Knowledge is power, and financial knowledge translates into freedom and stability. Like many professional athletes, NBA players turn pro having come off college scholarships and never learn the basics of money management. So invest in yourself. A little financial know-how will help you make financial decisions that can positively impact you and your family.
2. Plan for the Future. Really, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Map out your short-term goals and your long-term dreams. Take a hard look at where you are now and where you ultimately want to be. This kind of mindfulness is the first step to mastering money management. Commit to staying focused on your financial future.
3. Pay yourself first. That is, SAVE. Even after retiring, Allen Iverson was still spending a mind-boggling $300,000 a month. He didn’t know how to save and, clearly, didn’t have a plan. The fact is, most of us struggle to save money. We just don’t know how. This leads me to my final point…
4. Find a Trusted Financial Advisor. We can be certain that a lot of professional athletes are the attraction of disreputable people; the money’s too easy to get at. Regardless, a good advisor will take the time to get to know you beyond your money. He or she will help you articulate your long-term goals or intentions and frame a plan for achieving them. In other words, they’ll hold you accountable and keep you on a path to achieving them.